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Snorkel masks always leak.

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I’ve tried a few different mask over the years including the full face mask. They always leak.  Some leak instantly, others after 10 minutes or so of snorkeling.  Any suggestions on what to buy. I’m an adult female with a small, somewhat narrow face.  Most of the ones I’ve tried cost about $30, but I’m willing to spend more to get one that doesn’t leak.  

 

Thank you

Amanda 

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Amanda,

 

There's no way to say which mask would be best for you.  Generally the cost isn't the determining factor.  The best way to get the right mask is go to a dive shop that has a good selection, and have the staff help you select one for you.  Ideally, they'll have a pool where you can try the mask out.  The right mask for you is going to depend on the shape of your head and face.  One common mistake people make when a mask leaks is to try to tighten the strap more.  All that does is make the mask uncomfortable as well as leaky.  In water the mask strap is inconsequential on a properly fitted mask.  The water pressure is what actually holds the mask in place. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

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My wife has similar issues and often ends up using a child's mask. She always buys at a dive shop and makes sure the fit is right before leaving the store. If you are having as many issues as OP, getting fitted at a dive shop is a must.

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Good quality masks are quite an expensive item. $30 just doesn't cut it.

Some scuba manufacturers have small adult masks in their range, this is what you need to be looking at.

Masks actually have 2 seals for the face, the inner seal can be checked by doing a "sniff test" the outer seal needs someone who knows what they are doing to look at you while wearing a mask.

90% of the time, 90% of people can buy an reasonable quality  mask on the internet and it fits, unfortunately you are one of the 10% that can't. 

Although price is not always an indication it is a good guide, the best mask I own cost me $140. Sadly now I can't wear it as i use a prescription mask. I keep it for loan to students who have "mask problems" The seals on this mask are super soft.

You need to visit a good dive shop, most have knowledgable staff who know how to fit a mask properly. Even better if they have a pool you can use.

Expect to pay around $80 or so, but with proper care it will last many years.

We used to run snorkel tours for cruise ship passengers, many would turn up with "Costco specials", these would leak and the guests would be amazed at the difference when we loaned them a properly fitting good quality scuba mask.

Hope this helps you to enjoy your time in the water

 

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Agree with all the above. Have a narrow face, and masks always leaked. A few years back invested in a mask that fits great at a snorkel/dive shop in Maui. If only cost me $50 and no more leaks. For as much as I travel and snorkel it makes all the difference in the world.

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Thanks for your suggestions.  I would pay $140 to have a mask that doesn’t leak. I will check for dive shops in Richmond and Raleigh (I’m midway between the two).  If anyone lives in either area and knows of a good shop please let me know. 

 

Thank you

Amanda

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21 hours ago, omeinv said:

Amanda,

 

There's no way to say which mask would be best for you.  Generally the cost isn't the determining factor.  The best way to get the right mask is go to a dive shop that has a good selection, and have the staff help you select one for you.  Ideally, they'll have a pool where you can try the mask out.  The right mask for you is going to depend on the shape of your head and face.  One common mistake people make when a mask leaks is to try to tighten the strap more.  All that does is make the mask uncomfortable as well as leaky.  In water the mask strap is inconsequential on a properly fitted mask.  The water pressure is what actually holds the mask in place. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

My husband always wants to tighten mine. Sometimes it’s pressing against my forehead so much I have to quit snorkeling.  Lol.  I told him I didn’t think the mask would need to be that tight. 

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Just wondering if you tried the old fitting trick of putting the mask on your face, inhaling through your nose and holding your breath, and see if the mask stays on?

 

Any alternative, if you can snorkel with salt water possibly getting into your nose is using swim goggles and this:

https://www.decathlon.com/products/swimming-center-snorkel-nabaiji?adept-product=swimming-center-snorkel-nabaiji&adept_product_id=swimming-center-snorkel-nabaiji&source=search#

 

I use such a set up for swimming (partially because I'm not very buoyant in fresh water).  I'd take this along to a cruise in French Polynesia if my swim goggles didn't have such weak prescription.

