There’s been a lot of talk and excitement 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.
Since the moment a person first placed a reed of grass between their lips we’ve been dreaming of the possibility of breathing underwater the same as we do on land—through both our nose and mouth.
Like dining in a space station on the moon, or boarding a rocket ship to Mars, this technology has always felt potentially achievable, but also slightly out of reach.
Fast forward to 2014: The invention of the Full-Face Snorkel Mask (queue the bubble sounds!).
About this time alien-shaped snorkel masks began popping-up (literally) across Hawaii’s beaches and other snorkeling destinations across the world.
Boasting separate tubes for inhaling and exhaling, these newfangled masks made our futuristic fantasies feel realer than ever.
When you first use the full-face snorkel mask it’s actually pretty impressive. The natural breathing process and 180 degree views is an exciting novelty for some folks—and it might even be worth the price of admission (we sell the Aria mask for $129).
But after about 20 minutes the full-face mask heats-up to an uncomfortable level, and its use quickly becomes limited.
Here are the 3 basic reasons the full-face snorkel mask falls a bit short:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
We find most folks get the hang the dry-mouth snorkel in no time. Here’s how it’s done:
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.
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.