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Full Face snorkel mask vs. typical snorkel mask

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My hubby wants to try the full face mask due to his mustache causing leaks in the traditional snorkel mask.

I mustache you a question:

If you have tried both, can you give any advice? Especially if you have a looooong mustache.

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Posted (edited)

Full face masks work well with mustaches, not so much with a full beard which I have now.   Just be aware that they are mostly for floating on the surface, not so much for diving down since there is no way to equalize pressure in your ears*. But for surface snorkeling they are excellent. Much more comfortable than a traditional mask.   Just make sure you get a good one. The Tribord Easybreath was the original and IMO the best. Bought a Tribord for my wife, then a knockoff for me (leaked) then a Head for me (leaked). Went back to a Tribord for me (worked).

 

*there is one full face mask now that allows equalization, but I haven't tried it.

Edited by mac66

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DH has  beard and mustache, he shaves a very small area between his nose and upper lip before snorkeling or diving to prevent leaks.  He still keeps his mustache, the shaved area is about 1/4 of an inch.  I have included a link below to information regarding the safety of the full face masks.

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2634342-full-face-snorkel-mask/

 

 

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On 8/7/2019 at 2:25 PM, topspot said:

DH has  beard and mustache, he shaves a very small area between his nose and upper lip before snorkeling or diving to prevent leaks.  He still keeps his mustache, the shaved area is about 1/4 of an inch.  I have included a link below to information regarding the safety of the full face masks.

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2634342-full-face-snorkel-mask/

 

 

 

 

I agree...go to that post and make sure you read

omeinv

  post.

 

Search the internet...there have been reported deaths from using these full face masks. I don't think they have really been out long enough for a full research to be done on them but I cringe when I see someone using them because of what could (and has) happened.

 

I personally tried one at our dive shop. It's definitely different than using a regular mask. I felt water went into the "snorkel" easily and it would immediately cut of air flow and suction the entire thing to your face. At first I didn't realize what was happening and it freaked me out and I jumped up several times out of the water. Very freaky feeling. Then I discovered I didn't have the move-ability with it as I did a regular mask and needed to not tilt my head as much as I normally would do during snorkeling. I just didn't care for them...despite the reports on them I was willing to at least try it out for myself. 

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On 8/31/2019 at 5:11 PM, mitsugirly said:

 

 

I agree...go to that post and make sure you read

omeinv

  post.

 

Search the internet...there have been reported deaths from using these full face masks. I don't think they have really been out long enough for a full research to be done on them but I cringe when I see someone using them because of what could (and has) happened.

 

I personally tried one at our dive shop. It's definitely different than using a regular mask. I felt water went into the "snorkel" easily and it would immediately cut of air flow and suction the entire thing to your face. At first I didn't realize what was happening and it freaked me out and I jumped up several times out of the water. Very freaky feeling. Then I discovered I didn't have the move-ability with it as I did a regular mask and needed to not tilt my head as much as I normally would do during snorkeling. I just didn't care for them...despite the reports on them I was willing to at least try it out for myself. 

 

 

Full faced masks have been out for 5 or 6 years now.

With all due respect to the speculation here....There was one death that is speculated to have been caused by a full face mask but that claim was by the surviving spouse who is looking for someone to sue.  Otherwise despite what's been said,  there is NO evidence that Full Face Masks are any more dangerous that snorkeling with a conventional mask.

Edited by mac66

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17 minutes ago, mac66 said:

 

 

17 minutes ago, mac66 said:

 

Full faced masks have been out for 5 or 6 years now.

With all due respect to the speculation here....There was one death that is speculated to have been caused by a full face mask but that claim was by the surviving spouse who is looking for someone to sue.  Otherwise despite what's been said,  there is NO evidence that Full Face Masks are any more dangerous that snorkeling with a conventional mask.

Mac,

 

Despite your "due respect", there have been many more than 1 death of persons using full face snorkel masks, in the state of Hawaii, in the first quarter of 2018, there were four. 

Now, it is important - and I have been careful - to note that correlation does not imply causation.  However, there are documented problems with these masks, and particularly with the "knock-off" models.  The good brands (Head, Tribord) have design features that work to prevent carbon dioxide build up.  The copies lack these.  Even the quality brands require maintenance to keep the valves that prevent problems functional. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

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5 minutes ago, omeinv said:

 

Mac,

 

Despite your "due respect", there have been many more than 1 death of persons using full face snorkel masks, in the state of Hawaii, in the first quarter of 2018, there were four. 

