Like others, when something looks different, you want to try it. I would say that is how I started with the Full Face Mask. It was during the November 2012 IDC that I was introduced to the OTS FFM.
I gave it a try and was hooked. So much so that I decided I wanted to teach the specialty and had the great privilege of doing my FFM Specialty Instructor with the man who wrote the program, Patrick Hammer.
Setup was quick and easy, integrated well into my existing first stage, and the diving began. The tour was great. Those who know me, know I am always clearing my mask throughout the dive, not because it is a bad fit, but because I refuse to shave the stash. No leaks, no clearing, it was great.
Now it was time for skills. My comfort in the water was a great asset, and removing the full face and going to my backup octo and mask was not a problem. My training in Self Reliant Diver and my TecRec training had already covered this.
The out of air scenario was a little more complex, but still the same as an Open Water diver; go to your buddy’s octo, but now you add putting on your backup mask before ascending. Still a simple skill, remember it is not a race and remember you have air.
After a few other skills and another dive, I was dialed in and ready for the instructor phase. We’ll save that for another time.
Full Face Mask Features and Benefits
As I said let’s start with the big one “No Leaks.” The OTS FFM is a positive pressure mask, which means that there is always positive breathing gas inside the mask keeping water out.
Another great feature is the regulator being clipped into the mask, which means you are not biting down on a mouthpiece and the jaw fatigue some divers experience is gone.
A greater field of vision, the ease of breathing, and the ability to breathe through the nose are other key points for divers. And for us cold water divers, FFM provides excellent coverage over the face, giving protection against cold water.