Keeping Skills Current

Ian McKinnon

When I learnt to dive more than thirty years ago my Instructor gave me the following advice. “On every dive you go on partially fill your mask and clear it”. His reason was that if I did this I would get used to not only salt water on my face but I would get used to clearing my mask on a regular basis.

Since that time my mask has been bumped from my face accidentally on plenty of occasions. This can occur on the descent line caused by a clumsy diver from above or accidentally swimming into the fins of the diver in front.

Whenever I teach a diving course I pass on the same advice. It must be a terrible feeling for a diver who has not kept up with mastery of their mask clearing skills to find themselves suddenly underwater with their mask full of cold water. It takes just a few seconds to perform the skill underwater. The safety stop is a great time to practice the skill.