Now, it is important - and I have been careful - to note that correlation does not imply causation.  However, there are documented problems with these masks, and particularly with the "knock-off" models.  The good brands (Head, Tribord) have design features that work to prevent carbon dioxide build up.  The copies lack these.  Even the quality brands require maintenance to keep the valves that prevent problems functional. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

 

As you said, deaths while wearing a full faced mask doesn't mean death was caused by it. It stands to reason as more people that go into the water the more people will drown. There is no proof the deaths were caused by them.

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3 hours ago, mac66 said:

 

As you said, deaths while wearing a full faced mask doesn't mean death was caused by it. It stands to reason as more people that go into the water the more people will drown. There is no proof the deaths were caused by them.

Indeed not.  However, there is a specific known hazard with many of these full-face masks.  That issue being the poor air exchange, and resultant build-up of carbon dioxide.

 

The issue in determining whether a specific piece of equipment "caused" a death is usually not clear cut.  In this case in particular the issue: oxygen displacement by carbon dioxide; can not be proven or quantified in any way after the fact.  Additionally, drowning is considered a "primary" cause of death.  This is opposed to immediate causes that require an underlying condition to be proper for statistical person.  For example, if you hear someone "died of cardiac arrest", that is incorrect.  Death is defined by cardiac (heart) arrest (stopped).   For a cause of death to be valid, the underlying reason for the cardiac arrest must be determined.  Drowning on the other hand needs no further reason on a death certificate.  It is often not possible to determine if a swimmer/diver/snorkeler suffered a direct drowning, or suffered an intervening event.  Even if it is determined, the intervening event is often a "significant condition" not listed as the cause.  The intervening event is evaluated on the basis of "would it have caused death had the person been on land?".  For example, if a person suffers from a seizure disorder, and suffered a witnessed seizure in water, and drowns, their manner of death would be "accident".  The cause of death could be correctly certified simply as "Drowning".  The "significant condition" would be "seizure disorder".  The theory behind this is that had they suffered a seizure on land, they likely would not have died (of course there is such a thing as a terminal seizure, but in water the drowning would be ruled as the cause of death).

 

All this is quite far afield.  What I can say is there is no way I or anyone I care about, will be using a full-face mask for snorkeling; at least without hearing enough to make a decision about the risk/benefit equation.  Certainly if one chooses to use one, please by a reputable brand, and follow carefully the manufacturer's recommendation for use and care.

 

Harris

Denver, CO

 

 

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Harris,

 

I understand your opinion, however I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that full faced masks are more dangerous than conventional masks. There is simply no evidence to support your assertion.  I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

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reply continued....

 

Here's why I disagree...

 

-Full faced masks have now been on the market for 4-5 years. If there was any proof that that were unsafe they would have been pulled by now. Instead they are being used my millions of people every year.

 

-Full face masks operate in a open system i.e. air/O2 is being constantly exchanged unlike a closed system where Co2 can build up. It is highly unlikely with the constant introduction of O2 that Co2 could build up in a concentration to have an effect. In that the system is simple (breath in, breath out) and is directly connected to outside air it is unlikely that the system would fail. 

 

-Head and other manufacturers have tested their masks against the only known standard (i.e, full faced scuba masks) for Co2 buildup. Their masks tested at moderate use at 50% of the allotted minimum. That means they were only half the maximum allowed Co2 concentrations.  Under heavy use i.e, breathing heavy, they were only 20% of the maximum. Yeah, they worked better under stress. That makes sense in that the harder you breath the more O2 you are taking in and the more Co2 you are expelling.

 

-If used improperly anything is dangerous, it's a risk we all take

 

 

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Mac,

 

Indeed.  I don't even feel we disagree on much.

 

Every time I've addressed this subject I've tried to be very careful to differentiate between the "Name Brands" with designs cognizant of the hazards; and the "knock-off" models that fail to consider the issue.  The very studies Head conducted showed deficiencies in the copy-cat brands.

 

Beyond that, I've only pointed out that the quality brands also require a bit more attention to care and maintenance to keep the one-way valves working as designed. 

 

In every post of yours that I recall, you've always referenced the quality brands with proper design. 

 

If there's disagreement I suppose it would be paraphrased:

 

Harris:  "I wouldn't use one, but if I did I would only use a quality brand with proper design"

 

Mac: "I would use one, but I would only use a quality brand with proper design"

 

When people have posted here asking about them, I think we've both contributed to their ability to make a decision.  That's likely the best that can come from discussions on the internet.

