Tricks on How to Clear your Mask

Tricks on How to Clear your Mask


Big congrats on diving into, thinking about, or acing your Open Water Diver Course! Having a bit of trouble with mask clearing? No sweat! We’ve all been there and we're here to share some tips that'll make mastering the mask clearing skill a breeze!


Why the fear of mask clearing?

Navigating underwater isn't our natural habitat, and when water sneaks into our masks, triggering that sensation around the nose, panic can sneak in. The fear of being short on breath kicks in, intensified by our instinct to breathe in of our noses. Learning to dive requires unlearning this habit! Conquering this instinctive fear demands resilience, but the exciting part is it's a skill you can master. We're here to support you every step of the way, and soon, clearing your mask will become second nature. Who knows? You might even inspire others to tackle the same challenge.


Mask Clearing practise in Coral Grand Divers Pool, Koh Tao- Thailand
Why do we need the mask clearing skill?

The mask clearing skill might seem challenging, but consider it your expert move in the underwater world. Why, you ask?


  1. Dive in Rental Equipment: Faces come in all shapes and sizes, and rental masks might not fit everyone perfectly. Your well-fitting dive mask is a personal investment for comfortable dives.
  2. Accidental Knock-Offs: If your mask gets knocked off or needs removal underwater, mastering the clearing skill ensures you can handle the situation with ease.
  3. Leaky Masks: Proper mask positioning is crucial to prevent leaks. Inhale through your nose with the mask on; if it sticks, adjust the strap. Avoid extremes – not too loose, not too tight – to ensure a snug fit and avoid leakage.
  4. Facial Hair Woes: Facial hair, especially stubble, can lead to mask leakage. Maintain a full beard or opt for a clean shave. Some divers find Vaseline on the top lip helpful!
  5. Smiles and Giggles (Yes, Diving is Fun!): Dive guides, instructors, and buddies enjoy some underwater antics that leave you in stitches, and yes, water starts trickling into your mask.
  6. Fogged Masks: Incorrectly prepared or new masks are prone to fogging, no need to abort mission! Instead, let a smidgen of water in and then swiftly clear it. Voila!
  7. Firsts Underwater: Imagine the thrill of spotting your first whale shark and shedding tears of joy inside your mask!

Mastering the mask clearing skill boosts confidence, promotes relaxation, and letting you have a blast underwater, all while saving air! 


 Mask skill in Open Water during the Open Water Diver Course

    Mask Clearing: Step-by-Step !

    1. Let's start from the shallows of the pool. It's your comfort zone – a place where standing up is always an option. Relax, forget about the dive gear for a while, and enjoy quality time with yourself, the pool, your mask and your snorkel.
    2. Stand with your feet on the pool floor, set aside your mask, place your snorkel in your mouth, and lower your head into the water. Close your eyes if you wear contacts or want to feel more at ease. Practice breathing in through your mouth and out through your mouth, then switch to breathing in through your mouth and exhaling through your nose. It helps you develop "muscle memory" for performing the exercise. You'll realize, no water in your nose! Keep practicing until it becomes second nature.
    3. Fantastic job so far! Let's stay above the surface. Inhale through your regulator and exhale through your nose. Once you're comfortable, dip your face in the water with the mask on, just focus on your breathing. Next, remove the mask, dip your face in the water again, and breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose. If it ever feels uncomfortable, simply stand up, take a few normal breaths, and give it another shot
    4. Now, let's move on to the mask clear skill. Stick to the shallow area, ensure your feet are firmly planted, and use the pool wall for support if needed. Gradually fill your mask with water, then practice clearing it by exhaling through your nose. Increase the water level until you can confidently fill and clear the entire mask.
    5. Gear-up and transition to both the shallow and deeper ends of the pool, guided by your instructor.



    • Pro tip:

      Use your fingers to break the top seal, allowing water to fill from the top, and take a moment to get accustomed to the sensation. Look down or tuck your chin. Take a slow, deep inhalation through your mouth. Then, begin to firmly exhale through your nose while maintaining the pressure on the very top of the mask’s frame or slightly tilt the frame without pulling it away. To remove the remaining water, tilt your head back at a 45-degree angle while finishing the exhale. Hey, ensure your mask is nearly empty before tilting, or you may inadvertently tip water up your nose! If an additional breath is required to complete the clearing, tuck your chin before running out of breath. Switch back to breathing exclusively through the mouth, take a breath or two, and then repeat the steps as necessary. When done, resume your normal diving breathing pattern.

    Tricks from Coral Grand Divers Team

    1. Before hitting the water, practice a bit of visualization. Close your eyes, take calming breaths, and envision yourself calmly navigating each step. If you can do it in your head, you can do it in the water.
    2. Mindfulness is Key: Relax, don't overthink stuff !
    3. You don't have to open your eyes – and you can pinch your nose when removing your mask, it work wonders!
    4. Overcome the fear of water up the nose with this trick – press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth as you exhale. Somehow, this small action aids successful mask clearing.
    5. Practice in the pool, honing in on your breathing. 
    6. Mask Entry Techniques: Pinch the top of your mask to allow water to seep in gently, avoiding a direct route to your nose.
    7. Tilt Your Head Forward after you have cleared almost all the water from your mask.
    8. Don't forget, as long as your regulator is in your mouth, you've got a steady supply of air.
    9. Go at your own pace, and remember – we're here to assist you! 


    mask clearing in Koh Tao

    We're in this together!– mastering mask skill is a team effort!

    If you're comfortable with your instructor but need a little more support with mask clearing, just give them the heads up - supporting you is their main focus. It's incredibly fulfilling for instructors to see students who initially find some skills challenging eventually excel and master them. Your success is their success, and they're dedicated to helping you every step of the way.


    Happy divers in Koh Tao, Thailand

    Building a rapport with your instructor is crucial. If, for any reason, you don't feel the connection, don't worry – it happens! Comfort and trust are integral to scuba diving, especially during the Open Water Diver Course. In challenging situations, whether underwater or in life, you rely on your instructor or buddy. Feel free to openly communicate with us; we're here for you. If exploring the option of working with another instructor feels right, go for it. Your scuba journey should be enjoyable, so let's make sure it aligns perfectly with your comfort !

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