Full Face Masks

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MikadoWu

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Hello All,

My dive buddy wants to start diving his full face all the time, including technical dives. For me, I have never seen anyone on the boats diving a full face mask. I am sure it is done, just have not seen it. I am new to Tech Diving, and have only dived in Ft Lauderdale, Key Largo, and Bufford.

Is there a reason I have not see it or are they not used often?
 

grantctobin

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It’s extraordinarily rarely done and only when absolutely necessary (like wouldn’t be asking this question if it was in your use case). Things complicated by FFM:
Gas switches
S-drills
Backup mask deployment
Gas donation

Using gas switch blocks underwater is extraordinarily farm animal stupid. See other threads debating this in the search section of SB.
 

Capt. T. Goetz

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I am doing tech training and have a ffm, would use it on dives not requiring gas switching or anything over 130fsw...after doing SDI FFM and some practice I can get the FFM off in under 3 sec, and you dont need eyes for valve shutoffs or switching regs anyway...I would put the FFM on the short-hose and secondary on a necklace that would allow you to pull it away...like an octo holder<TG>
 

Bigbella

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It’s extraordinarily rarely done and only when absolutely necessary (like wouldn’t be asking this question if it was in your use case). Things complicated by FFM:
Gas switches
S-drills
Backup mask deployment
Gas donation

Using gas switch blocks underwater is extraordinarily farm animal stupid. See other threads debating this in the search section of SB.

I couldn't disagree more, on a number of points -- and have seen far more full face masks in the last few years, aimed at the average consumer, than in the over thirty-plus years that I have used them for industry; though they're not for everyone. Some, for example, find the "spider strap" of the FFM to be claustrophobic, encapsulating as it does the head; so too the tunnel-vision endemic to many models; and then there is the occasional difficulty some face equalizing.

-- Every activity has its learning curve, and FFM use is nothing different -- from learning to equalize with a Valsalva "nasal block," within the mask, to the decision whether or not to use an "over-pressurized" model (which lightly free-flows and makes water intrusion next to impossible) to those which deliver air, only on demand. So too, the use of ballasts, since some masks are more buoyant than others -- especially in the shallows.

-- Gas donation is simply through a standard "octopus" safe-second, like any other scuba arrangement; or even through a separate commonly used bail-out bottle. What's the mystery?

-- Gas switch blocks have been an industry standard for decades; I have used them for years, without any issue; whatsoever -- and it is simply a matter of competence and skill, how they are effectively and safely used, as most any and all scuba gear, including those 276 bar / 4000 psi tanks / bombs -- strapped to your back, ; but I would certainly not recommend them to the novice . . .

Screen Shot 2021-07-09 at 5.58.38 PM.png


From one of the many recent threads on FFM use:


"I have used the Poseidon Atmosphere, for years; though, I have tried others -- some of which honked, underwater, like Canada geese; or, else breathed like having a pillow pressed over one's face. It also happened to be the model most commonly available to us at UC and Cal State back then.

"While at school, I once took a Summer job, replacing zincs, at a local harbor; and having temporarily "lifted" the "positive" or "over-pressure" mask from class, remained hepatitis-free, in an area, notorious for illegal live-aboards; and the mask -- then, my own -- also proved effective, years later, while collecting composite sediment samples for laboratories, in such garden spots as septic Oakland Harbor, below the giant cranes of Schnitzer Steel. I still prefer the positive pressure and ventilation to the on-demand masks; they are near-impossible to flood and never fog.

"A major drag with FFMs, though, is the issue with varying buoyancies, dependent upon the model of mask, hood, and depth; and the need for expensive ballasts, to correct for it. A tunnel vision effect is also quite common -- especially with the use of some weights, which is almost like wearing blinders.

"I still commonly use my masks, even for recreational use, especially if the temperature goes much below 10˚ C; or, if there is some heavy wave action . . ."



IMG_2474.jpg
 

sabbe

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It’s extraordinarily rarely done and only when absolutely necessary (like wouldn’t be asking this question if it was in your use case). Things complicated by FFM:
Gas switches
S-drills
Backup mask deployment
Gas donation

Using gas switch blocks underwater is extraordinarily farm animal stupid. See other threads debating this in the search section of SB.
Hello All,

My dive buddy wants to start diving his full face all the time, including technical dives. For me, I have never seen anyone on the boats diving a full face mask. I am sure it is done, just have not seen it. I am new to Tech Diving, and have only dived in Ft Lauderdale, Key Largo, and Bufford.

Is there a reason I have not see it or are they not used often?
Hello All,

My dive buddy wants to start diving his full face all the time, including technical dives. For me, I have never seen anyone on the boats diving a full face mask. I am sure it is done, just have not seen it. I am new to Tech Diving, and have only dived in Ft Lauderdale, Key Largo, and Bufford.

