Are Full Face Snorkel Masks Safe?

Are Full face snorkel masks dangerous?

Questions and concerns have been raised over the safety of full face snorkel masks after the drowning deaths of snorkelers in Hawaii.

Full Face Snorkel Masks have become extremely popular over recent years, especially for those swimmers who struggle with a traditional snorkel setup.

In this article we are going to delve into these fears and concerns and answer any questions you may have in relation to the potential dangers of full face snorkel masks.

Are full face snorkel masks safe

Full face snorkel mask vS traditional snorkel mask

A full face snorkel mask differs from a traditional snorkel set in that just one piece covers the entire face, and allows for the user to breathe through the nose OR mouth.

A traditional snorkel comes as two separate parts (a mask and snorkel), and allows for breathing through the mouth only.

full face snorkel mask

There are some people who struggle with traditional snorkels and full face masks tend to be an excellent choice for these people.

Naturally the different styles of breathing equipment each have their pros and cons, and one particular design will be more suited to a person and their needs more than the other.

When deciding if a full face snorkel mask is for you or not it’s important to take the following into consideration in order to have the best experience:

full face snorkel masks

traditional snorkel & mask

potential dangers of full face snorkel masks

The ocean can be a hazardous place and care must always be taken regardless of the type of equipment you are using. 

The were a spate of deaths in close succession in early 2018 and much was made in the news about the type of equipment they were using (full face masks), and whether or not it could be the cause. However of the drowning deaths which occurred in Hawaii we know the following:

  • 10 of the 11 drowning victims were men over the age of 50.
  • two were scuba diving
  • three were using two-piece snorkel gear
  • two were swimming
  • two were using full face snorkel masks
  • one was fishing from a jetty but found floating in the water

If you have purchased or are thinking of purchasing a full face snorkel mask then it is important to know what the limitations are of this snorkel equipment, and also the potential dangers.

There are a couple of concerns raised regarding this type of mask….

CO2 Buildup

Questions have been raised over the potential build up of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in full face snorkel masks.

It is this build up of CO2 in the mask that can lead to some pretty nasty effects:

  • Tiredness & Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Unconsciousness 

We must stress how important it is to go with a reputable brand. These companies do vigorous testing on their products to ensure their safety which the copy cat/knock off companies do not.

improper seal around the face

An improper seal around the face will lead to water leaking into the mask.

With a traditional snorkel this means that you could possibly end up with salty water in your eyes – In this case you would simply pop up to the surface of the water – Spit out the snorkel and then readjust the mask.

However if water leaks into a full face mask this couldlead to both eye irritation AND breathing difficulty.

A small amount of water in your full face snorkel mask will not be a problem. In fact, the full face snorkel masks we recommend have a valve at the bottom of the mask that allows for the drainage of any water that enters the mask (without having to remove it).

But if a lot of water does enter your mask for any reason and you are unable to see or breathe – The mask will need to be removed entirely and this could lead someone to panic.

the intended use of full face snorkel masks

What some swimmers may not realise is that full face snorkel masks are only intended to be used under certain conditions, and do not have the same versatility as a traditional snorkel and mask.

As explained above – Each option provides different benefits and disadvantages. So it is up to you to decide whether a FFSM is the correct option. This guide should hopefully help.

Pros & cons of full face snorkel masks

Pros & cons of traditional snorkels

full face snorkel masks you should AVOID

Due to their massive popularity there has been a large influx of different products coming into the market.

Some of these masks are very good and are produced by reputable companies – And some really do need to be avoided.

So how do you know which to buy and which to avoid? Well, we have written a guide to the Top 5 Best Full Face Snorkel Masks which we definitely recommend reading before purchasing.

You can’t go wrong with any of these masks and each one would make an excellent choice.

The masks which need to be avoided are cheaply made knock offs and unfortunately Amazon is completely rife with them.

They create their products with inferior quality components which can result in numerous issues such as – Mask fogging, an uncomfortable fit, a poor fitting seal to the face, and worst of all, they can be susceptive to CO2 build-up

These companies do not engage in rigorous testing of their products like the reputable brands that we recommend, and whilst it is understandable that consumers like to try and save money where they can – This kind of product is not where you need to skimp.

The best full face snorkel masks

So you’ve done the research and decided that a full face snorkel mask is what’s best for you, but you’re not sure which one to choose.

Well we’re here to help you pick the best one – Everything you need to know about purchasing a full face snorkel mask and our review of the top five best full face snorkel masks on the market…

The Top 5 best full face snorkel masks

Our break down of the top five best full face snorkel masks on the market, and a comprehensive buyers guide. Check it out!

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