5 Ways To Stop Your Dive Mask Leaking
Stop your dive mask leaking with our five tips and avoid having to buy a new one.
Few things can be more annoying than a persistent dive mask leaking during a scuba dive but luckily we got some tips to fix the problem.
While not critical or dangerous in any way, the constant seeping in of water, not to mention having to stop routinely and empty your dive mask is truly irksome and can make part of your dive annoying.
A dive mask leaking might indicate a faulty or ill-fitting unit, and sometimes the only fix is to replace the mask with a new, well-fitting model.
But before chucking the dive mask altogether, try these fixes first.
Ensure a proper fit
The first thing you need to do is to make sure the mask fits your facial form properly. You do this by putting the mask on your face without putting the mask strap on.
Just leave that hanging under the mask. Hold the mask against your face and gently inhale. As you inhale, let go of the mask.
If the mask drops from your face, it doesn’t fit. If it stays on (as long as you’re inhaling), you’re solid.
Now you know the mask fits you, so if it is leaking, the fit isn’t the problem.
Here’s What To Look For When Buying A Mask.
And as long as the mask skirt is intact all the way around, the glass doesn’t have any holes or gaps, and there are no holes anywhere, your problem should be fixable.
Watch for hair and hoods
Any object, however thin it is, that is trapped underneath the skirt of the mask, will allow water to get into the mask.
Often, the problem is the hood, if you’re wearing one, or strands of hair. Even a few strands can be enough, as these can act as a wick and let water in continuously.
So make sure your mask skirt isn’t folded on itself anywhere, and there aren’t any objects trapped underneath before starting the dive.
A beginner’s mistake when trying to fix a leaking mask is to tighten it even more. But more often than not, this only adds to the problem.
The skirt of a mask worn too tightly will warp and potentially let in water. Tighten it more, and the problem will persist or worsen.
So instead, try loosening it. A mask should be worn so loose that the strap itself is really ornamental once you’re underwater and the pressure of the water holds the mask in place.
Of course, above water, the strap keeps the mask on your face, but below, it should mostly be done by the pressure of the water. So try loosening the mask a few notches.
Here are some Tips To Defog Your Scuba Mask.
Shave for a better mask fit
Granted, this one goes more for guys. Facial hair can pose the same problems as head hair and can act as an object trapped underneath the mask skirt.
So if you have a bit of scruff, or maybe a full beard, consider shaving at least the upper lip if your dive mask keeps leaking.
I myself can go for two days without shaving, but on the third, my mask starts leaking, making me break out the razor. If you’re not ready to shave your ‘stache, adding a bit of vaseline can sometimes do the trick.
Strangely, I’ve sometimes found the vaseline trick to work for women as well, and one woman I used to dive with used to rub vaseline all around the skirt of her mask.
Might be that helps even out small imperfections in the skin?
In any case, it’s worth a shot.
Wait until tomorrow
Sometimes, there’s nothing to be done. Whatever trick you try, the mask keeps leaking.
Even my trusty Scubapro Frameless, which fits my face as if it was molded from it, sometimes leaks, and I can find no reason for it.
Sometimes it as if my face is just bent out of shape that day. Maybe it’s because I’ve slept on the other side that night, maybe it’s the temperature of the mask or whatever. I don’t know. But some days, it just leaks.
Live with it, take it as an opportunity to practice your mask clearance drills, and wait until tomorrow. If the mask fit perfectly yesterday, it will probably fit again tomorrow.
Very good observation and very true. Agree completely and found this to be a problem too. The other problem not mentioned here, is the position of the strap around the head. I think it is typically too high on the head.
I was assisting on a dive recently while doing my DMT and my buddy had issues the whole time with her mask leaking. It wasn’t until we got back to the dive centre and tested it in the pool that I realised the problem was caused by her having it way too tight. The top was buckling under the pressure and it was making water leak in from the bottom. Great tip! I always used to have my mask a little too tight as well, but I’ve learned that only causes stress, rather than reducing it.
Don’t use Vaseline or other petroleum products on the silicone skirt.
It will degrade it over time and ruin a mask.
Facial expressions are one more source of mask leaks. They are often fleeting and done unconsciously so many people don’t connect them to a mask leak.
I have a difficult face (thin with nearly hollow temples but large cheek bones) therefore every time I smile, or laugh, my mask creates a large channel for water to enter via my temples. If I don’t stop smiling or keep laughing, I may as well remove my mask it floods so completely. As long as I remain expressionless my mask never leaks and I now keep it so loose that my strap (a neoprene slap strap), can occasionally be seen floating above my hood. Frowning or talking can cause similar problems. I often remove my regulator to speak if someone is close by and not understanding sign language and if you do this with or without your regulator you are likely making expressions you are unaware of. I am not suggesting anyone remove their regulator to talk (it’s easy to choke and I have come close to drowning simply because the middle finger just wasn’t enough) but when your main dive buddy is a spouse, it’s inevitable you will get into an argument and learn that skill very quickly 😉 In all seriousness we do occasionally need to discuss camera settings and it’s one of those bad habits/skills we can’t shake.
If you are having mask leaks with a mask that you know fits well and all the above points are addressed, I would suggest practicing a poker face.
I have the ridiculous problem of two continuous air streams coming out the top sides of my mask. It’s a Tusa paragon, with a very soft skirt. Air streams out whether breathing in or out and I consciously breathe through my mouth not my nose. It’s like the skirt just can’t hold in the air. My face is square around the temples rather than round, which may be a problem. No problem in fitting above water. It only stops streaming air if I look at my fins so that my top of my mask would then be the bottom. Maybe I’ve got it too tight, but I tried lots of different tightnesses. It’s a serious issue, looking at past logs I’m guessing I’m using a fourth to a third more air.
If it’s so much that you can see spot it on air consumption, then try boring another mask for a few dives. If it completely solves it, you and your mask just might be the perfect fit.
Keep it lose, try to move it lower or higher on your face(still covering nose and eyes of course).