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Toothpaste and new dive mask

Preparing a new dive mask

fog, Bonaire, mask, diving, Kids Sea Camp
No one wants a foggy mask on a dive —, especially in Bonaire at Buddy Dive. I love seeing where I’m going when I’m underwater!

The foggy mask: I had a client buy a new dive mask this week and I told him to make sure to rub toothpaste on both sides of the mask lens before you jump into the water. It will help make the lens not fog up.

He then asked a very simple question, “why?”

I had no answer for him — I said it was the tradition. He then asked “But why is it the tradition?

I smiled and thought to myself how living with a Hall of Famer who really is a diving professor, Professor Margo of the department of Oceanic Adventures at Kids Sea Camp — makes me a little dumb at times. I have watched Margo for years put toothpaste in our new dive masks — she even puts the toothpaste in the old masks at the beginning of the summer every year. And the dumb part  — I never once asked why. Not once did I asked why are we are putting something I put on my teeth every day on an item that has no teeth? I just knew that when she didn’t use the toothpaste my mask would fog up — very quickly — and I hate a foggy mask.

One good thing about myself is once I realize just how stupid I’m acting or thinking, I tend correct my behavior and I do this by gathering information. So here’s why my Oceanic Professor puts toothpaste on the lens of our mask almost every year, at the beginning of our diving season— new or not.

Toothpaste is a mild abrasive

Most of the newer masks, frame, skirt, and strap are made of silicone — this silicone creates a film on the lens of the mask. The film on the lens blocks the defog from working properly. In fact, if the silicone residue is not removed any amount of defog with work on the lens.

After the toothpaste

After you have cleaned off the toothpaste and you are are heading to the boat make sure to have some defog. There are many brands and with the silicon, residue removed most all of them will work. The fact of the matter is all the dive boats have some form of defog — although most of them use a watered down J&J baby shampoo.

Other forms of defogging

Spit: Real divers don’t use defog they spent a lot of time draining their mouths, building for up a large quantity of salvia and projecting it into their masks. Many divers say this is the best form of defog, but the idea of my eyes breathing in all the wonderful germs from my mouth — just doesn’t work for me.

SeaDrops: Clean, quick and easy to use — few drops on the inside and the outside of the mask has gotten me close to a decade of “no fog” mask. Just remember to wash the drops out right before you jump off the boat. If you don’t clean the drops out of the mask properly, you could experience a severe burning sensation in your eyes — and the eye burn can really ruin a great dive. Why? Because all defog is a form of soap. That’s why most dive boats and shops use J&J Baby Shampoo  — it’s easier on the eyes.

Burn it off: Don’t do this at home unless you know a professional mask burner who has done it many times. You are basically burning off the thin film that protects the new lens. The danger, of course, is burning the entire soft silicone that makes your new mask so darn comfortable. 

After the dive

Hit the dunk tank: Make sure you use freshwater to clean off all your dive equipment. Almost all our family of divers dunk their BC’s in the sweet water tub, but I have watched numerous divers forgo a quick rinse off the fins, mask, snorkel, and wetsuit. Remember a clean mask doesn’t fog up as much and clean gear last longer.

Tom Peyton, Vice President of Kids Sea Camp and Family Dive Adventures
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