In case you haven’t heard of full-face scuba masks, they are all the rage now in the scuba diving world. And I’m sure you’ll agree with the popular sentiment when you learn about the benefits of such masks.
Imagine having a mask that combines a regular scuba mask, that covers your eyes and eye, and a regulator that goes in your mouth. Yeah, that’d be a pretty neat mask, right? That’s full-face diving masks for you!
Full face masks mean less scuba equipment which can only be a good thing. Also, your mouth is free since the regulator is integrated into the mask and you can actually talk through a radio communication system. Yayy. Chat away with your dive buddy about how Paris Saint Germain is ruining soccer. Or any other topic of interest to you.
While I’m happy to talk about the benefits of these masks all day, I’ll be taking a break for now as I take you through a comprehensive buying guide to help you choose the mask that meets your needs.
What Is a Full Face Scuba Mask and How Does It Work?
A full-face scuba mask (FFMs) is a type of diving mask that completely seals the diver’s face from the water. The second stage regulator, which goes into the diver’s mouth when wearing a traditional scuba mask, is integrated into FMMs freeing the mouth. You can actually speak to fellow divers when wearing FFMs as long as you have a radio communication system installed.
FFMs also offer a high level of comfort that’s not found in traditional scuba masks while also providing a wider field of view.
Advantages of Full Face Diving Masks
You can talk – Many people love the fact that they can talk to fellow divers or communicate to surface vessels. And this is one of the main reasons why most people switch to FFMs.
Larger field of view – Most FFMs offer almost 180 degrees field of view which is a lot more than you’d get from traditional scuba masks.
Comfortable – Since you are not biting down on the second regulator, FFMs are more comfortable to use and jaw fatigue is a thing of the distant past.
More secure fit – FFMs come with several straps that allow you to snugly and comfortably attach the mask to your head for a secure fit. And this is why FFMs completely seal your face from the water and are comfortable for use in cold water.
You’re Less Likely to Lose Your Regulator – It’s not uncommon to see people misplacing their regulators when wearing traditional scuba masks. This is almost impossible with FFMs since the regulator is integrated into them.
Disadvantages of Full Face Diving Masks
You can talk – Yes, as much as this is an advantage for many people, it can be a clear disadvantage for others who want to enjoy the peace and silence of the ocean without having your diving buddy talking to you non-stop!
More difficult to put on properly – While the several straps of FFMs bring about a secure fit, they make the mask more difficult to put on properly. You should practice putting on your FFM several times before going for a dive.
Slightly more difficult to clear – FFMs don’t get flooded easily like traditional scuba masks but when they do, they are a bit more difficult to clear because the volume of water is larger.
Are Full Face Diving Masks Safe?
Yes, full-face diving masks are safe. In fact, scientists and commercial divers have been using them for years before they became available to recreational divers.
However, you should properly learn how to use and operates FFMs before diving in open waters. Once you’ve mastered this, you are good to go.
How To Choose Your Full face Scuba Diving Mask?
Below are factors to put into consideration when choosing a scuba mask:
Full face masks are expensive as they are still fairly new in the recreational diving market. Buying a FFM is going to set you back a bit and you should consider if you are ready to invest in one.
Since FFMs cover the entire face and have the second stage regulator integrated into them, they are heavier than conventional scuba masks. However, the added weight is a small price to pay for the top-notch comfort you’ll get from FFMs.
This is another aspect where FFMs shine as they usually come with extra adjustable head straps and double sealing around the edges to ensure a secure fit with different face types. This makes FFMs truly unisex and can be used by divers of different face types.
Type of Diving
FFMs can be used by divers of different skill levels and for different types of diving. As I said earlier, you have to be properly trained on how to use a FFM before using one in open waters.
This is one of the reasons why people dole out money for FFMs. The appeal of not having a mouthpiece in the mouth and being able to talk to other people via a radio communication system is too enticing for many people not to look into FFMs.
It’s advisable you go for a FFM with a purging system as this makes it easier to clear water from them. Without a purging system, clearing water from FFMs is slightly difficult. And since you’ll be paying a lot for FFM, why not buy one that totally makes things easier for you.
Cold Water Certification
You may not bother about the cold water certification of your FFM if you dive in warm waters. But if you dive into cold water, you need to check that your FFM has been tested for use in extra cold water and has been certified for cold water usage.
Full-face scuba masks are gaining more popularity among recreational divers due to their advantages over traditional scuba masks. They are expensive but totally worth it if you can afford them. However, before you go into the open waters wearing one, make sure you’ve been properly trained on how to use it.