Updated: Dec 14, 2019
As loyal fans of the Ocean Technology Systems products, it was a bit of a surprise to realize we at SAGA had never actually done an unboxing video of their staple product: The GUARDIAN Full Face Mask.
You can click the link to watch the video or simply read the article. The Ocean Technology Systems Guardian Full Face Mask is OTS's flagship product. It's not only used by recreational divers but also a preferred product by many public safety divers, fire fighters and military forces around the world, which is why it's no surprise that this mask is so durable, reliable and popular. THE BAG It comes in a neat little gear bag, with some spare pockets for wrenches (needed to open or close the port plugs if you want to install communication systems), spare parts and nose blocks (needed to equalize). The gear bag has some drain holes on the bottom, so if you were in a rush, you could even store away your wet mask after a dive (although I generally like to dry it properly before doing so). THE MASK In the gear bag we find two separate parts: The mask itself and the second stage regulator. The mask has a double skirt all around, ensuring a proper fit for most face types and the 5-point spyder strap makes it easy to find a secure and comfortable fit. Pro tip: To ensure a snug fit around the face, pull the two lower straps first, then the temple straps and finish with the top strap. This will prevent the mask from "riding up" on your face during the dive. The mask has a pretty big acrylic visor (which we love) and is protected on both sides with a plastic film. The inside film is pretty easy to miss so make sure you don't accidentally hop in the water with it. Although clearly built from high quality material, be mindful of where you place your mask after a dive, the visor scratches easily so it's important to place the mask face-up and wrap it in a towel whenever or the gear bag when in transport. On the top left side of the mask you'll find the Ambient Breating Valve or ABV (also known as Surface Air Valve or SAV) which opens counter-clockwise and allows the diver to breath ambient air instead of tank air after donning the mask before the dive. Be sure to close your ABV before descent or you'll soon be wearing an aquarium! All jokes aside, the mask is actually nearly impossible to flood, even with the ABD open. For training, we practice partially and fully flooding and clearing the full face mask and the most effective way to do so is by opening the ABV and tilting the head sideways. Otherwise, you'll be hard-pressed to flood it as doing so by simply breaking the seal around the mask is nearly impossible due to the positive pressure (more about that in a bit). On the inside of the mask, you'll find the nose block where you can install different shapes of nose blocks to fit your own face. (I find that I can comfortably equalize with pretty much any one of them though). Just be mindful to not drop or lose the nose blocks as the can wear a bit over time and loosen more easily.
THE SECOND STAGE REGULATOR The OTS Guardian is a positive pressure mask and the regulator is carefully calibrated to make sure any lack of back-pressure in the mask (a leaking seal for instance) is met with airflow to ensure the mask doesn't flood. Therefore, the mask comes with its own regulator second stage and hose. All you need to do is connect it to a low pressure port on your personal first stage and you're ready to go! To connect the second stage, simply slide it in the opening and you should hear a 'click'. To release it, press the red button release mechanism inside the mask and it should slide right out. Just as with any regulator, it should be serviced annually. In fact, it's a good idea to have the entire OTS Guardian Full Face Mask serviced annually so seals can be checked and replaced, the locking mechanisms can be cleaned, the ABV seal can be replaced and of course so the regulator can be tuned. We'll be using the OTS Guardian again on our upcoming SAGA Underworld Trip to the Mexican Cenotes and can't wait! What do you think? Have you used the Guardian before? Are you looking to purchase one? Let us know in the comments!