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Equipment - Hints and Tips

Black v's Clear Silicone Masks

You can choose to have a black silicone skirt on the mask or a clear one.

A clear skirt gives you a nice feeling of openness.  If you have a tendency to claustrophobia or are a little nervous about trying out snorkelling or SCUBA avoid the black silicone masks. Most people use clear silicone masks and these are great for casual snorkelling and for SCUBA diving.

The black silicone mask shields your eyes from unwanted light.  It is a bit like sheltering the sun from your eyes when you look out across a landscape in order to see better.  Black silicone masks allow you to see better, particularly in shallow water where there is a lot of light.  This is why clear silicone is not such a great issue for SCUBA divers in deeper water. Spearfishers or people who mostly snorkel and are comfortable swimmers will love a black silicone mask.   


Stopping your silicone mask from fogging

There are at least three things you can do to stop your mask from fogging up:

  1. Clean a brand new mask.

  2. Spit in the mask before it gets wet.

  3. Don't take it off during your snorkelling session.

1. Cleaning a new mask

A new mask is likely to have compounds from the manufacturing process adhering to the glass.  These compounds can attract vapour from your breath on to the lenses and thus the lenses get fogged up when you use the mask.

To remove any film from the inside of the glass, before you use the mask for the first time put a small squeeze of toothpaste and a small squirt of dishwashing liquid (any mild detergent like shampoo will do) on the inside of the glass and work the mixture thoroughly over the glass. 

Scrubbing the inside of the skirt won’t hurt either but DON'T scrub any plastic windows the mask might have at the sides. Spend about five minutes (or longer) scrubbing away.  If possible allow the paste to dry on the lens then wipe out with a dry cloth. Wash out well with fresh water and allow to dry. 

You should only need to do this once for a new mask but sometimes a mask will benefit from this treatment after a few months in storage.

2. Before it gets wet

Before you use the mask each time, while it is still dry, spit in the mask and rub this over the lenses well, then rinse out the mask with sea water and put it straight on your face. 

If you don't like the idea of spitting in the mask you can get small bottles of anti-fog from most dive stores to use instead.

If you don't like the idea of wearing a mask that someone else has spat into - get one of your own and carry it with you on holidays.

3. Don't take it off

If you are able to leave your mask in place until you leave the water this will also help avoid fogging. Taking it off and putting it on your forehead changes the temperature of the lens and can encourage fogging.  

See also our mask usage tips for other good reasons not to take your mask off.


Masks with Optical Correction Lenses

When diving it is nice to be able to see clearly, we all know that the water/air interface (mask lens) makes everything appear closer and larger underwater. If your above water vision is corrected by contact lenses or glasses you may benefit from fitting corrective lenses into your mask. It is quite safe to dive with contact lenses so if you are comfortable doing this then carry on.  

More information about Prescription Diving Masks from a diving optician.