how to clear your dive mask underwater | Latchi Dive Centre, Cyprus

How to clear your dive mask

… and choosing the right dive mask for you.

When you open your eyes under water everything is out of focus. A dive mask solves this problem by creating an air space between your eyes and the lenses, allowing you to see as clearly as normal.


Whether you are a casual beach snorkeler when you go on holiday or a hard-core diver, a mask is a must when you are in the sea.

Whether you are scuba diving, free diving or snorkelling, a dive mask is a vital part of the equipment needed to enjoy the true wonders of the underwater world.

There are hundreds and hundreds of different types of masks on the market. Including a full face, half face (eyes and nose) or just eyes. Finding the best one for your chosen activity is key. You can ask in your local dive centre for advice and at Latchi Watersports Centre. We stock all the above types. We have a wide choice of brands, colours and sizes to suit all ages and abilities. You can also get prescription lenses fitted in your dive mask. So, just because you wear glasses, doesn’t mean you have to miss out.

To get the most effective use from your mask, the fit must be just right to create the perfect seal. Too loose and water can trickle in; resulting in you constantly having to clear your mask underwater. Too tight, and you may feel discomfort and even pain when diving deeper.

how to clear your dive mask underwater | Latchi Dive Centre, Cyprus

Whilst still on dry land your mask should sit comfortably on your face with the dive mask strap central at the back of your head.

To test the seal on your mask put the frame on your face. Don’t worry about the strap just leave it hanging in front of the frame. Breathe in from your nose and at the same time let go of the mask. It should stay comfortably in place. If the mask slips, the seal is broken and letting in the air causing the mask to fall. Therefore, it did not create an effective seal. And, it will let water in when diving. Try different dive masks until you find one that is ideally suited for you.

Dealing with foggy masks

One frequent problem people have when using a mask is that the lenses may fog. A simple solution to avoid this happening is to spit onto the lens each time you use the mask. Rub it all over the lens. And, rinse with a little sea water. Another option is to buy some anti-fog spray and apply before use. When a dive mask is made in the factory, a very thin coating is applied to the lenses. This must be removed before you use your dive masks for the first time. A common way to remove this coating is to rub a mild abrasive over the lens such as toothpaste which we often use.

Emptying your mask

Dive Mask clearing is a basic, fundamental skill for any diver. For a snorkeler, it is easy to just stick your face out of the water to correct any issues with your mask. For a diver who may be down many meters under the surface, this is impossible to do quickly without the possibility of causing a much worse and dangerous situation.

It is common during a dive for a small amount of water to enter your mask. This could be due to a few factors. The most common is that some of your hair is trapped in the mask breaking the seal. Or, changing facial expressions and not being properly fitted.

You may choose to deliberately flood your dive mask to de-fog. And, there are also a few unexpected ways your mask can suddenly be partially or totally flooded. For example, the strap on your mask breaking, or even a collision with other divers’ hands or fins. Either way, if this is something you are not used to or not confident with, the feeling of water seeping into your mask and your nose is one that generally causes panic. Especially if you usually breathe through your nose.

Panic is the number one cause of diver fatalities

Particularly when it results in a rapid ascent. Therefore, learning how to deal calmly with any unexpected situations may literally be the difference between life and death. Less dramatically, diving with a mask that continually leaks or is partially filled with water is just irritating. And, it can ruin the fun of the dive. That alone should be enough to want to master the skill of clearing your dive mask!

So, all you need to do is take a nice steady and relaxed breath through your regulator. And, as you gently exhale through your nose, look up to the water’s surface and push the frame at the top of your mask onto your forehead with two fingers on each side. By pushing the frame at the top of your mask it makes it easier for the seal at the bottom to be slightly broken. When you then exhale, the force of the air will push any water out of the bottom of your mask. Be sure to start exhaling before tilting your head back to prevent water from going up your nose.

This is an important skill to learn

And, once confident with it, you will never again have to deal with water swilling around your dive mask disturbing your view of the beautiful and amazing world under the sea.

This skill is taught on even the most basic diving course. And, it is a skill you can use throughout all of your diving and snorkelling experiences.

If you wish to learn more skills like this and take your diving to the next level; we can get you there. From beginners to professionals. Just ask at any of our offices for more information on how you can gain a qualification that you can take anywhere in the world for the rest of your life.

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