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Full face scuba mask. When is it okay to use them?

Who uses full-face diving masks?

It is very rare to see recreational divers wear full masks to dive. The people who use full face masks the most are

professional divers who often need some kind of additional thermal protection in very cold waters.

Full face mask Ocean Reef-Parts
Full face mask Ocean Reef- Main Parts

Another group of people who use full masks are usually commercial divers and cameramen, as well as television presenters.

These professionals often choose to use full masks for diving because they have the possibility of incorporating communication equipment, either to communicate with each other or to transmit or record underwater.

Full-face mask vs normal diving mask

Unlike conventional diving goggles, full diving masks completely isolate the diver’s face from the water, that is, the water does not penetrate inside the full mask.

The full mask allows the diver to breathe either through the nose or through the mouth, in a natural and much more comfortable way. There is no need to bite the regulator.

Infogram Predator Full-face mask
Infogram Predator Full-face mask

The full face scuba diving mask requires prior training to be used, although technically they are easier to use than conventional masks.

The fastening system for the face of the full mask prevents water from entering the interior of the mask, thus facilitating the use of communication devices with this type of mask.

It should also be mentioned that the weight and volume of the full masks is greater than that of the conventional one, which could make the transfer a bit difficult.

Due to the amount of materials and the cost of manufacturing the additional materials, full masks have a higher cost, which could easily reach three or four times more, so you should consider the use that you are going to give the mask, and evaluate if it compensates the investment that it entails.

Scuba diver wearing a full-face mask

Why do diving masks fog up?

The answer to this question is, because of the steam. When the mask enters at a lower temperature, the humidity condenses and forms the annoying droplets inside the diver’s mask.

Today many of the masks already come with an anti-fog system, so that the diver can have better visibility under water.

How to clean diving masks?

The product to use to clean your diving mask, whether complete or traditional, will depend on the type of material with which it is made.

Full face mask Neptune II
Full face mask Neptune II

There are specialized products on the market for this purpose. There are those who use soap and water.

Some people even use toothpaste. The important thing is that you are careful not to damage the lenses when cleaning.

What should I consider before buying a full diving mask?

Identify the type of diving you want to do

If what you want is to dive in not very cold waters, perhaps the full mask is not essential.

If your intention is to communicate underwater, there are numerous devices that work and are tested underwater. In that case, you must necessarily opt for a full mask.

Choose good quality equipment

When thinking of a full face mask, it’s not a good idea to skimp on price when you’re investing in equipment that is crucial to safeguarding your life when diving.

Ocean reef diving mask and equipment
Ocean reef diving mask and equipment

Look for equipment from well-known brands

We advise you to look for equipment from brands that have developed and evolved over the years, and that will probably last you longer as well, instead of opting for generic brands.

There are numerous recognized brands today, who manufacture quality equipment, including full masks, among which we can name Cressi, Scubapro, Poseidon, Ocean Reef, OTS, among others.

Guardian full face mask
Guardian full face mask

We also recommend that you always make your purchases from authorized representatives, to avoid subsequent inconvenience.

Look at the mask carefully

Don’t stick with the first mask you try on, no matter how much you feel it fits you. Try others while you see if the part of the sicilone that should prevent the entry of water is properly in place and make sure there are no gaps.

Try on different sizes

The size of full masks is not standardized, so feel free to try on various sizes and models, until you find one that you are sure does not hurt your skin or is very loose.

Full face-mask Aqua Tech
Full face-mask Aqua Tech

Check your visibility

Before buying your mask, check your visibility. You can put the mask on and see the range of vision you have with it.

Advantages of using a full-face mask for diving

Full masks offer greater safety to the diver.

  • Breathing with a full mask is extremely natural. The diver does not need to inhale through the mouth, but can do it in the traditional way.This allows that in extreme situations where perhaps the diver could become unconscious, he will still breathe, until a rescue team can reach him.
  • As we mentioned before, another fundamental facility is the ability to have a communication system, and thus be able to communicate with other divers or with the ground station.
  • As the water does not enter the mask, you can breathe both through the mouth and through the nose, and you will not have the uncomfortable pain caused by having to bite the mouthpiece of the traditional mask.
  • Visibility is up to 180 °. That is, much better than with the traditional mask.
Lightahead Full face mask
Lightahead Full face scuba diving mask
  • Full masks offer the highest level of safety in relation to other accessories of its kind, allowing the diver to dive in almost all types of waters, be it the ocean, lakes, rivers, or others.
  • Full scuba masks come with integral nose clips for underwater pressure equalization.

