There’s been a lot of talk around full-face snorkel masks recently—and there have also been some questions.

While the full-face mask works pretty well for snorkeling at the surface of the ocean for short periods of time, the dry-mouth snorkel is a far superior option for snorkeling in general.

Dry Mouth Snorkel vs. Full face comparison

The Future of Snorkeling or Science Fiction?

Since the moment the 1st person first placed a reed of grass between their lips we’ve been dreaming of breathing underwater as we do on land—through both our nose and mouth.

Cartoon image of reed of grass

Like dining at a space station or boarding a rocket ship to Mars, this technology has felt potentially achievable, but slightly out of reach.

The invention

Fast forward to 2014:  The invention of the Full-Face Snorkel Mask.

Around this time alien-shaped snorkel masks began popping-up (literally) on Hawaii’s beaches and  snorkeling destinations across the world.

Boasting separate tubes for inhaling and exhaling, these newfangled masks made our futuristic fantasies feel more real than ever.

Full face mask graphic

Three Reasons The Full-Face Mask Falls Short

When you first use the full-face snorkel mask it’s actually pretty impressive. The natural breathing process and 180 degree view are an exciting novelty.

But after about 20 minutes of breathing inside the mask, the temperature rises to an uncomfortable level and its use becomes limited.

Here are the 3 basic reasons the full-face snorkel mask falls a bit short:

  1. It Gets Hot In There: With all the inhaling and exhaling, the full-face mask begins to feel hot. The absence of cool ocean water on your face creates an uncomfortable atmosphere that could be disorienting.
  2. You Can’t Pop Your Ears: After snorkeling for a while you’re going to want to follow a turtle underwater. The full-face mask makes it nearly impossible to access your nose to equalize the pressure in your ears.
  3. Controversy About Safety: Under perfect conditions the full-face mask is limiting for snorkelers. Add knock-off brands, incorrect sizing and unclear science to the mix and safety concerns become a reality.

Full Face Mask Snorkeler and Turtle

Equalizing Your Ears

When you swim underwater your ears will naturally adjust to the pressure of ocean.

With the dry-mouth snorkel it’s easy to clear this pressure. Simply return to the surface, pull up your mask, hold your nose and blow out—you’re back to snorkeling within seconds. 

Person snorkeling with turtle

The full-face mask makes equalizing your ears much more difficult. It’s nearly impossible to access your nose without returning to shore. The straps on the full-face mask are more robust than those of a traditional snorkels.

Since it’s not easy to remove your mask while swimming, the use of the full-face mask becomes limited to snorkeling near the surface of the ocean.

Custom Fitting Snorkel Mask in Shop

Hot Face

The designers of the full-face mask created separate tubes for inhaling and exhaling. But with all the breathing in-and-out that happens during snorkeling, the full-face mask heats up to uncomfortable levels.

Person Snorkeling with Dry Mouth Snorkel

Further, the full-face snorkel doesn’t allow the ocean’s cool water to reach your face. This natural cooling is a huge benefit of the smaller dry-mouth snorkel mask.

The full-face mask has the potential to become stuffy—and even disorienting— after about 20 minutes of use.

Deluxe Snorkel Set Maui Hawaii on Beach

Recent Controversy In Hawaii

During the first quarter of 2018 two men drowned in Maui within a week of one another while wearing the full-face snorkel mask.

While there’s no current data available to compare the safety of full-face mask with traditional snorkels (until recently, EMT’s did not record of the type of masks worn in drownings in Hawaii), these back-to-back deaths raised new questions about the safety of full-face snorkels.

–>> Video from program: CBS This Morning

New Questions

Since science is limited on the subject, we can only offer a summary of the concerns detractors have voiced. Here are some of the new questions skeptics have raised:

  • Is there an excess of CO2 in the masks?
  • Could the “ball” inside the snorkel horn get stuck and prevent breathing?
  • Does the mask become excessively tight while snorkeling underwater?

Manufacturers of the full-face snorkel masks insist their products have been tested for safety, but there’s currently no governmental agency that regulates the safety of snorkels.

Family Visiting Maui on Beach

If It Ain’t Broke: The Dry-Mouth Snorkel

Whether or not full-face snorkel mask is ultimately proved safe for consumer use, it’s easy to recommend the dry-mouth snorkel for comfort, longevity in the water, and for safety.

With 2 valves that keep water away from your mouth automatically, the dry-mouth snorkel makes snorkeling in Maui a cinch.

Dry Mouth Snorkel Graphic

We find most folks get the hang the dry-mouth snorkel in no time. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Get custom-fit: Our award-winning Customer Care Team will custom-fit your soft dual silicone mask, snorkel and Malaysian rubber fins from the largest selection in Maui. Comfort makes all the difference in the water.
  2. Get a free beach map: You’ll get a free, customized beach map base on the weather during your stay. We’ll even circle the best snorkel spots.
  3. Follow the daily Maui Snorkel Report: Maui’s weather changes from day to day. Know where to go every morning during your trip.

The dry-mouth snorkel is the most comfortable, versatile snorkel on the market. Select snorkels sets that are tried and true, and know exactly where to go each day of your Maui trip.

Turtle Ready Maps

Do Maui Right

Snorkeling with turtles and tropical fish is one of the best ways to create memories on your Maui vacation.

The full-face snorkel mask could be a fun novelty for snorkeling at the ocean’s surface for a short period of time.

But if you’re looking to discover an underwater universe of sea life on Maui’s world-famous beaches during your holiday, the dry-mouth snorkel is an easy decision.

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