While underwater, your vision will highly depend on your mask. Your mask lets your eyes stay dry for better view while underwater. It also helps protects your eyes from the salty water. Hence, your mask must be clear at all times.
However, when you’re snorkeling or scuba diving, there’s always a chance your mask will get water in it . When your buddy does something silly underwater and you smile, water will likely get in your mask. Or maybe your dive mask gets knocked loose by a friend's fin in the face or your mask simply isn't sealing well and has a leak that causes water to come in. There are several reasons that can cause water to enter your mask.
When you can’t see clearly underwater, it might cause you to panic and can make your water experience rather disappointing. And in some cases, water getting in to mask may trigger fear. Because of this, learning mask-clearing techniques is essential for every snorkeler or scuba diver – be it novice or pro.
Let's talk about how to properly clear your mask:
The first thing that you should do if water does get in your mask is to just relax. Slowly breathe in and out through your mouth. Relax. Calm your mind and heart. Being relaxed will help you to focus on what to do instead of losing focus due to panic and anxiety. Having water in the mask can be scary – yes, it’s a fear, but remember, fear is just a feeling that you can always overcome! If water has entered in your mask and you're in too deep and can’t go back to the surface to clear the water, don’t worry. You can still clear your mask even when you’re underwater.
Tip: If the water in your mask is above your eye level and you feel uncomfortable opening your eyes, don’t fret. You can clear your mask even if your eyes are closed.
Exhale from your nose firmly to remove water
The next step is to blow air out from your nose firmly. But before doing that, make sure your head is angled down. This will help so that the water won’t go up your nose. Then, press the top of your mask firmly to your forehead, slowly tilt your head up and open the bottom seal of the mask while blowing air hard through your nose. This should push all the water out of your mask. If all the water hasn't been pushed out of your mask, simply repeat this process until it is all gone. It usually doesn't take more than two tries to fully clear a mask.
Remember, breathe in and out with your mouth. If you’re scuba diving, then breathe through your respirator. If you’re snorkeling, breathe through your snorkel tube.
Tip: If you’re snorkeling and your snorkel tube and mask get water in it, first remove the water from the tube so you can have a clear airway to allow you to follow the steps above to remove the water in your mask. To clear the snorkel tube, forcefully blow air out through your mouth to blast out the water. To avoid most water from entering your snorkel tube, we recommend using a high-quality dry snorkel.
Seal the mask again
While your head is tilted upward, continue exhaling through your nose, then slowly tilt down looking at the seafloor. This will make sure that the mask gets pressed to your face again while ensuring no water is entering it.
There’s really nothing to fear if the water gets into your mask. Clearing your mask – though it sounds hard – is pretty basic and will become second nature with some practice. Here are few more tips we want you to keep in mind:
PracticeWe urge you to practice clearing your mask in a shallow pool; in a swimming pool that you can easily reach the ground. It would be better if you practice with the supervision of a professional or a friend or buddy that can assist you if needed.
In your practice, intentionally put water in your mask. Simply pull your mask slowly away from your face allowing water to enter your mask.
Do not stop practicing until clearing your mask becomes easy and comfortable for you. Remember, things are a bit different when you’re in the open sea. Unlike a shallow pool where you can easily stand up if you freak out, when you’re deep down in the ocean water, you can’t rely on trial and error.
Focus on your breathing
Again, focus will make things easier. If you are calm and relaxed, you are more likely to be able to properly clear your mask easily. Breathe in and breathe out. Don’t let your fear control you.
That's it! Now that you know how to properly clear your mask, you can now always have a clear and crisp view of the beautiful marine life. Remember, continue to practice this technique until you get the hang of it and can clear your mask without much thought. If your mask continues to constantly leak, check out our blog post Top reasons for a leaking dive mask and how to fix it for more information about that.