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Cruising cockroach,

 

The masks I’ve bought previously were all packaged so I couldn’t test before hand. I’m going to try one of those dive shops and they can help me figure out the fit.  The other thing you suggested wouldn’t work for me. I’m not a strong swimmer and can only imagine I might panic with the water in my nose.  However my daughter is like a fish and would love this over the traditional snorkel mask.  She also struggles with leaky mask but not as bad as me. Thank you for the suggestion. 

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I have the same issue and I found the black-skirted masks fit better as the latex is softer than the clear stuff.  

Also, make sure you are not tightening it TOO much as that will break the seal.  That is the problem I see with most people - they think if the masks leak, they should crank the straps down tighter.  Wrong.  

Go to a dive shop, and ask about a black skirt mask.  See if that fits better.

 

 

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6 hours ago, ABQrobin said:

I have the same issue and I found the black-skirted masks fit better as the latex is softer than the clear stuff.  

Also, make sure you are not tightening it TOO much as that will break the seal.  That is the problem I see with most people - they think if the masks leak, they should crank the straps down tighter.  Wrong.  

Go to a dive shop, and ask about a black skirt mask.  See if that fits better.

 

 

Thank you for the advice.  I will check into that.  

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I work in a surf shop and my dad used to scuba so all my family has learned how to assess the fit of masks. These days we only sell fairly basic sets but we make sure they all come in packages that can be opened so people can try them on and we can assess the fit. Very regularly women end up with the kids sizes. We used to do a range of high end gear and one particular mask was a small fit intended for kids which is the one I wound up with. I always drove opticians mad trying to find glasses that were small enough for my face but not child sized so I know your pain. Any decent store should be able to let you test the fit of a mask and provide advice. My best guess is you’re likely to need a kids size, in Ireland that tends to be a bonus as their stuff is tax-free. 

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On 4/3/2019 at 11:24 AM, eileeshb said:

I work in a surf shop and my dad used to scuba so all my family has learned how to assess the fit of masks. These days we only sell fairly basic sets but we make sure they all come in packages . . . . 

Thanks for the help.  I think I will probably also end up with a kids size. 

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I had problems with my mask leaking and it was because I had it too tight.

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Oceanic makes a mask for small faces, which is what I use for diving and I love it.  It's the Oceanic Mini Shadow, which is a smaller version of their standard-sized Shadow.  

 

My husband uses the Shadow and use the Mini Shadow, and it's comical when our masks get mixed up. 😀

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Masks are about as personal as you can get, the best method is to try them on at a shop. Even two masks of the exact same type may fit slightly different. It should stick comfortably to your face with a slight intake of breath above water.

Below water tightening the straps can actually cause creases in your face and make the mask leak more.

For females, don't wear make up that will be where the mask seal sits, or bring make up remover and use it before wearing.

If you simply can;t find a good mask, or if it isn't worth the trouble for a short time, you can apply something like petroleum jelly or food grade water resistant lubricant to the mask seal to help it seal better. Very useful trick for males with facial hair.

I'm a big fan of freedive masks, even for scuba. But that is a personal opinion and not everyone likes them.

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On 2/11/2019 at 5:21 PM, Willwork4cruises said:

I’ve tried a few different mask over the years including the full face mask. They always leak.  Some leak instantly, others after 10 minutes or so of snorkeling.  Any suggestions on what to buy. I’m an adult female with a small, somewhat narrow face.  Most of the ones I’ve tried cost about $30, but I’m willing to spend more to get one that doesn’t leak.  

 

Thank you

Amanda 

Hi Amanda, I also have fit problems with masks. One of the things that really helped me is having a built -in purge valve. If a little water does get in, you can easily blow it out. I also prefer a single window because it doesn't press on the bridge of my nose. The bulky two lens mask feels heavy, and I can't see well because my narrow face means my eyes are closer together. Some manufacturers make adjustable swiveling buckles (where the mask meets the strap). The fit isn't just the skirt. The entire mask has to have the right comfort features too. 

This article may be helpful - www.divein.com/snorkel-mask. Read all the way to the bottom of the article, the end explains features well.

Last thing, it's very important not to be pushed in to buying a mask that is not comfortable or what you want. the last time I went to a dive shop I told them I needed a purge valve. They didn't have masks with purge valves and told me I didn't need one, and to buy one of their masks anyway. I told them thanks for their time and left.

See you out in the water😊!

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