Is this the most difficult skill for new scuba divers?

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Angelo Farina

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Back when I got certified I had no trouble with mask flooding, removal and replace in the pool. What I was not prepared for was it triggering mammalian diving reflex when I did it in 45 degree water during OW. I still remember having to calm myself and allow my lungs to start working again before I could complete the drill.

I still hate doing it in cold water, but I make myself practice it from time to time.
That's because the water in your pool was warm, and in OW it was much colder. During my first course, instead, we did train in an open-air pool, where the water was barely at 14 °C, so quite cold. When at the sea, instead the water was 21-22 °C, much warmer...
So for us the problem was in the pool, not at the sea.
And yes, the colder the water, the more easy is for the neonatal mammalian reflex to be triggered.
 

GameChanger

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Mask clearing for me has always been easy. I grew up around water activities so perhaps that is why. Good B&T is, from what I have observed, the most challenging skillset for most new OW divers.

The second most difficult is resisting the urge to dangle all kinds of useless crap off your BC...
 

TMHeimer

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We've seen on this thread that the hardest skill varies with each diver. From my 4 years as a DM I recall students having trouble with various skills. I don't recall mask clearing to really be a big leader.
 

mac64

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Put your mask in a pocket and don’t put it on till your underwater, it’s second nature after that.
 

wetb4igetinthewater

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It's 2021. Why do we still have demonstration videos on the knees? @Scuba Diving Tips , here's a tip for you, read the 3-part blog series on teaching neutrally buoyant and trimmed:

 

Rol diy

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I find with new divers ear clearing is a big problem, I know 3 or 4 divers that's can't figure out consistently how to clear ,
Small tubes or always plugged up,

Which means they don't dive much,
and don't practice because they don't dive often,
it's a bit of a vicious circle,,,

Even I can have problems if I bounce dive a few times, but i know how to manage it,
 

Johnoly

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The most difficult skill to master is financial restraint.....
I was going to say the opposite.................
Teaching new divers to 'Tip the Crew' is the most difficult skill to learn according to DM's
 

nolatom

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The times I've had to do it, I was fortunate to be vertical or nearly so. The tip from my instructor long ago was to press the top of your mask/skirt against your forehead, and exhale through your nose. Works for me.

What is a bigger challenge is getting "normal eyes" after you do this in salt water. Wow, does it sting at first. But that sting triggers your eyes to get watery, which eventually stops the sting. Though as Tom Petty told us, "the waiting is the hardest part" ;-)
 

TMHeimer

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The times I've had to do it, I was fortunate to be vertical or nearly so. The tip from my instructor long ago was to press the top of your mask/skirt against your forehead, and exhale through your nose. Works for me.

What is a bigger challenge is getting "normal eyes" after you do this in salt water. Wow, does it sting at first. But that sting triggers your eyes to get watery, which eventually stops the sting. Though as Tom Petty told us, "the waiting is the hardest part" ;-)
Yeah. Lots of talk always about angle. As well as what you do when horizontal & swimming vs. being taught while kneeling. I think your instructor's tip is really all there is to it. I may add to give it a big blast from your nose so it pretty much clears it in one shot. I know that students can pass the skill using several exhales and am not sure that's a good thing. Regarding the salty eyes-- That rarely bothers me, and if it does, you can't rub your eyes......
 
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