It is very important to be able to successfully flood and clear your mask while scuba diving.  Wait, did I just say ‘FLOOD’?  Yes, filling your mask with water is an essential skill, and you’ll want to become a pro at it. 

There’s a very important reason why, too.  If you are at a depth of 75 feet when you suddenly discover that your defog has decided to stop working, you aren’t going to simply be able to squirt a little more of that magic liquid into your mask to get rid of your fogged-up view of the underwater world.  Instead, you are going to have to rely on your mask-flooding skills.  You’ll need to flood some water into your mask, swish it around to wash away the fog, and then blow the water back out of your mask.

Voilá!  A clean mask awaits, and you’ve got a perfectly clear view again.  It sounds easy enough, but this particular skill is one that is enough to send many new scuba divers toward the nearest paper bag to practice their hyperventilation skills instead.

Never fear, however.  Here are some quick tips to help even the biggest landlubbers of all get ready to take the plunge—and even better, get ready to take off the mask.

Start slowly.  Before you remove your mask completely, get used to the feeling of a flooded mask.  Gently break the seal of your mask near the lower portion by working a finger under the seal.  (Somewhere near your cheek usually works well.)  Allow water to slowly fill the mask.

Remember to KEEP BREATHING.  As you’ve learned this is the first and most important rule of scuba diving!

Once you’ve allowed some water to seep into your mask (it doesn’t even have to be full), tilt your head back, place your palm on the top of your mask to hold it in place, and blow out through your nose.  The water should empty from your mask with one exhalation.

If you still have water in your mask after doing this, you are probably either not tilting your head back enough OR you are breathing out through your mouth instead of your nose.  Try it again.  Practice this until it feels as easy as putting on a pair of socks.

Once you’ve mastered flooding and clearing your mask, you’re ready to move on to full mask removal and replacement.

Oceanic Mako Dive Mask, with Hard Mask Box, Yellow
Amazon Price: $79.99 $39.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 14, 2013)