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Dive Masks

Eric Larson   Dec 05, 2022

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Masks - There's more but this will get you started!!


There are many styles of masks that have a range of benefits.  As a charter boat captain, I have seen masks ruin more dives than any other failure.  Take your time when you select a mask, ask lots of questions and try them all on.  Lastly, know what the stores return policy is for a mask. We understand that sometimes a mask feels great in the store and then doesn’t feel right on your dive; here at Shark Quest we’ll trade out your mask and credit your purchase towards another mask.


This article will be a high-level review of a dive mask come see us or go to your local dive shop (LDS) for more information.  I’ll cover mask design, construction, fit & cleaning.


Mask design & Construction: Most masks are made up of the following parts:


Frame – Frame vs Frameless: The difference between the 2 of them is that on a frameless mask the lens is molded directly into the skirt. A frame is typically metal or plastic that hold the lens and the skirt is molded into the frame.


Skirt – This is the part of the mask that seals to your face, this is why you want to try on all the masks. Masks will fit differently, and your LDS can show you the proper technique for fitting.


Strap – When fitting the mask don’t use the strap.  Place the mask on your face and gently inhale through your nose.  The skirt should seal around your face and create enough suction to hold the mask on your face.  The strap should just barely hold your mask on your face.  If the strap is too tight it will make for an uncomfortable dive.


Lens – This is the part you see out of, there are many designs, and the lens can be a single piece or multiple lenses that let you see out the sides.  In our shop the single and 2 lens designs are the most popular.  The most important part of the lens is that it is tempered glass!


Nose Pocket / Purge valve – When fitting your mask make sure it doesn’t put pressure on the top or bottom of your nose.  Some masks will have a valve in the bottom of the nose pocket, called a purge valve.  This valve allows you to clear the mask with a gentle exhalation through your nose rather than putting pressure on the top of the mask and exhaling.  The valve also adds a failure point to the mask, talk with your LDS about what style is right for you.


Cleaning – There are many types of cleaners and defog products.  We recommend toothpaste (plain white toothpaste no gel) to clean the mask the first time.  Put a pea size dab on each side of the mask and with gentle pressure wipe up and down and side to side, rinse and repeat a couple of times.  Then use your favorite defog; we like the Reef Smart brand.


Your mask can make or break your dive, improper fit and fogging are common problems that we all have had to deal with.  Ask your LDS lots of questions and ensure that you get the right mask!!


Remember to have fun!!