Wrong-way to use full face snorkel masks
Full face snorkel masks are designed to be safe and the most fun as possible, incorrect usage can however lead to dangers and even fatal situations! At Reef Mask, we believe in always staying safe when snorkelling in the water. This means following all suitable ocean rules, knowing the conditions and understanding your limits. If you do want to buy a full face snorkel for yourself or a family member it's important to follow these rules and be vigilant when in the ocean.
Full face snorkels are designed to be fun and safe but snorkelling itself was never created for a high-intensity activity or aquatic sports. Instead, a face snorkel is for slow intensity, peaceful swimming through the ocean, checking out coral and underwater animals. We do not recommend fast-paced swimming with a full face snorkel, you should only ever swim slowly with low intensity. Fast swimming will increase aerobic heart rate which triggers shallow breathing, increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the full face mask.
The design and shape of a full face snorkel make it perfect for surface swimming. The concept is that you swim slowly along the surface of the water, peering down onto the ocean floor. Full face snorkels, although can be submerged, are not designed for long periods underwater. This can make a full face snorkel difficult to equalise correctly and overall not ideal for children under the age of 12 or activities such as long-distance swimming and freediving.
How do you stay safe while using a full face snorkel mask?
So you just got your brand new full face snorkel mask from a trusted manufacturer (hopefully Reef Mask and not from Amazon or eBay). What can you now do to ensure your safety when using the full face snorkel out in the water? Carbon dioxide buildup can pose an issue for full-face snorkels, so it's important to learn and follow these safety rules.
You should start by practising placing on and off your full face mask! Ensure you can confidently take off your mask, with the full face snorkel is the correct size. This means fitting snug but comfortable around the head but not too tight that there is pain or discomfort. When out in the ocean there may be moments where you need to take off or put on your full face mask quickly. You should be able to do this confidently before heading out into the water, practice till you can do this smoothly and with ease.
CO2 build up signs
Knowing the warning signs of carbon dioxide build-up is extremely important when it comes to staying safe using a full face snorkel. On the off chance that something happens and CO2 builds up to dangerous levels you need to know what to look for so you can quickly take off your full face mask (hence why we recommend practising)
The signs of carbon dioxide buildup include dizziness, sleepiness, difficulties breathing and hyperventilation. If you notice any of these symptoms starting to show while using a full face snorkel mask in the water, stop, take off the mask and return to shore.
Go with a mate
Snorkelling with a mate is strongly recommended! it's important to remember that snorkelling isn't for everyone, if you're a weak swimmer or unconfident in the water then you shouldn't go snorkelling with a full face mask. Even if you are a competent swimmer, it's best to go with a buddy! This is not only a lot more fun and enjoyable, but you are also much more safe having a mate by your side. Ensure to keep an eye out for each other, keeping accountability of each other's location.
Knowing the conditions of the ocean is also extremely important for keeping safe when snorkelling in a full face mask. Changing snorkelling spots and locations is a lot of fun but it's important to be aware of the conditions and elements locally to any new locations. Going on websites like surf life-saving Australia can provide information on rostered lifeguards at beaches, as well as reports on rips, currents, jagged/submerged rocks and dangerous aquatic life such as sharks and jellyfish.
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.