Full Face Mask Rants

Enjoying the comfort of diving a full face mask.

When you decide to dive with a full face mask ... there is a slightly twisted social aspect you'll will most probably find out about sooner or later.

Keeps your nose dry.
(In Happurger Baggersee, BY/D)
As soon as the subject of SCUBA diving with full face masks comes up, it usually gets, um, interesting. Some would rather say: godawful. You will learn quite a lot about other people, faster than you actually might wanted to: their reactions to your special equipment tell a lot. There are several divers that seem to follow the irrevocable belief that SCUBA divers with a full face mask need professional treatment.

But there's a simple rule: if you don't like diving with a full face mask, don't do it ... no one is compelling you. This topic is no religion and it never should get to this point.

For me, starting to dive with full face masks is worth it ... it is so much fun. I've gained new experience that I won't like to miss. My Dräger Panorama Nova Dive mask exceeded all my expectations ... albeit my expectations probably were never fully realistic as I was a total noob without any real clues about full face masks.

Just entered full face mask nirvana?
(In Murner See, BY/D)
In this respect the photo to the left may concisely illustrate my relaxed attitude when it comes to diving with a full face mask. Or maybe a CO2 problem as master instructors surely will quickly point out?

In any case, when diving with a full face mask you typically won't go completely unnoticed. Most time it is fun to everyone. Sometimes you'll encounter some unpleasant «experts». In my own experience these oddly often seem to be high rank instructors. And these experts very well know why SCUBA diving with a full face mask is so bad. Interestingly, they always seem to neither possess a full face mask nor did they dive with one for some time. Go figure.

But really boring are those divers spilling out their full face mask expertness without having been asked for it: of course, they tell you all those third-hand «true stories» of divers who nearly killed themselves using a full face mask. Okay, here's my cheap advise: read my first-hand information, gained from my own experience. And stop telling unverified myths. And also please recount all those stories about C*M*A*S*H, PAYDI, and iSS divers that killed themselves without any need for a full face mask. Sooo boring, right?
If diving with a full face mask would be so super dangerous then we wouldn't have any professionals left doing it. Not least the supervising bodies would have stopped any special operations, such as rescue, police, et cetera from using full face masks. But it's easier for all these back seat divers to ignore reality in favor of showing their scary myths. How pathetic.
Unfortunately, the current situation seems to be: correct scientific working is largely unknown to the diving community. As a studied mechanical engineer with academic degrees I can only watch dive organization discussions in awe. You can watch myths grow and inflate in real time. It's no shame to not know something. But it is a shame to not regularly check your knowledge and assumptions, and then to correct them or put them to rest.

Of course, this also applies to this blog. I may very well be wrong, so please then dive constructive feedback so that I will be able to correct what is wrong.

In contrast, the Ex cathedra procedure is sad standard when it comes to diving. Long live dogmatism and the one and only absolute dive-church authority! Funnily, all the diving organizations seems to (re)act very similar: may they be technically inclined or those «damned» commercial associations. Welcome to the Divers' Front of Judea as well as the Divers' Judean Front ... no real difference. That's why the representative organizations PAYDI, iSS and C*M*A*S*H get their monuments here, pars pro toto.
Aside from my rants please do never forget when diving with a full face mask: full face masks are complex equipment and not toys, and definitely not lifestyle products. Not only do you need to be competent in their proper handling under water, you also need to know how to take care of your mask and what maintenance is required. Otherwise you may someday get in real distress should your mask fail. Especially due to the many cut and dried opinions we full face mask divers should show an excellent training and professional handling of our special equipment.
Okay, enough ranting for now! Let's go for some much more interesting things, so please head over to...


You will find even more blog posts on this topic following this tag: full face mask. Likewise, I've put some impressions from diving with full face masks online.


PS: Many thanks to Jörg Lucinski for the photos. Jörg did his nirvana shot in Murner See (BY/D) during an easy-going fun dive with really good sight. The other shots were taken at Happurger Baggersee (BY/D).