Cons of using full masks for diving:

More difficult to clean

Although the full mask is less likely to fill with water, it can and does happen.

The problem is that unlike the conventional mask, where you keep breathing through the mouthpiece while cleaning your mask.

With the full mask, as the respirator is attached to the mask, when removing the water from the mask, you will not be able to breathe through it.

That makes the cleaning process necessarily have to be faster.

More difficult to put on

Due to the amount of strap that it has for the size, this type of mask can be a little more complicated to put on than the traditional mask. If it is placed incorrectly, there is a risk of water entering the mask.

Diver wearing a full face mask
Diver wearing a full face mask

More critical if it comes off

In the case of the conventional mask, if it falls, it does not pose any major inconvenience while breathing through the air regulator that is separate from the mask.

However, with the full mask, if it does come off, the recovery and cleaning process of the mask becomes more critical, so you will have to move more quickly.

Either way, the regulator hose is tied to the mask, so retrieving it if it comes off should be quick.

Water inside the mask
Water inside the mask

Communication systems for full masks

Definitely one of the great improvements that full masks have, apart from allowing you to breathe naturally, is that they allow you to use modern communication systems.

This has revolutionized professional diving today in many ways.

For those whose job it is to submerge, often with zero visibility and trying to move underwater, what they can hear through communication systems can make a big difference for them to finish their respective underwater mission, either to cheer or to receive. addresses.

Communication equipment is not all operated in the same way. Here we lend you some.

Alpha Pro comunication system
Alpha Pro comunication system

Wireless Systems

Wireless systems consist of headphones and microphones that go through the full face mask.

The signal is transmitted to the diver through a system that is based on shore. This system has the limitation of having to be tied in a certain way to the base, which limits the range of the diver, either for search or operation.

Anchored system

It is used to communicate the diver with a communications unit on land, in both directions.

It consists of a system based on wiring, on the one hand one end is in the full mask of the diver, and on the other hand in the base that goes on land.

The drawback with this system is obviously that the coverage range depends on the length of the cabling and its handling.

Push to talk system

There are two different microphone systems. On the one hand we have the PPT (Push to talk) system, that is, “push to talk”

In this system the diver must press the button with one hand to communicate with the surface.

This helps to avoid unnecessary chats with the base and to be able to stay with him centered. On the other hand, with this system the diver must have one hand free each time he is going to transmit.

Ocean Reef inetercom
Ocean Reef inetercom

Voice activated communication system

Another type of microphone is the one that is activated by voice or VOX system.

In the VOX system the diver can speak whenever he needs to communicate with the base on land.

This system has the disadvantage that the activation of the communication could give you involuntary before some strong breathing of the diver, for example.

Surface systems

Surface systems are different. There are them in different sizes and scopes.

Some have very large equipment, which allows divers to communicate with each other.

Ocean Reef complete communication equipment
Ocean Reef complete communication equipment

Communication system maintenance

Once you have decided on the type of system you are going to use, it is important that you have a maintenance plan for the equipment.

You must bear in mind that the batteries must be charged every certain period of time.

Safety is the fundamental aspect when we refer to the communication systems of full masks for diving.

That is why once you have the communication system that best suits your needs, you can take training courses to operate them.

Similarly, it is extremely important that you properly maintain the equipment, replace the batteries and always check that everything is working correctly.

Requirements for diving with a full mask

Those are the main requirements:

  • Minimum age 18 years
  • Be an Open Water diver or similar from another organization.
  • Medical certificate .
  • Diving equipment.
Integrated full masks
Integrated full masks

Summary: When is it okay to use full-face scuba masks?

Full diving masks are focused on professional, commercial, scientific or technical diving, although today many diving enthusiasts choose to use this type of mask.

Full diving masks are easy to have a communication system, which serves to communicate between divers or with an operator on land, because it does not allow water to enter the interior of the mask, in the space between the diver’s face. and the mask.

There are several communication systems that can be used, but the choice of the same depends on the use that is going to be given.

Diving with a full mask is much more enjoyable because you can breathe both through your mouth and through your nose, avoiding the discomfort and effects of biting into the mouthpiece of a traditional mask.

It is essential to take the course of use of the complete diving mask, to be able to operate it.

You must be at least 18 years old and have a basic Open water diving certification to dive with a full mask.

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