Are Full Face Snorkel Masks Safe?

Many snorkelers prefer to use the full face mask rather than just goggles, but after several deaths attributed to full face snorkel masks you are probably wondering are full face snorkel masks safe or should you go back to using just goggles.  Let’s take a closer look a full face masks and see whether you should use one on your next snorkeling trip.

The Full Face Snorkel Mask History

These type of snorkeling masks first made it to the market in 2014 and were really different from the traditional mask.  They were designed to eliminate fog or a need for a separate mouthpiece.  For the first time snorkelers could breathe either through their nose or mouth, making breathing more natural and the mask easier to use.  Because they were so easy to use they became popular really quickly.

Be Careful of the Quality

There was a lot of time and research that went into the development of the full face mask, but just like any other quality product on the market there are cheap knockoffs and that is where the problems with safety happen.  Poor quality knockoffs are being sold online at very low prices and they simply do not work and they are dangerous.  Floats are getting stuck in the tube which cuts of air to the diver, pieces don’t fit properly letting in water and the silicon is poor quality and masks aren’t giving a good seal.

A Poorly Fitting Mask is Dangerous

If your mask doesn’t fit properly or the seal isn’t just right then the lower section that covers your mouth and nose isn’t functioning as it should you have a problem.  You can end up exhaling CO2 and moisture back into your mask instead of it flowing out through the snorkel.  Too much CO2 is dangerous and you can even pass out from it.  Passing out underwater is the last thing that you want to happen.  Here is a look at how they are supposed to work.

Where to Use the Full Face Snorkel Mask

These types of masks do have limitations that you need to be aware of, for instance they are not meant to be used for free diving nor are they recommended for use below 10 feet.  They are not built for you to swim laps, you won’t be able to get in enough air.  These masks are made for snorkeling very near the surface of the water.

Can you use the full face snorkel mask safely?  Absolutely but they must be used the way that the manufacturer intended.  Don’t trade of price for quality, this won’t prove to be much of a bargain and do your research before you buy.

Where to go Snorkeling in Florida

One of the great things about living or visiting Florida is the thousands of miles coastline that you have to explore.  If snorkeling is one of your favorite hobbies then the beaches of Florida is a great place to find yourself.  You can either do some shore dives or you can head out on a boat to some of the reefs surrounding the coast.  Let me show you some of my favorite places where to go snorkeling in Florida.

Indian Key Historic State Park

The Florida Keys have some of the best snorkeling in the state and Indian Key is among the favorites, you can reach the island easily by kayak and you can rent one nearby.  The island itself is an ancient coral reef and that is evident all along the shoreline.  Within the sharp craggy rocks that outline the island you can find plenty of marine life.  Here is some of the sealife you can expect to see here.

Sombrero Beach

This is a popular beach that the locals prefer and you don’t have to pay to use the beach either.  Picture white sandy beaches with palm trees and all the amenities you expect at a Florida beach.  Find the rocks along the shore and that is where you want to snorkel.  These rocks were once part of a coral reef and they still attract loads of fish and other sea life.

Phil Foster Park Snorkel Trail

How could you not snorkel here?  For years people have been exploring in and around the Blue Heron Bridge with just some fins and a mask.  The water is incredibly clear and this site is walking distance from the Lake Worth Inlet.  This place was built by the city just for us snorkelers, a snorkeling trail if you will.  The trail is 800 feet long and the water sits between 6-10 feet deep and you are right off the beach.  There is also a lifeguard stand nearby in case one of the divers runs into trouble.

John D MacArthur State Park

This place is great to explore whether you decide to go snorkeling or not.  If you want to head to the beach you can either take a tram or walk over the boardwalk that goes over a beautiful saltwater lagoon, it is like a scene you would find on a postcard.  Once you hit the beach get your snorkeling gear ready and find the large rocks you can see at low tide.  Around the rocks you can find lots of sea life including turtles and sting rays.  If you want a guided tour then every Saturday in the summer a park ranger will show you around.