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Wearing mask backwards on forehead

Discussion in 'Fins, Masks and Snorkels' started by oahu_diver, Aug 8, 2011.

Do you wear your mask backwards on your forehead while at the surface?

  1. Yes

    66 vote(s)
  2. No

    93 vote(s)
  1. oahu_diver

    oahu_diver Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives:
    Location: Oahu (Hawaii)
    Can anyone explain this to me? I've seen divers wearing their mask this way and it makes no sense to me. What is the purpose? Is there a real practical reason for this? Or has this become the "cool" way of wearing it while on the surface? Is it a Tec Diving thing and divers wanna show off some kind of technical training even when they're diving recreationally?
  2. DennisS

    DennisS Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sebastian, FL
    I don't turn it around, it stays where it gets flipped up.
  3. mathauck0814

    mathauck0814 Assistant Instructor

    I think it's a hold over from the nonsense that people tell you about a mask on the forehead means distress. Turning it around means, "I wanted to take my mask off while I wait for others to climb back onto the boat."
    ThomasScherrer and mike_s like this.
  4. Rhone Man

    Rhone Man Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: British Virgin Islands
    I don't know about other agencies, but BSAC used to train divers to turn their masks around on their heads whilst out of the water.
  5. Crush

    Crush Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Western Canada
    After a dive I used to slide my mask up to my forehead when at the surface. Later I read on SB that a mask on the forehead is a distress signal taught by PADI (I have no idea whether or not this is correct). Now I flip my mask around so that the strap is on my forehead because that is what the cool kids are doing. :)
  6. Tmagnum000

    Tmagnum000 Guest

    I was taught in my PADI OW and AOW just last year to never put your mask on your forehead because its a sign of distress. Putting it on backwards is easier than pulling it down to your neck and safer than holding it.
    Mark Derail and alphawhite1981 like this.
  7. Hallmac

    Hallmac Instructor, Scuba

    When a diver turns it around it is an intentional act. You will never see a diver truly in distress turn the mask around. They are processing to many other thoughts for something that does nothing to make them feel better. The act of turning it around is simply a way of displaying to others you are in control and not under duress.

    As mentioned earlier, one small sign of discomfort, or early signs of stress, is getting the mask off the nose and pushing it up onto the forehead so the person can breath more naturally. It is a natural act and a very large percentage of divers will do it at one time or another. Over the years, those that did not pay attention in class, were trained poorly, suffered from CRS, or just overheard part of a conversation linked the mask on the forehead immediately as a bad sign. As new divers became instructors, and only remembered pieces of their trainings the mask on forehead became taboo.

    The mask on the forehead is not a universally recognized symbol of a diver in trouble as taught by some. It is simply a small sign a person will see early in stressful situations, the properly trained personal will notice it, assess the situation quickly and either start watching a bit closer, start moving in for assistance, or (and here is the part they all seem to forget) check off as natural and return to their normal activity.
  8. mike_s

    mike_s Solo Diver


    You had a dumb ass instructor

    last thing a diver in distress is going to do is to "carefully raise his mask to his forehead" when in distress.

    A diver in distress is either gonna leave it on, or rip it off.
    N2DeepInAz, Codiak, AfterDark and 3 others like this.
  9. MauiScubaSteve

    MauiScubaSteve Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Olowalu, Maui

    For me, it is forehead sunblock[/c]

    Also, when "otter-ing" the glass stays cooler than if worn on forehead facing forwards. From my skiing upbringing, I was trained that the forehead is one of the body's radiators; you can control the body's temp by controlling the amount of covering on the radiator. So, placing the mask glass over the radiator, which is also mostly in the sun, is a great way to get the mask glass as hot as possible before putting it in the not so hot water we dive in, resulting in a fogging situation at start of dive.

    I could probably go on and on, starting with the forehead "greenhouse" on the no neck overweight tourist in full wetsuit struggling across the hot sand to then bicycle kick with full foot rental snorkel fins through a few ankle biting surges to the drop down point with sweat now rolling off the bridge of the nose.....
    LeadTurn_SD and alphawhite1981 like this.
  10. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

    I like, for example, to walk down to the water without holding my mask in my hands, because it makes getting my fins on easier. Putting the mask on my forehead has always seemed precarious, and around my neck doesn't work because I use a bungied backup regulator. Putting the slap strap on my forehead and snugging the mask against the base of the back of my head seems pretty secure and very handy.
    eelnoraa likes this.

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