In the wake of a spate of deaths of tourists in Hawaii in recent years where the safety of Full-Face Snorkeling Masks was put into question, HEAD/MARES — one of the manufacturers of full-face masks — began a series of tests to see if certain masks were safer than others.
The biggest safety issue is whether enough of the exhaled carbon dioxide from a snorkeler actually escapes the mask and isn’t re-inhaled by the snorkeler. If enough CO2 is re-inhaled, that could cause hypercapnia — i.e. shortness of breath and other symptoms.
According to a statement recently sent to Hawaiian state authorities, HEAD/MARES said it has performed further testing on full-face masks in cooperation with German diving magazine Unterwasser and an independent lab in the United States, Divelab Inc.
Divelab’s independent testing on its own equipment verified the test results obtained by HEAD/MARES, which the company says showed that some masks are safer than others.
The statement says:
“HEAD would like to encourage authorities to develop safety standards for Full Face Snorkel Masks and restrict careless manufacturers and distributors from bringing unsafe products to the market.
“Furthermore, to facilitate further independent testing, HEAD has contacted and shared its experience with Divelab, Inc., of Panama City, Florida. Divelab, Inc. is the only laboratory in the US possessing equipment similar to HEAD’s, and it has already conducted similar tests on Full Face Snorkel Masks as HEAD did, achieving similar results. HEAD and Divelab, Inc. hereby offer to assist US authorities with their Know-How in testing products, developing standards and eliminating unsafe products from the marketplace.”
Check out HEAD/MARES’s full statement below.