21 Mar

The secrets behind mask clearing… “Sssssmokin’!

Hi Scuba Diving Enthusiasts!

My name is Pierre and as a Padi Course Director for 5 star Career Development Dive Center Blue Season Bali, I have been passionate about teaching scuba diving pro levels for more than 10 years around Southeast Asia, mainly based in Thailand and Indonesia. During this period, I often see divers from all levels having issues with their scuba diving masks. So I thought about writing a series of posts focusing on one of the core scuba diving pieces of equipment: The Mask!

Here is the first post: The Secrets Behind Mask Clearing… “Sssssmokin’!”


Clearing a mask is an essential skill that needs to be mastered by many in the very early stages of your scuba education. Understanding the concept is one thing, doing it might sound frightening in the beginning. Water surrounding your nose can be uncomfortable for some of us… Let’s try to work on this!


Fear of water getting into your nose? Looking down before flooding the mask will prevent water entering your nasal cavities!

First, let’s think about what needs to happen… We need to flood the mask, and like everything in scuba diving, the slower the better, especially when submerged in cold water. This allows your face, its sensitive receptors and your nose to get slowly used to the presence of water. Breaking the seal of the mask is very important: gently lifting the bottom of the mask or one side of the mask skirt while tilting your head sideways, or slightly pinching the top part with two fingers should work fine.


For a partial mask flood, break the seal of your mask from below until water is under your eye level, the remaining air in your mask should keep the mask from flooding completely.

Now, you need to increase the air pressure inside your mask to allow it to push the water out. Here are 2 ways to achieve this. The first technique is probably the easiest one. Start by cautiously exhaling through your nose while looking down and maintaining pressure on the top part of your mask by pressing it firmly against your forehead. Then, while the air pressure is now increasing in your mask, start tilting your head backwards (looking up may help) and continue exhaling through the nose. Repeat it if your mask is not completely clear of course.


Just blow out gently will do the trick! Blowing out too hard will make the air escape and bubble out in the water.

The second one is to do a “C” shape with your thumb and index of each hand to lift skillfully (a few mm please!) the lower part of your mask while maintaining the top part sealed on your forehead. The exhalation needs to be timed perfectly with the lifting of the mask. Here as well, a slight tilt of the head backwards will ease the clearing.

TIP: Are you wearing contacts or fearing water will sting your eyes? Keep your eyes closed!

Now time to practice and let us know in the comments below which technique is working for you!

Keep Making Bubbles, Pierre [gopro@blueseasonbali.com]

PS: Clearing the mask is facilitated by having a mask that fits you well.

More on this in our next blog: No more mask leaks: how to choose a mask that suits you!


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