Diving Equipment – Mask

Equipment Mask
New scuba equipment

As soon as people fall in love with the underwater world and their colorful treasures most of them start thinking about buying their own equipment. The first items we consider to purchase are very likely a set of mask, snorkel and a pair of fins.

How to choose the right mask for you?

Before you buy your new equipment you should think about for which purpose you want to use it. If you want to use your mask for free diving than you want to have one with a small volume so equalization of the mask does not require so much air. The down side is that your field of vision is limited and smaller compared to a mask for snorkelers and divers who love to see as much as possible of their surrounding.

With a good quality good mask the lenses should be made out of tempered glass and the material should be silicone and not plastic so it does not wear out easily and stays flexible to fit smoothly to your skin.

The right mask for you should sit comfortably on your face and seal it properly so no water can enter. To check this in a shop, place the mask on your face without the strap and inhale through your nostrils. The mask should now stick on your face and no leaking of air should be detectable.

Also make sure that you can easily reach your nose through the silicone to be able to easily perform equalization and that it is also comfortable to wear and does not press against your nose or temples.

There is of course a wide selection of style, shapes and colors. You will have the chance to test different types in our dive centre!

My suggestion is to keep things simple and choose the one which fits you the best.
Why can’t you use a mask straight from the shop?

Manufactures put a protective layer on the lenses of the mask to avoid scratches on them. This layer needs to be removed before using it or otherwise you always have to deal with a foggy mask.

Physically it is quite easy. All air contains water vapor or basically water in form of gas. As the lenses are in contact with the cooler water outside the mask, the air inside is warmer due to your body heat. If the warmer particles of vapor hit the cooler lenses, they cool down and turn into liquid. This process is called condensing and as a result we have a so called “foggy mask”.

Another option is to burn out the protective layer with a lighter. This should be done very carefully to not destroy the silicone and should be only considered on masks with tempered glasses. While doing this the lenses will be covered with blackish fog which needs to washed off with water afterwards. But don’t use this technique it if you got yourself a mask with plastic glasses, like the Aqualung Sphera!

With both options, one time might not be enough and you have to repeat the procedure (or a combination of the two of them) until you reach your desired result.

Why should you spit in our mask before every time you use it?

Most of us learned to spit on the inside of the lenses and rinse it before every dive to avoid getting the lenses foggy. But why is that?

Physically it is quite easy. All air contains water vapor or basically water in form of gas. As the lenses are in contact with the cooler water outside the mask, the air inside is warmer due to your body heat. If the warmer particles of vapor hit the cooler lenses, they cool down and turn into liquid. This process is called condensing and as a result we have a so called “foggy mask”.

Our saliva creates a coating on the inside of the lenses and on that slick surface the condensation drops cannot stick and will just drop down from it to the bottom of the mask.

Another option is to use commercial defogging drops but why not keep things simple and just use your own saliva. It works perfectly fine and is always available.

Photos:
• Title photo: Robert Lindner, Freepic