Mask clearing is one of the first skills you will learn in any scuba course. At first most new divers struggle to master this skill, but it is important feel comfortable clearing water from your mask before your first open water dive.
Clearing you mask can be easy if you remember these three simple steps. After we will explain some of the common mistakes new divers make and what you can do to avoid them.
3 steps for clearing your dive mask
- Apply pressure to the top of your dive mask
- While pressing on your mask, look up
- Blow air out of your nose
Lets take a closer look at these steps. It may seem easy when you are thinking about them above land or while you are watching your instructor demonstration, but more than any other skills new divers struggle the most with clearing their mask.
An instructor will ask you to lift the bottom of your mask slightly off your upper lip which breaks the seal at the bottom of the mask. You do this by placing the index and middle fingers of both hands on the top part of your mask’s frame and slightly exerting pressure on the top of your mask, lifting it ever so much off your upper lip.
This can be confusing and new divers will often make the mistake of pulling the bottom of their mask a few inches off their face, which is way to far. You only need a sliver of space between your mask for the water to come out.
Instead of lifting your mask from your face try applying more pressure to the top of your mask, look up and blow air out of your nose.
Once you’ve mastered the correct pressure don’t forget to look up! It seems simple enough but for some reason many new divers skip over this step.
While looking up you want to blow air continually from your nose and the water will come out the bottom of your mask. Release the pressure on the top of your mask and slowly open your eye to make sure there is no water left in your mask. If there is still a bit of water just repeat the 3 steps, Pressure, Look up, Blow air from your nose.
Some diver get this skill on their first try while other struggle with one or more of the steps. Some divers have a hard time breathing from their nose underwater and will make the mistake to breath from their mouth. Practice the steps for clearing you mask above water first.
Getting water in your nose is uncomfortable and many new divers experience this the first time they try a mask clearing skill. You always want to make sure you practice clearing your mask in a pool or confined water where you can touch the ground and stand up easily with you head above the water.
3 common mistake
- Lifting the mask to far off your face
- Forgetting to look up
- Blowing air from your mouth instead of your nose
Clearing your mask is a very important skill. While underwater you must be able to clear you mask with confidence. Practice these three steps and avoid the common mistakes and you will be a master mask clearer before you know it.