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Tips & Tricks - Mask Clearing

Mask Clearing is one of most important skills when it comes to diving. However, there are some who have big trouble performing the mask clearing skill properly. 

It could be due to a fear of not being able to see anything underwater, or a case of cold water sensation on the face whereby the diver panics and forgets to breathe using only their mouth and inhales water through their nose. All these issues can be curbed with constant practice and calming one's nerves.

For this post, DiveRACE will be discussing some of the common problems about mask clearing and what to take note when doing the skill.


Some points and preparation

Coordination is important! Especially for nose and mouth breathing coordination.

Visualisation [whereby you close your eyes and mentally going through the things / steps that you are suppose to do - as though you are looking through your own eyes and not from a third party perspective] helps tremendously!

Put on your regulator and leave your mask aside and learn tobreathe without your mask first! those first few breaths underwater without your mask will help you prepare when you have to remove and replace the mask underwater.


Half Mask Flood

Step 1: breathe in and out slowly to calm yourself first. 

Step 2: look downwards at a 45 degree angle and slightly open the top skirt of your mask. allow water to fill about half of your mask (around eye level) and seal back the mask skirt.

Step 3: concentrate on breathing in and out via your mouth. take in a breathe using your mouth and move to step 4 immediately [do not hold your breath]

Step 4: look upwards at a 45 degrees angle and slightly open the bottom skirt of your mask and breathe out via your nose at the same time.

*note: give a good and slow outward blow via your nose so as to clear the mask properly, instead of a fast and hard blow.
*note: if you require more than one breathe, do not panic. seal back the mask skirt and repeat step 3 and 4.

Step 5: Once the mask has been clear of water, replace and seal the bottom of the mask skirt.






Full Mask Flood

Step 1: breathe in and out slowly to calm yourself first. 

Step 2: Pull the mask away from your face so that the whole mask is filled with water.

*note: cold water / loss of ability to see may cause panic. Diver should prepare of the cold water on face sensation.

Step 3: concentrate on breathing in and out via your mouth. take in a breathe using your mouth and move to step 4 immediately [do not hold your breath]

Step 4: look upwards at a 45 degrees angle and slightly open the bottom skirt of your mask and breathe out via your nose at the same time.

*note: give a good and slow outward blow via your nose so as to clear the mask properly, instead of a fast and hard blow.
*note: if you require more than one breathe, do not panic. seal back the mask skirt and repeat step 3 and 4.

Step 5: Once the mask has been clear of water, replace and seal the bottom of the mask skirt.






Mask Removal and Replacement

Step 1: breathe in and out slowly to calm yourself first. 

Step 2: Remove the mask strap from the back of your head first, keeping the mask frame still in place. Once done, remove the mask from your face and hold it in your hand.

Step 3: Take a few breaths (using only your mouth!) and relax.

Step 4: Before replacing your mask, feel your mask and nose pocket to ensure that the mask is in a correct position. Put the mask strap in front of the mask frame (this is so that when you place the mask on your face, nothing is obstructing)

Step 5: Sweep your fringe away and place the mask frame back onto the face. Pull the mask strap to the back of your head.

*note: If fringe is caught in the mask, it will cause the mask to flood!
*note: ensure that the nose pocket is covering your nose properly. the nose should not be squashed!

Step 6: concentrate on breathing in and out via your mouth. take in a breathe using your mouth and move to step 4 immediately [do not hold your breath]

Step 7: look upwards at a 45 degrees angle and slightly open the bottom skirt of your mask and breathe out via your nose at the same time.

*note: give a good and slow outward blow via your nose so as to clear the mask properly, instead of a fast and hard blow.
*note: if you require more than one breathe, do not panic. seal back the mask skirt and repeat step 3 and 4.

Step 8: Once the mask has been clear of water, replace and seal the bottom of the mask skirt.


Common Mistakes

1. Opening bottom of mask skirt too wide - allowing more water to enter the mask

Remedy: Just need to open the mask skirt slightly, roughly one finger thickness would be sufficient.

2. Nose is outside of nose pocket, thus allowing air to escape and not forcing the water out

Remedy: Diver must take note of the position of the nose pocket / mask. Some tend to place the mask too high and thus do not cover the nose properly. Also, do not open the mask too wide.

3. Diver uses mouth to expel water in mask instead of the nose - this does not help as the air escapes in the open and not directly into the mask.

Remedy: Diver have to concentrate and practice breathing in via the mouth and out via the nose for a few times (10 times continuously before entering the water). They have to prepare and take in a hard breath via the mouth and breathe out hard via the nose. Using this exertive method, it helps the diver to control their muscles better.


Do remember that practice makes perfect! Keep practicing mask clearing whenever you get the chance and do not shun it. The more you practice, the easier it would become. Also, you can try mask clearing in different position and practice your buoyancy control too!



Hope this read had been helpful to you!


 

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