For most of us the first piece of scuba equipment that we purchase is the Scuba Mask. Most of the major pieces of Scuba Dive Equipment like the scuba regulator, buoyancy control device or BCD, scuba cylinder and the scuba diving wet suit are loaned to you when you are taking your initial scuba lessons. The personal items, your scuba mask, your snorkel, scuba boots and scuba fins are not. You are expected to purchase these items. At Aquatic Adventures Scuba Academy, my Dive Center in Northern Virginia, this is exactly what we do in our Open Water Scuba Course, which is the beginner scuba course.
Why Do You Need A Scuba Mask?
Your eyes require an air space in front of them so that your eyes can focus properly. When we swim or are in the water we no longer have that air space. Therefore while you can still see, your eyes cannot focus properly and everything is blurry. Your scuba mask creates this air space in front of your eyes and thus you are able to see while in the water whether your are snorkeling or scuba diving. It is an essential piece of Scuba diving equipment.
How to fit a Scuba Mask?
Scuba diving masks do not come in sizes like other pieces of diving equipment. Scuba Masks, do however, come in a variety of different shapes and colors. It is essential to find a scuba mask that fits properly to prevent water leakage or rubbing. The trick is to simply try the scuba mask on without the strap. While it is in place inhale. While inhaling the scuba mask should stay in place properly without leaking air. If it does fit properly the next step is to check and make sure that it does not rub on any place on your face that has a bony prominence, like your nose, eye brows or checks.
If it passes these two tests then you can narrow your search by taking into consideration any special features that the ask might offer.
Two Lenses or One Lens?
There are a wide variety of features available in scuba masks. Some masks have two separate lenses some only on large lens. Many of the scuba masks with two lenses, but not all, accept prescription lenses. If you wear glasses a Prescription Mask is a very nice option. The single lens scuba mask does let in more light. Many scuba divers feel the extra light lessons any feeling of claustrophobia. The single lens scuba mask has a lower volume so it is somewhat easier to clear when you flood it with water.
Side Windows or No Side Window?
Some scuba masks offer side windows. These side windows allow a degree of peripheral vision. Many divers like this option and many do not care. Side windows on a scuba mask do tend to increase the price of the mask by about $10.00. The side windows also increase the volume of the scuba mask and thus it is somewhat harder to clear when flooded.
Another option that is available on a scuba mask is swivel buckles. The swivel buckles allow the scuba diver to more easily tilt the mask away from your face when you are letting water in the mask to help defog it. The swivels are nice but not essential.
Comfort and Fit
The single most important feature of a scuba mask is comfort and fit. If your scuba mask is not comfortable you will find yourself purchasing a new scuba mask far earlier then you might need to do so. Always try on several scuba masks and when you narrow down the scuba masks according to the available options let comfort and fit be the tie breaker to help you decide.
How to Care For Your Scuba Mask?
When a scuba mask is manufactured the entire mask is sprayed with silicone spray to coat the mask frame and to make it shiny. This silicone spray also gets on the glass lenses and should be removed. The best way is to use either some toothpaste or a product called Sea Buff. Put a little on your finger tips and rub it onto the scuba mask lenses inside and out. Rinse it off and you are good to go.
Every time you scuba dive or snorkel you need to rinse the mask prior to putting it away. Be sure and dry the mask and then store it in the hard plastic box that came with the scuba mask. If you put it in the box without drying it first the scuba mask will mildew.
There are many very good manufacturers of quality scuba masks. Scuba Pro Diving Equipment, Sub Gear Diving Equipment, Mares, Sherwood Diving Equipment and Aeris Diving Equipment are only a few.
Scuba Dive Equipment in Northern Virginia or anyplace else is expensive but with a little extra care it will last many years. Equipment care should be a part of any Scuba Classes Northern Virginia or Scuba Classes anywhere for that matter.