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Top Six Reasons why one would want to dive with a Full Face Mask

Discussion in 'Regulators' started by scubatoys, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. danvolker

    danvolker Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    What would you think of the idea of using a Full Face Mask like the OTS ( Shop | Ocean Technology Systems )
    for Non-Divers being taken on a Tooka or snuba type device ( surface supplied air) Instructor to student ratio of no more the 2 students to one instructor...and with this OTS mask system, the instructor could talk to the non-diver students the entire time....Max depth to be 20 feet, in very easy conditions...

    Example tooka for non-divers without FFM at https://youtu.be/75VberZ2NkU

    I have some friends that own a very high end resort, on an island, with many non-divers that would like a Scuba experience.
    I have always disliked DSD scuba experience dives because the non-diving students will typically have no sense of how to control their buoyancy, as this is problematic even for many OW1 divers. With the tooka concept, all the student needs to do is breathe, and the instructor could use a FFM system to tell them to relax, to equalize, to swim flat...to grab the raft on the surface so they can chat...etc....
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
  2. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    Comms won't help at all in cave diving. Get even the smallest lead around a corner, and comms are shot. You can be 5' away from your buddy, but be around the corner, like in Roller Coaster in Ginnie and you'll get nothing for communication.
  3. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    I'm not the right person to ask since I have zero experience introducing non-technical people to diving. I would be concerned that a FFM's weight and bulk would make many people feel claustrophobic or trapped. It has been my impression that freeflow systems into open-bottom helmets are generally better received by non-divers, but can't remember where I read that.
  4. Rooster59

    Rooster59 Solo Diver

    What about hanging out at the surface? I kind of enjoy bobbing around with a mask and snorkel on. How can you put a full face mask on top of your head to give the "I'm really, really stressed, so I'm putting my mask on my forehead" signal? Seriously, this FFM thing would be really claustrophobic for someone like me. I get a good bit of comfort being able to get to my backup reg immediately as it's around my neck, no hands needed. How does a backup work with a FFM?
  5. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    I can understand the advantages for Rebreather but not too sure for OC tec diver. How do they switch gas without removing the FFM?
  6. danvolker

    danvolker Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    Divers that plan on or expect to be stressed on the surface, should consider this piece of gear to be with them on each dive, and easily deployed :

  7. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    I think it is fair to say that the vast majority of FFM users dive off a boat rather than from shore. Surface swims are not very FFM-friendly. That is why I mentioned gas planning since you're breathing down your gas often before you get your fins on and until you are back on deck.

    FFMs are like any other piece of gear. They have advantages and disadvantages. Very cold water and/or communications are typically the main motivating factors but some medical conditions can also be accommodated by FFMs.

    I have avoided describing the technique I was taught until now because I didn't want to put out information that conflicts with FFM classes. This post explores options for barfing underwater written from my viewpoint:

    Diving and Seamanship, Post #80

    I was taught to position yourself face-down about 45°, preferably on the bottom. Yeah yeah, that's a no-no but it is preferable to drowning or embolizing yourself -- you can't expect to maintain normal neutral buoyancy during projectile vomiting.

    Commercial FFMs have freeflow valves but the nearest equivalent on a recreational FFM is pressing the purge button. In any case, get gas freeflowing into the mask before you hurl and push the mask up so you discharge into the water. Quickly pull the mask down and de-water it while concentrating on suppressing your instinct to inhale until it is safely back on your face. Repeat as necessary.

    Just like with a regulator with a mouthpiece, the risk is aspirating undigested chunks large enough to block your airway -- and regulator in this case (no freeflow valve). We didn't have an octopus to resort to so we had to depend on the mask. That might change the strategy you ultimately adopt. I have never had to test the procedure but know divers that have -- usually too much celebrating onshore. Mother Nature can be unkind to anyone at inopportune times so be prepared. Sea sickness isn't the only consideration.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
  8. kwinter

    kwinter Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Jersey
    I have not found that kind of "line of sight" limitation. I've been deep in a wreck with buddies outside at the opposite end and heard fine. I haven't had any trials of it in caves since my FFM buddies aren't trained, but we've used them on cavern dives without issue.

    Ball valve or gas switching valve. I used a ball valve and manifold block with QDs so I could switch as many gasses as I want. My buddy used the Kirby Morgan bailout valve, but with that he was limited to 2 gasses.

    iPhone. iTypo. iApologize.
  9. Luis H

    Luis H Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Maine
    Which FFM have you use with rebreathers?
    I am looking for FFM that are rebreather and/or double hose regulator friendly (compatible). I have used some vintage FFM that will accept a typical second stage and therefore will also accept some DSV or DH mouthpiece “T's”, but I am looking for other options. Many modern FFM have built in second stages and don't play well with others.


    Could you provide me a link of your preferred choices for the ball valve, manifold block and QDs?
    I have used some, but I was wondering what are your preference. If you want, you can PM me so that we don’t derail this thread.

    Thanks again.

    This is good discussion. I will agree with most of the pros and cons that have been mentioned. I don’t have much to add.

    I started diving a Kirby-Morgan band mask in the early 70’s (I can’t remember their model numbers, maybe KMB-8?) and I have dove many other types of FFM since (modern and vintage type) and they are wonderful tools, but like with most tools there is definitely pros and cons.

    The biggest con that first comes to mind is the peripheral vision as compared to my modern frameless mask, but some modern FFM are not too bad.

    The biggest pro for me would be the ability to have good communication. I have used both wired and wireless comms and it has always been a great tool. Again, it is another tool, with its great advantages and some limitations.
  10. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    Take a look at these:
    Draeger (Dräger) Panorama Nova R full face mask
    Golem Gear, Inc. - Draeger Panorama Nova R full face mask

    Kirby-Morgan M-48 MOD-1
    M-48 MOD-1 | Kirby Morgan

    For me, the biggest constraint is down-vision because most of the FFMs have a fair amount of bulk below the faceplate.

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