Mask Clearing

An important basic skill!

During your Open Water course you will remember learning to clear your mask. If you want to be a competent scuba diver, mask clearing and mask removal underwater are fundamental skills that ALL divers should be able to complete. Some divers find water in their masks very uncomfortable and it makes them a little anxious. If this problem is not solved, a small benign problem can escalate into something major. If we are honest, water in the mask at some point is almost inevitable.

Why do you need to master this skill?

Sometimes during your dive, water may seep into your mask, or the mask becomes loose and requires adjustment. Just a wry smile underwater can allow water to enter your mask, so we really do need to master this skill.

Rather than having to surface each time to remove water, you should be able to clear it easily underwater. Surfacing for such minor problems is not an option when you are diving deep, or shallow for that matter. Going up and down exposes you to saw-tooth diving which increases your risk of decompression sickness. This type of diving should be avoided at all times.

How to clear a Mask?

This is a process of exhaling out of your nose, into your masks airspace to expel the water that has entered. When we exhale into the mask space we trap air bubbles inside our mask. The air bubbles rise to the top of the mask, so we need to create a gap at the bottom of the mask, allowing room for the displaced water to flow out of our mask.

Head Position matters here.

If you have water in your mask, look down, begin exhaling out of your nose and press the top part of your mask against your forehead. As you exhale, lift your head slowly upwards allowing water to drain out of the bottom of the mask. Do not lift your head up first, then exhale! If you do, you will find water will most probably enter your nasal cavities and run down the back of your throat causing you to violently cough.

After you have cleared your mask you can adjust it if necessary. Practice is a key factor here, so if you know you have a little problem, practice this skill more often until you master the skill and feel comfortable with it. Being uncomfortable with mask clearing may lead to other problems during your dive, so practice it often until mastery is achieved.

Enjoy and learn to scuba dive. Take your first steps here, with a PADI Discover Scuba diving lesson and learn the basic fundamentals of scuba diving.