FULL FACE MASK (FFM) DIVING

To Mask or Full-face Mask – Decisions, Decisions…

All divers start with a regular scuba mask. Whether single lenses, dual lenses, low profile, or larger profile. Then, they may have tinted, prescription lenses, and so on. Most important is the fit and good quality silicone. Some problems we encounter with a regular mask are leaking (i.e., Mustache, cheek crease) and fogging. Let’s not forget the water up the nose sensation, especially when inverted. Even with these issues, there is always a good, good-fitting mask that will minimize or eliminate the leaking problem. As for fogging up, this can be decreased with de-fog and eventually goes away as the mask removes the film on the lenses from the manufacturing process.

Now, let’s talk about Full-Face Masks (FFM). Three major FFM manufacturers are Ocean Technology Systems (OTS), Interspiro Divator AGA, and Ocean Reef. All have their pros and cons. The most popular FFM recreational divers are OTS Guardian, OTS Spectrum, and Ocean Reef. The OTS Guardian and AGA FFM are used by Public Safety Divers (PSD), with some teams using the Ocean Reef. Some benefits of an FFM are warmth, less jaw fatigue (no mouthpiece), the ability to breathe through your nose, no fogging as air passes over the lens before inhaling, and the ability to communicate via wireless transmitter/receiver and easy prescription lens installation. One drawback of all the FFM is the need for a regular scuba mask available when you must go to your buddy’s alternate due to your regulator failing.

AGA was the predominant FFM mask for decades and has a dedicated following. Its most significant drawbacks are its price and maintenance costs. The AGA also runs the air hose over the left shoulder, opposite the regular scuba diving primary regulator hose routing. OTS provides wireless communications in the AGA mask. AGAs can also be purchased with an Ambient Breathing Vale (ABV) so that the diver can breathe fresh air on the surface and preserve their tank supply.

Ocean Reef FFM is predominantly made for the recreational market but offers PSD options, such as wireless communications and ABV.

Lastly, Ocean Technology Systems (OTS) Guardian and Spectrum masks. The Guardian FFM is the OTS flagship mask. However, the Spectrum is gaining ground with recreational divers. The Guardian comes standard with an ABV, a removable second stage for transport, and hose routing on the right side, so there are no changes to your configuration. The Guardian is also less expensive to purchase and service than the AGA. The Guardian also uses a double lip seal to better seal for a wider variety of faces. The hose routing also allows divers to maintain their current configuration and retain their training muscle memory instead of thinking of the left-side interference, i.e., the BCD inflator. Lastly, the Guardian is available in various colors to support your color coordination needs. Finally, the OTS Spectrum mask has gained popularity with recreational divers as it accepts most current primary second stages. This allows for cost savings as you can use your primary second-stage regulator (check the Spectrum specification to make sure) and switch back in and forth with minimal hassle. The Spectrum also allows for nose and mouth breathing as no mouthpiece exists. The Spectrum can also be fitted with communications and an Ambient Breathing Valve.

If you need more information or want to chat, email or call us. We are an authorized dealer and service center for OTS and AGA full-face masks.

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