The Real Truth About Fitting A Mask

It’s A Good Job We Learn Mask Clearing!

I’m sure most of you, whether snorkelling or diving, have at one point or another struggled with a mask.  No matter what you do, it just will not seal. You take it off, check it for hair, check the skirts for breaks, and nothing. You put it back on and have to crank the strap sooooo tight it leaves the infamous red oval on your face for hours post dive. Not really what you want.

Have Some Integrity Folks

I still hear people in the diving industry trying to sell masks by simply saying “pop it on your face and breathe in through your nose”.  Whether they’re looking at their profit margin over what is right for the customer or simply haven’t figured it out yet – that’s really poor advice. Although being told to put a mask on and breathe in through your nose can be an indication of a whether a mask will fit, it’s certainly not a reliable test. Most masks will fit if you suck them onto your face hard enough!

Lessons Learnt

Whilst instructing in Australia, I met one of the reps for a big international manufacturer of equipment. We had a good chat and I learnt a few essential tips which have stuck with me to this day. Now, after all my time around diving and people with very different face shapes, I feel I can give the best possible advice with regards to masks.

Manufacturers Are Getting with The Programme

Like so many other things in life, no one size or shape fits everyone and if you look at the variety of masks on the market these days, it shows that more and more individuals are being accommodated. A good example of this is Mares with their X-Vu Liquidskin Sunrise – specifically aimed at people with higher cheek bones. TUSA are coming out with an awesome variety of masks, uniquely different to make it possible to find a mask that properly fits.

Don’t Buy Online

Of course, I’ll say that, I have a shop and want customers. But here’s the thing, I’d rather you come in to see me and get some real honest advice about which mask is best for you. And yes, I will be honest. If I don’t feel any of the models I have fit you, I’ll tell you and we’ll order some different options in for you to try.

Why? Because if I am diving with you in the future, I’d like to know you’re wearing gear you are comfortable and happy with. Then you can focus on having a great dive, and I don’t have to give you my mask because yours is leaking, so I have a great dive too. I’ve given my mask up more than a few times for people because theirs was leaking, I’m a nice guy so I don’t mind swapping for my friends and for my customers, but I’d also rather enjoy my dive too.

So, you see, I’m being perfectly selfish. All I’m saying is get right advice and you might only ever need one mask – unless of course you fancy a snazzy new colour.

Tim Yarrow

Director at Diveshack UK.


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