Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Best Dive Kit? Has to be the Dive Instructor's!

I am sure this will be a post that most dive guides and instructors from around the world can easily relate to.

You have students starting a new course or taking part in a try dive at your local dive site and you do your very best to fit them out with the best fitting equipment possible. To get the students comfortable is worth the extra effort at the Dive centre because a comfortable diver will have a better time in the water and be more at ease, making it much easier for the dive guide/ instructor.

So, you get the boots and fins...they are easy to sort out and pretty generic.

Breathing apparatus is fine. So long as the BCD has a good fit, they are, again pretty standard, as are the regulators.

Wetsuits are a little more tricky and we like to tell everyone that getting into a properly fitting wetsuit is the hardest part of Scuba Diving. It should be relatively tight and fitted so there are no gaping areas that will allow water to swill and cool you but it shouldn't be so tight that you cannot breathe or it is restricting blood flow!

The final piece of the puzzle is the Dive Mask!

Now, as we have mentioned before, the Diving Mask is a very personal piece of equipment. Since everybody has a slightly different shape to their faces, the way the skirts mould to the individual will be slightly different from one diver to the other.

The best way to test whether a mask fits your face is to place it against your face, with the strap and all hair out of the hair. Next, inhale through your nose and the mask should stick to your face without having to push or twist it on... until, of course, you exhale through your nose.

Then put the strap behind your head and tighten as needed. You should not feel any pressure on any part of your face from the frame (particular hot spot is the bridge of the nose).

As hard as we try to make sure the mask you will use with us has a god fit for your face, even taking a couple different spare masks along (just in case), there will always be at least one diver in the pack that will not get on with any of them and the only one left to try is the one on your face.

Surprise, Surprise... it's a perfect fit and the rest of the dive goes really well.

Do you want to try my Mask?

So, Why is the Instructor's mask always the best fitting one?

I am not sure really but it is a strange phenomenon. I know it isn't just because we all have amazing multi-face moulding masks and can only assume that it is something to do with confidence. If that Dive professional uses it, it must be good, so it will be ok for me!

I use a Poseidon 3dee mask and it is now at a point where I have 3 others in the shop for students.

However, on a recent Open Water Course I taught, I had to give the student my mask for the first dive and proceeded to give them the identical school one on the second dive.

Did it fit? Not a chance! Well, it wasn't the Instructor's.

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