DIVING NEWS

Egypt warns against full-face masks

Dive-centres and other members of Egypt’s Chamber of Diving & Water Sports (CDWS) have been asked to discourage Red Sea snorkellers from using the full-face masks that have grown more popular in recent years.

According to the CDWS its advice is based on recent investigation of several incidents that indicated a “recurrence of accidents and injuries” resulting from use of the masks.

Acting in co-operation with Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities, the chamber draws attention to “the risk of inhaling the accumulated carbon dioxide inside of the mask produced while breathing”.

It says that breathing CO2 can lead to headaches, dizziness and in some cases unconsciousness, which could lead to drowning.

Full-face snorkelling masks have been linked with in-water fatalities before, notably following a spate of incidents in Hawaii last year, though the link was not conclusive. The tightly fitting head-straps have also been claimed to make the masks more difficult to remove in an emergency.

27 August 2020

Advocates of the masks claim that the natural style of breathing helps to keep users relaxed, and that not needing to grip a mouthpiece makes extended snorkelling more comfortable.

A number of full-face snorkelling masks, which are generally inexpensive, were converted into emergency respirators for use by medical teams in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

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