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Splash Water Sports
2905 Banksville Rd
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15216
Phone: (412) 531-5577
Fax: (412) 531-1960

January through April
Closed Mondays and Sundays
Tuesday - Friday: 11am to 7pm
Saturday: 10am to 5pm

May through December
Closed Sundays
Monday - Friday: 11am to 7pm
Saturday: 10am to 5pm

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Project AWARE

What to look for in your first Dive Mask.

We here at Splash Water Sports get a number of customers coming in looking to buy their first mask. Your mask is one of the most important, and personal, pieces of your scuba kit. It’s usually one of the first things you’ll buy.

There are so many mask options from sizes to material to brands like Oceanic and Aqualung to just name a few

, it can be overwhelming at first. So here some things to consider when buying your first mask…

1. This is the most important one, the big “C”, no not color – COMFORT. You want a mask that fits your face and your nose. Without putting the strap on, place the mask on your face and inhale through your nose, when you let go it should stay on your face.


A good Diving Mask makes all the difference.

There are different kinds of skirts – transparent, colored, silicone, plastic. This comes down to personal preference. Transparent is better for beginners as it lets more light in, Opaque dark will reduce glare, but some will consider it more claustrophobic. Silicone is more durable, flexible and if taken care of should last for years. Plastic is less expensive, but also less flexible and won’t last nearly as long.

In most case the strap can be changed out, but a neoprene strap/strap cover will be more comfortable than a plastic strap – especially if you have longer hair that can get tangled easily.

2. Lenses. Single Lens, Split Window, Frameless. There are many options and for the recreational diver it becomes more about personal taste. Different frame types can make a difference in airspace volume (see #3), field of vision and peripheral vision. Frame types also work better for different nose types, a Split Window mask will might have more room for your nose than a single lens mask. Sometimes it takes trying a few different masks before you find the one you can’t live without.

There are also corrective lenses for masks if you normally wear glasses.

3. I mentioned High Volume and Low Volume, what’s the difference? A High Volume mask will be more buoyant because it is further away from your face. A low volume mask is exactly that, it has less airspace between the mask and the face – so it’s much easier to purge any water out of it.

4. Speaking of purge – some masks come with a built in purge valve in the nose. This comes back around to personal taste, but there really is no solid benefit to having a purge valve in the mask.

When it comes to choosing your mask, the best suggestion would be to stop by Splash and take time, ask questions and try the different masks on – nothing make a dive more enjoyable than having equipment that you are comfortable.

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