Brain Coral

Why do we do that? – Mask Removal & Replacement

Why in the world do we take our masks off?
Why in the world do we take our masks off?

What would possess a SCUBA diver to take a perfectly good mask off underwater?

Why do we ask students to do it?

It all started a long time ago in an ocean far, far away (at least from Colorado)…


It was my first dive trip and I had the good fortune to be on a live-aboard in Cairns, Australia. Like every certified SCUBA diver, I had to remove and replace my mask both in the pool, and later, in open water but hadn’t really thought about it since.

It was my first dive from a small boat which had ferried us from the live-aboard to the dive site. I was buddied up with a photographer from Wisconsin named Dave, geared out and ready to go (yes – dive knife attached)!

This was great! There I was in the middle of the ocean getting ready to back-roll off a Zodiac (or Zodiac-like boat) just like Jacque Cousteau!

Splash… Whump!

Yeah… that ‘whump’ was my head hitting the bottom of the boat after getting disoriented by the back roll. What a way to start the dive. Properly humbled I let the boat crew and my dive buddy know I was ok and we made our descent.

The dive went just fine for a while. I was at 60 feet when I heard the snap of my mask strap breaking and felt it leave my face.


In 2005, a more experienced SKuba Steve was diving in Bonaire with another photographer (Doug who’s responsible for many of the photos on this site!).

Over a sandy prairie of garden eels at about 93′ my velcro slap strap finally expired and again my mask drifted off my head.

In both cases I was able to recover my mask and safely ascend (Australia) or continue the dive (Bonaire). Why? Simple… I knew what to do!

In Australia I was new and the experience was uncomfortable. By the time I lost my mask in Bonaire I didn’t even really care.

The ability to remove and replace your mask underwater is an important skill that I have appreciated having as a diver.

I hope every dive experience you have is trouble free and full of wonder… but just in case a situation comes up where you need them be grateful you were taught the skills to correct situations underwater safely and confidently.

The surface interval’s over… get out there and dive!

SKuba Steve

© 2014 Stephen Krausse. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply