Should We Rip A Students Mask Off – 3.5 min

Steve Martin5 Comments

5 Comments on “Should We Rip A Students Mask Off – 3.5 min”

  1. Neville Douglas

    Great point to make gents, have done 100’s of dives and never had my mask pulled off, I was in Scapa flow at 40 meters and a diver paniced but he never went for my mask, he dragged me up to 20 meter before I got him off me and I went back down to decompres and he went to the surface.

    have traveled a lot and have never seen any diver having their mask pulled off, doing a proper buddy check will ensure all divers are ready for the water, thus no panic. I do practice taking mine off and swapping so that is a useful skill as was demonstrated by Vas, this is useful incase someone looes theres, see that happen in Norway but that was becasue he forgot to hold his mask when He jumped in. but he had a spare so was fine, and during the dive he found his origianl make.

    Stressing divers in not the way to teach consistency really, we need to be calm in all situations, well as much as we can anyway. thanks for posting

  2. Paul Karetnikov

    When mask loss/recovery/replacement is taught correctly it prevents stress. I personally experienced a mask failure (lens separation from the frame) while I was a relatively new OW diver. I have witnessed masks being kicked by other divers. I am not suggesting extreme mask failures are a very common occurrence, but having your mask removed unexpectedly in a controlled setting does assist in making you understand how to react with greater confidence to sight related failures if/when they happen.

    The video clip you played in the background (@~19sec) is not reflective of any training I have taken. That appears to be more like rehearsal for a movie scene such as the clip from Thunderball (@~1:56). If a recreational instructor is doing that, I have serious concerns.

    1. Steve Martin

      Thanks, Paul for sharing your experience, the clips I used are more to highlight what I beleive quite a few technical instructors are still doing. They pull masks off their student’s head at some point during each training dive, or during a skill they are already doing the mask then gets pulled off to make the skill more stressful and seem harder. What we are saying is that doing this is not necessary and time could be much better spend working with the diver on buoyancy, trim and propulsion techniques plus developing advanced breathing control. You know the skills divers really need not an unrealistic stress response testing and making a course harder just so the student can believe and say I survived my instructors training, now I must be good I can handle anything and the truth being they have poor actual diving skills. Regards, Steve

  3. Carl Fago

    I am in agreement that the old-style “military” way is in not an effective teaching method. About the only real life scenarios that somewhat matches ripping the mask off is either an errant fin kick from being too close to another diver or a panicked diver flailing about resulting in mask dislodgement (not fully removing the mask.)

    IMO, it is instructive for a student to understand their reactions to high stress situations underwater and that it needs to be in a controlled environment (and not done in a way the equates to assault!)

    My AN/DP instructor pulled my regulator out of my mouth while I was doing something else and was not aware it was going to happen. I calmly pulled my long-hose loose and put the regulator in my mouth and then he made sure I was okay and we continued on. During the debrief, we discussed that this resulted in my increased confidence that I could manage a high stress situation calmly and IAW my training. (I had good bit of OW diving experience prior to entering the AN/DP course.)

    What methods would you suggest in instilling that level of confidence in students?

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