Just like most scuba diving equipment, it’s important that your gear fits. That’s why it’s always better to invest in your own scuba diving gear, rather than use ill-fitting rental equipment from dive shops and centers. And finding the perfect dive mask is no different.
Along with prepping your new dive mask, the fit is one of the most important concerns you should have when buying a scuba or snorkel mask. An ill-fitting won’t only cause leaks and discomfort, but it could potentially cause a diving accident such as mask squeeze (what exactly is mask squeeze?).
But how exactly should you fit a snorkel or scuba mask?
How to Fit a New Snorkel or Scuba Mask
When you’re looking for a new snorkel or dive mask, there are certain things you need to take into account when it comes to fit. Many people think the best way to fit a new dive mask is to put the mask on their face, breathe in through their noses and hey presto, it fits.
This isn’t strictly true because you wouldn’t/shouldn’t be snorkeling or diving with a mask that has a vacuum. When you breathe in through your nose, you create a seal, an unnatural one. When looking for a suitable dive or snorkel mask, you need to understand how to get the perfect fit. Here’s how to do just that.
How to Make Sure You’ve Got a Well Fitted Scuba Mask
You will notice most modern manufacturers design their masks with both a narrow inner seal and a wider outer seal. The internal seal is supposed to cover all the face apart from just a little under your nose. If you find a mask with both seals touching the face, the chances are you’ve got one that fits well and won’t leak.
You can check this by wearing the mask without tightening the strapping. Then tighten it to the normal tightness for diving. It’s common for divers who’ve used various bad scuba and snorkeling masks in the past to overtighten those straps on newer masks hoping they’ll find a better fit. Avoid doing this.
For the next part of the process, you need either a mirror or a second person. First look rotate your eyes around and check the inside of the mask, you want to make sure that inner seal is sitting flush against your face all the way around.
Don’t be tempted to inhale, as this will not show you if the mask forms a seal against your face naturally or not. Now, repeat the process with the exterior of the mask.
If the new mask is not fitting properly, particularly around the area beside your eyes, it’s unlikely it will work properly.
Always check the inside and outside, because some can stop water leaking and dripping inside, just not as effective if both interior and exterior seals were working and touching. You also need to avoid the seals running across your eyebrows or hairline and they should not be just on the edge of your eye.
Check The Scuba Masks For Leaks
Another common issue is when you squint, smile or laugh, wrinkles or lines are made beside your nose, sometimes allowing for water to seep in. There are very few masks out there that won’t leak a little when this occurs. So, really, you need to stop laughing, if possible or you will always have the same problem.
Even if you do, though, the lines and wrinkles often remain. When this occurs, you need to pull your face to the side or downwards to straighten the surface out. As this is not exactly a problem with the mask, there’s no reason to dive out there for a new one.
Another, though rare, the occurrence is leakage around or through the glass in the mask. This can be checked by holding your mask with the floor and its faceplate parallel. Pour water onto it. If droplets of water appear on the outside, the faceplate seal is compromised.
Check The Skirt Size
You need to get out of the mindset, if you have it, that the size of the lenses and frame of the mask are related to how well it fits or not. Don’t be so concerned about how wide or narrow a mask is, especially if it stops you looking for what’s important – the skirt size. The skirt is the part of the mask that contacts your face.
It’s not hard to find the right scuba or snorkel mask. You just need to think things through and know exactly what to look for and how to check it. There are so many different masks out there, but hopefully, with our help in this post, it won’t be quite as difficult as it was the last time you tried.