It is not uncommon to see a variety of full-face snorkels on Amazon with very positive reviews. Full face masks continue to sell well on the platform, with buyers having nice things to say about them. However, it is important to note that the use of full-face snorkels poses a potential risk for users. In recent times there have been series of reported cases of drowning, which was said to have been influenced by the wearing of full-face snorkels.
It is not surprising that many snorkelling experts are beginning to share their thoughts on the dangers of wearing full-face snorkels. Designed to aid easy surfacing and for recreation use, full-face snorkels cover the entire face allowing snorkelers to breathe out of their nose and mouth. Attempting to dive underwater with the full face mask could be potentially dangerous as you might start experiencing shortness of breath which is a warning sign that the full face snorkel is not for you.
Dangers of wearing full-face snorkels
- Lack of standard testing for full-face snorkels
It is believed that every snorkel brand has subjected its products to series of tests in compliance with regulatory standards. However, most full-face snorkel manufacturers base their testing standards on general diving masks and respiratory protective devices.
The challenge is that these standards are not specifically designed for testing full-face snorkels but traditional snorkels and other diving equipment. Note that there are tons of cheap and poor quality full-face snorkels out there that have gone through zero compliant testing for full-face snorkels, so why take the risk?
- There is no guarantee it will work
Amazon is an e-commerce site that is out to sell products and make money. The fact that a product is sold on the platform doesn't guarantee it works. These days, you find lots of cheap and poor-quality full-face snorkels in the market. Some of these full-face snorkels do not fit properly and could have faulty valves that do not work.
Similarly, cheap full-face snorkels may also have leaky breathing parts, which causes discomfort for the user. Unlike traditional snorkels that require minor maintenance, you have to properly maintain and clean full-face snorkels even if they are of high quality and grade.
- CO2 Build Up
One of the obvious limitations of full-face snorkels is the chances of CO2 building up in the mask to reach toxic levels. When we engage in strenuous activities, our bodies need more oxygen to keep our muscles going, increasing our heartbeat. The air we breathe in usually contains less more CO2 than the air we breathe out.
A situation where exhaled CO2 is trapped in an enclosed space such as a full-face snorkel can be fatal. During snorkelling, your breathing gets lighter, making it more difficult to push out accumulated CO2 in the masks. The danger is that inhaling used air full of CO2 results in dizziness, headaches, and eventually sliding into an unconscious state that could lead to drowning.
Full-face snorkels have made quite an impact in the snorkelling industry, with top athletes and major e-commerce sites like Amazon promoting them. However, it is important to note that these snorkels cannot be trusted as they present some potential risk for users.
John - Manager at Reef Mask
Passionate about the ocean & its beauty, John has been a passionate Snorkeler for over 10 years. Educating people on snorkelling techniques and equipment.