Full Face Diving

Diving in a full face mask is unlike any other diving experience. In addition to having a very high LCF (look cool factor), it also gives you more options than a traditional mask and regulator system. While normally considered as more of a commercial/working diver piece of equipment, any properly trained diver can enjoy full face mask diving! SDI/TDI and PADI both have training available for those interested in developing this skill set.

My own experience in this area is with the AGA/Divator,Guardian and EXO full face masks, on both scuba and surface supply. Of the three, the Guardian mask was my favourite, no hands down. OTS makes a good product in my honest estimation, being comfortable, easy to maintain and easy to use. The AGA/Divator is the most common full face mask I’ve seen out there; reliable, durable and ubiquitous. The EXO is my least favourite mask. The EXO is a 50/50 item, you either love it and extoll it’s virtues, or loath it and its leaking ways. I am in the latter category.

The advantages of full face mask diving are numerous for those who try them out. Increased thermal protection in cold water, verbal communications with the surface and/or other divers (who are similarly equipped), a vastly increased field of vision, being able to breath through your nose… These are all things possible in a full face mask. There are a handful of things to remember when you’re diving a full face mask though:

  • it can be harder to clear while you descend and ascend, so watch your speed  and clear frequently
  • flooded full face masks clear differently depending on the model, learn your model
  • assuming your not diving in
    a hazardous environment, keep your octopus attached and carry a spare regular mask in a pocket or pouch in case of catastrophic failure
  • mask squeeze takes on a whole new meaning if it happens, be sure you keep the mask equalized by clearing the regulator when the mask begins to squeeze your face

Diving with a full face mask is an amazing experience. Paired up with another FFM diver and a comms system, dives take on a whole new dimension. If you’re looking to get into underwater exploration, this becomes a key skill to develop. Personally, I can’t wait to pick one up!

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About the author

Graeme is a professional diver, qualified as a PADI and SDI Divemaster, DCBC 40m Unrestricted Commercial Scuba Diver, 30m Restricted Surface Supply diver, and CAUS Scientific Diver Lv.2. Graeme has an Associate Degree of Arts in Environmental Studies, where he focused on archaeology and physical geography, and an Advanced GIS certificate.