 

ONE POINT IN THE INTEREST OF FULL DISCLOSURE:  I am an SSI (Scuba Schools International) scuba instructor.  SSI is a subsidiary company of Head.  From time to time Head offers SSI Instructors Mares (another Head subsidiary) products at a discount.  That arrangement is designed to encourage instructors to use those products in the presence of students, and to share their own opinion and experience with those students and others.  Neither Head nor Mares has ever asked, nor implied, that I should alter what I say about any piece of equipment.  All of that being said, I do not own, nor have I been offered, a Head (or other brand) full-face mask. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, omeinv said:

Mac,

 

Indeed.  I don't even feel we disagree on much.

 

Every time I've addressed this subject I've tried to be very careful to differentiate between the "Name Brands" with designs cognizant of the hazards; and the "knock-off" models that fail to consider the issue.  The very studies Head conducted showed deficiencies in the copy-cat brands.

 

Beyond that, I've only pointed out that the quality brands also require a bit more attention to care and maintenance to keep the one-way valves working as designed. 

 

In every post of yours that I recall, you've always referenced the quality brands with proper design. 

 

If there's disagreement I suppose it would be paraphrased:

 

Harris:  "I wouldn't use one, but if I did I would only use a quality brand with proper design"

 

Mac: "I would use one, but I would only use a quality brand with proper design"

 

When people have posted here asking about them, I think we've both contributed to their ability to make a decision.  That's likely the best that can come from discussions on the internet.

 

ONE POINT IN THE INTEREST OF FULL DISCLOSURE:  I am an SSI (Scuba Schools International) scuba instructor.  SSI is a subsidiary company of Head.  From time to time Head offers SSI Instructors Mares (another Head subsidiary) products at a discount.  That arrangement is designed to encourage instructors to use those products in the presence of students, and to share their own opinion and experience with those students and others.  Neither Head nor Mares has ever asked, nor implied, that I should alter what I say about any piece of equipment.  All of that being said, I do not own, nor have I been offered, a Head (or other brand) full-face mask. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

 

 

 

 

Fair enough 🙂

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All these posts are enough to terrify someone from using a full face face.

 

We both have them....I like mine as it fits more snug and I have better sight.  The DH feels it’s too hard to breath through and swim.  Floating he says is fine but when 

he has to exert energy he doesn’t get enough air.  I’ve never felt lightheaded or dizzy when using mine for up to at least 30 minutes without removing.

 

if you want to try one get a good brand, buy one for a couple and take turns trying it.  You might even want to go to a pool to practice a bit. I love that my jaw is relaxed.  Otherwise I bite down on the tube and get jaw fatigue.

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We've been considering a full-face mask for our youngest, who wants to join us in snorkeling but has a hard time managing a split mask and snorkel. I'm trying to understand the difference here, as when I'm snorkeling with a normal mask I end up taking the thing off pretty regularly to de-fog/clear it, to clear the snorkel, to figure out where I am and whether I'm going to run into a bouy, etc. Is this not a thing one does with a full face mask?

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On 9/17/2019 at 10:28 AM, SimplyMarvie said:

We've been considering a full-face mask for our youngest, who wants to join us in snorkeling but has a hard time managing a split mask and snorkel. I'm trying to understand the difference here, as when I'm snorkeling with a normal mask I end up taking the thing off pretty regularly to de-fog/clear it, to clear the snorkel, to figure out where I am and whether I'm going to run into a bouy, etc. Is this not a thing one does with a full face mask?

My wife used to remove her mask and snorkel often to clear it as you describe.  With a full face mask she will often go for an hour or so and never take her face out of the water. (except perhaps to see where she is going, but no need to take the mask off).   I first took her snorkeling on our honeymoon 40 years ago and have been many times since.   It wasn't until buying her a full face mask that she actually enjoyed snorkeling.

 

A good full face mask doesn't fog up and is more comfortable to wear. Not to mention no getting a mouth full of salt water while trying to grip the snorkel with your teeth. 

Edited by mac66

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On 9/18/2019 at 5:18 PM, mac66 said:

My wife used to remove her mask and snorkel often to clear it as you describe.  With a full face mask she will often go for an hour or so and never take her face out of the water. (except perhaps to see where she is going, but no need to take the mask off).   I first took her snorkeling on our honeymoon 40 years ago and have been many times since.   It wasn't until buying her a full face mask that she actually enjoyed snorkeling.

 

A good full face mask doesn't fog up and is more comfortable to wear. Not to mention no getting a mouth full of salt water while trying to grip the snorkel with your teeth. 

 

Just bring a small thing of baby shampoo and squirt in any mask then rinse and put on and you won't have any issues with fogging. Or...if you don't have any of that on you, spit in it and do the same. No fogging and you'll never have to remove any mask and clear it if you do that. ;)

 

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