By: Jersey Mike
Scuba Mask Issues With Students
Comfort Level Of Students With Mask
As a seasoned PADI Scuba Instructor I often encounter scuba mask issues with students when learning the basic open water skills with regard to the PADI Open Water certification. They have a basic fear of the water entering their nose or don’t feel comfortable removing their masks and breathing without it. But, feeling comfortable without a mask on or having water enter through the mask skirt is a necessary feeling that a student must be comfortable with.
Mask Skills Involved
Partially flooding and clearing, fully flooding and clearing and complete removal of the mask and then putting the mask back on and fully purging the water out of it, are basic skills that a student has to master before moving onto the open water checkout dives to be repeated in an open water setting.
Issues With Scuba Mask
The main issue concerning scuba mask issues with students that some students cannot grasp the concept that they cannot inhale through their noses when under water and that their noses are only used to purge water out. When the student inhales water through his or her nose, immediate panic sets in and bolting to the surface is a sudden impulse.
Need A Skilled Scuba Instructor
The skill of an instructor is to make the student comfortable in the pool or confined water setting so it feels natural. I often tell students “make believe your nose doesn’t exist for breathing or you never had a nose and you can only breath through your mouth”. As an instructor I spend a considerable amount of time with students mastering this skill because the reality is that this skill is very important. As a scuba diver, it is inevitable that water will enter the mask and a person has to be comfortable with it and be able to purge the water out of the mask and this can happen at depth and one has to solve his or her problems in the water and not out of it.
The “mask and water” issue are most scuba instructors’ concern. Making the student comfortable with water around his or her face is one of the biggest challenges for an instructor teaching the PADI Open Water class because the instructor cannot proceed to the open water setting until the skill is mastered in the confined water setting. Furthermore, no instructor wants to have scuba mask issues with students and have them panic in an open water setting concerning the mask skills and strives to have the student master it in the confined water setting.