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Everything about Full Face Mask Diving - Unmasking the facts (discount inside)

“My name is Stephen and I’m a Star Wars nerd…fan, I mean fan!” To be more specific I’m a fan of the dark side. And, to be yet more specific I love Darth Vader, so much so that outside of meeting the great man himself I undertook Full Face Mask training many years ago so I could even look more like him underwater, because as all divers know we already sound like him. Ok, so maybe I exaggerate a bit for effect but we can agree that whenever we see a diver gearing up with a Full Face Mask it gains attention.

Until recent years, Full Face Masks were the exclusive domain of a select few. The likes of military, commercially hired divers and research & scientific divers were amongst those lucky enough to use this hardware, almost certainly due to their

complexity, limited availability and expensive price tags. Today however, advances in technology and manufacturing allow these units to be readily available to recreational divers at affordable prices and we’re able to experience the same benefits although we apply it in (often) less harsh environments but for many similar reasons.

So, what is a Full Face Mask? In a conventional set up, divers wear a face mask that covers the eyes and nose which allows for vision and air space equalisation as well as a seperate second stage regulator in the mouth which enables the diver to breathe, a Full Face Mask combines both of these features into a single piece of equipment. With this comes a series of different considerations, some we can consider as ‘pros’ and others as ‘cons’, we will outline some of these in just a few moments.

Choosing a Full Face Mask suitable for you is a matter of knowing which features speak to you, knowing the conditions where you think you will predominantly be using it (as this can also influence features to look out for) for instance if you have frequent surface swims you’ll want to consider a mask with an SAV (Surface Air Valve) so that you can conserve cylinder gas by breathing atmospheric air, and of course your budget will play a part because they can run from as little as $350 to over $1500. Regardless of how your purchase comes together one thing remains the same - be sure to learn your mask and receive proper training because there are procedures and considerations for use that you might not be aware of. A PADI Full Face Mask course will address these and your instructor will help familiarise you with the mask function.