Majority of student divers and inexperienced certified scuba divers find this basic skill difficult. They have the fear to perform mask removal.
The reason behind this fear is that we are evolved/created (choose the one you like) to live on land, not underwater.
We eat, drink, dance, walk and see on land. We do these for years and know nowhere else to do such kind of activities!
However one day, a bald scuba instructor like me takes you into the ocean and wants you to breathe underwater! Isn’t this “a little bit weird already, even though it is fascinating” you are thinking…
Like this ain’t enough, your instructor wants you to perform some diving skills! He/she is demonstrating these skills easily. But when your instructor gives you the “now your turn” signal, those skills start not to be that easy, huh?
You are a certified scuba diver but you completed your diving course a couple of weeks ago.
You were removing your mask, feeling a little bit anxious, but handled it. But you still have a piece of fear against this skill.
“What if I need to replace my mask if it is removed from my face in my open water dives one day?!“
Do you match with one of these two profiles?
First, you are not alone!
Because when you remove your mask underwater, water surrounds your eyes, mouth and nose. When performed in open water as a part of scuba diving training, salty water may disturb you. This is extremely normal.
In addition to this, we are used to inhale through our nose. This is a reflex for us and it is difficult to control.
However, we should inhale and exhale through our mouth underwater. That’s because we are using a regulator second stage for breathing there.
And when we inhale through our nose when we remove our mask underwater, water comes in! This disturbs us naturally. We need to cough and take deep breaths to overcome this issue, right?
Tips for an easier mask removal
Here are a couple of tips that will help you perform mask removal skill easier than before.
Practice these tips whenever you find time before/after your dives.
Remember that practice makes perfect.
On the surface
Stand in water. Water level should be on your shoulders.
Your mask should be on your face but without the straps on.
Hold your mask with one of your hands.
Stand still, place your regulator’s second stage on your mouth and look down (your face should be covered with water). Relax and watch what is below.
When you feel ready, remove your mask. Do it slowly. You were holding your mask with one hand. So removing it will be easy.
When/if you get disturbed, take your head out of water and then repeat the exercise until you are comfortably breathing without your mask on the surface.
Think what you are planning to do on the surface. Coughing? Breathing? Swallowing? Remember that you can do anything you do on the surface (land) even when you are underwater.
Breathing? You have a tank and a regulator, so you have air.
Coughing? You can do it underwater. Just hold your regulator’s second stage with your hand not to blow it out of your mouth due to the strength of coughing.
You can swallow when you have your second stage in your mouth, too. Guess what? You can even vomit into your regulator’s second stage underwater.
When an issue occurs underwater, it can be resolved underwater (except some serious one that require first aid, for sure).
Remember these when/if you start to panic and try to reach the surface ASAP. Stop, think and act.
If I sum up, if you find mask removal scuba skill challenging, practice it on the surface while standing in water and always remember that you can do anything you like to do to relax underwater. Just like you do on land.
Do you have a fear about removing your mask underwater?
You will not, after you apply these tips regularly.
Any questions about removing your mask underwater? Use the comment section below and let me answer!
Have good dives.
How to Beat Mask Removal Skill E-Book
This blog post were read thousands of time and hundreds of divewithseaman.com readers reached me to ask questions about this skill.
I am so happy to help you guys out there who are struggling to perform this skill.
You reached me through Facebook, Instagram (@seamansoul), LinkedIn and all the other platforms to ask your questions and say thank you.
This is priceless for me.
Perfect! But there are still scuba diver candidates here who are reading these lines all around the globe and try to find a solution for this bloody skill.
What I did is, I collected all the questions you asked me on the Internet as well as the one taking place in the comments below and prepared an e-book to be able to help you more and more.
You can find much more details about the mask removal and replacement skill, killer exercises before you perform this skill (first attempt or a seconds trial, doesn’t matter) in front of your scuba instructor underwater in your training dive as well as why this skill is causing a problem for us.
Simply follow the link below (this will take you to amazon.com, which is very secure as you know) and purchase and read my book which will help you a lot in mask removal and replacement skill.
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