Is there a reason I have not see it or are they not used often?

What brand is the FFM? The Hollis/Kirby is frequently used by rebreather divers.
 

rjack321

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-- Gas switch blocks have been an industry standard for decades; I have used them for years, without any issue; whatsoever -- and it is simply a matter of competence and skill, how they are effectively and safely used, as most any and all scuba gear; but I would certainly not recommend them to the novice . . .

View attachment 670144

What is your current level of technical training and experience? How many of those dives, what gases and depths, and durations were with a FFM?

Can you explain the gas verification and switch protocol you are recommending for switchblocks and FFMs?
 

MikadoWu

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It’s extraordinarily rarely done and only when absolutely necessary (like wouldn’t be asking this question if it was in your use case). Things complicated by FFM:
Gas switches
S-drills
Backup mask deployment
Gas donation

Using gas switch blocks underwater is extraordinarily farm animal stupid. See other threads debating this in the search section of SB.

I have asked him the same questions. I do not see to much of and issues with your list, gas switches would be on him. Place long hoses on all his bottles, for me, if I have a failure. If he has a failure, he gets my octo's and switches masks. As Bigbella stated, I have heard commercial divers using the blocks for years. I know it is not that easy, and I do believe I am missing something, which is why I bring this to the table.

I am doing tech training and have a ffm, would use it on dives not requiring gas switching or anything over 130fsw...after doing SDI FFM and some practice I can get the FFM off in under 3 sec, and you don't need eyes for valve shutoffs or switching regs anyway...I would put the FFM on the short-hose and secondary on a necklace that would allow you to pull it away...like an octo holder<TG>

Yeah, single gas no switching is fine, but I honestly any dive that does not have gas switching seem like recreational to me.

What brand is the FFM? The Hollis/Kirby is frequently used by rebreather divers.

My buddy has an Ocean Reef, not sure the model, he had a friend switch to rebreather and old him his brand new unit with all the accessories for under $1000, that included coms. I have been considering the OTS Spectrum. I can get in one for under $400 and see if I even like it. The Hollis looks really nice and similar to the Spectrum. For me, other then my Wetsuit, I been selling off all my Huish products. They have treated me very poorly over the last few years.
 

sabbe

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I have asked him the same questions. I do not see to much of and issues with your list, gas switches would be on him. Place long hoses on all his bottles, for me, if I have a failure. If he has a failure, he gets my octo's and switches masks. As Bigbella stated, I have heard commercial divers using the blocks for years. I know it is not that easy, and I do believe I am missing something, which is why I bring this to the table.

Yeah, single gas no switching is fine, but I honestly any dive that does not have gas switching seem like recreational to me.

My buddy has an Ocean Reef, not sure the model, he had a friend switch to rebreather and old him his brand new unit with all the accessories for under $1000, that included coms. I have been considering the OTS Spectrum. I can get in one for under $400 and see if I even like it. The Hollis looks really nice and similar to the Spectrum. For me, other then my Wetsuit, I been selling off all my Huish products. They have treated me very poorly over the last few years.

Benefits of FFM can be no fog, better view, warmer, less exposure to dirty water, and what really got me looking into it, potentially makes an O2 seizure more survivable.

The Hollis / Kirby FFM is the traditional tec FFM but it looses a lot of the FFM benefits and I felt like I was looking through a tunnel. You can easily switch between the pods and a standard regulator.

I just purchased Ocean Reef masks though I am not sure we'll be using them for tec. They had a fantastic field of view and never fog. The wife and I will be doing some dirty river diving this fall and want to minimize water contact. The higher end Ocean Reef Predator and Neptune models can do 100% O2 and also be plumbed for two different 2nd stage regulators simultaneously (in addition to a switch block on the main FFM mask regulator).

You should expect your buddy to have standard regulators on their long hose and deco bottles. They can have quick disconnects to hook up to the FFM or that can be a separate hose. It would also be prudent for both of you to do some mask remove & replace skills together.

Sam
 

FF / EMT

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Using gas switch blocks underwater is extraordinarily farm animal stupid. See other threads debating this in the search section of SB.
So we should use them above water instead? Got it!
 

napDiver

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Recreationally, for lots of pro reasons listed above which translate to more comfortable for me... I used the ocean reef ffm

Rare occasions, I'll take 2x tanks of the same gas with my ffm.

However, I'll probably never do it technically. If yall are new to tech diving, I'd recommend

(1) focus on consistently being able to handle issues and executing dive plans really well.
(2) then learn ffm and appropriate skills
(3) then combining the two

Incorrect gas switches kills, so make sure whatever you do... it's an idiot fail proof process to not make a mistake.
 
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