Get your own scuba kit, part 2: Own mask
Masks - How we see the underwater world
Whether you’re a brand-new open water diver or an instructor with 2'000 dives: Your own mask can make all the difference in your experience underwater. For beginners, knowing that your mask will have minimal leaking provides you with confidence. It therefore allows you to put more focus towards improving other important skills in the water, such as buoyancy and air consumption. For experienced divers, a reliable mask reduces the inconveniences of having to clear it when trying to capture that perfect picture of a sea turtle or just zone out on a school of fish.
A mask should be the one of the first investment towards equipment when buying your kit. Firstly, it’s the most personal piece of equipment we can own as divers. Most of us actually spit into the mask to make sure it doesn’t fog up. Secondly, it’s a piece of equipment we can carry anywhere. No matter how light you travel you can always find space to pack your mask. And finally, with proper care, a good mask can last you several years, if not your entire diving career.
Step 1: Find your own mask
Now, masks come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, styles, and colours. When choosing a mask to buy it helps to do some research. A proper fit is the most important feature to a mask. Be sure to do a fit check before purchasing: First, you need to put the mask on your face without putting the strap on your head. Then, while the mask is on your face, you should breathe in through your nose to create suction. If the mask stays on your face without air entering into it, then we know it creates a good seal.
Step 2: Look after your mask
After finding your own mask it’s also very important to properly break it in before you go diving. This can be done several ways, the two most common ways are the following: Either rub toothpaste on the inside of the lenses and leave it overnight. The next morning, wash it away while rubbing the paste a bit more. The other option is to burn the inside of the lenses and properly rinse it out afterwards. Either method you choose will help to keep the mask from fogging.
If your own mask is cared for properly, then it can last you your entire life. That means washing it thoroughly with fresh water after each dive and protecting it when you pack it away. Also, to avoid losing your mask while diving you just have to follow one simple rule: Don't wear it on your forehead! On the surface of the water the mask will not get lost if it is worn on the face or around the neck. Following this rule can help you to keep your mask for many years and dives.