As with all diving products, there are a range of full face diving masks available from different manufacturers to choose from. This article will take a closer look at the range of full face masks that are available. This information resource is provided by SMP who are a leading UK based supplier of diving equipment.
We will start by introducing the range of full face masks that are available before taking a closer look at each of the individual face masks. We will be concentrating on Kirby Morgan, OTS and Interspiro full face masks as they are the market leaders in the design and manufacture of full face diving masks.
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Interspiro Divator Mk II Full Face Mask
DIVATOR MK II is the diving apparatus that meets the demands from the professional diver.
DIVATOR MK II is the diving apparatus that meets the demands from the professional diver. Interspiro developed Divator MK II in collaboration with physiologists, professional divers, the Royal Swedish Navy and naval authorities from around the world.
DIVATOR MK II is prepared for tough jobs and demanding environments. It is designed to be easy to operate in all environments and under all conditions.
DIVATOR MK II does not only offer safety and reliable operation, but also excellent return on the investment. That is the reason why military organisations, fire and rescue services, police forces, coast guards and professional civilian divers around the World prefer DIVATOR MK II.
The Divator Mask is known around the World as the “AGA Mask”, the reason behind this is that the first generation of this full-face mask was developed when Interspiro was still a part of the AGA Corporation. Today the latest generation of the Divator Mask is the Worlds most sold full-face mask, and we dare say one of the finest and most versatile full-face masks ever manufactured.
Key features of the Divator Mask
- A low volume visor reduces the positive buoyancy generated from air inside the mask. Low volume dead space reduces reinhalation of CO². Soft and flexible sealing prevent leakage.
- The balanced Divator Mask breathing valve is one of the best-tested breathing valves available. The breathing valve will perform even under the most extreme conditions: mud, oil, and fast flowing cold currents does not have a serious impact on the performance.
- The mask is equipped with retainers for goggle frames and it is prepared for underwater communication. The communication capabilities are enhanced by the airflow design that considerably reduces turbulence noise.
- The standard Divator Mask is equipped with easily adjusted push pads for pressure equalizing of ears and spoilers to prevent mist to be formed on the visor.
- The Divator Mask is very easy to drain from water filling, simply press one button and hold the lower part of the face mask out from the face.
The Divator Mask is available in three different colours:
- Bright yellow (‘Gold’)
- Classic Grey
The black and yellow mask is made of silicone; the grey mask is made of natural rubber. The choice of material is dependant of their respective chemical and elastic properties. Breathing valves are available in black and grey, with or without positive pressure. For normal (non-positive) pressure breathing valves mouthpieces are available.
Divator Mk II Maintenance
Breathing apparatus from Interspiro is an investment with a long service life, when properly maintained. To simplify service and to obtain maximum product performance we recommend using our service kits, containing original spare parts necessary for preventive maintenance.
Interspiro offers training courses for users who perform day-to-day service work, as well as training for service personnel performing full maintenance programmes.
- EN 250
- CE-approval for a complete Divator MK II SCUBA
Kirby Morgan EXO-BR Full Face Mask
The Kirby Morgan EXO Full Face Mask was designed for both surface supplied and scuba diving.
The Kirby Morgan EXO mask was designed for both surface supplied as well as scuba diving! By enclosing the diver’s eyes, nose and mouth, the Kirby Morgan EXO permits nearly normal speech when used in conjunction with most wireless, and all hardwire underwater communication systems.
The Kirby Morgan EXO Mask’s light weight design allows divers to work long dives without jaw or neck fatigue. This Kirby Morgan EXO dive mask has a modular communications design that permits rapid and simple maintenance. An optional Kirby Morgan Hard Shell gives added surfaces for mounting lights, cameras etc. The ear equalization device, the Kirby Morgan Nose Block which is adjustable to several different heights, fits a wide variety of noses and faces. The Kirby Morgan Oral Nasal helps keep the CO2 levels to a minimum and improves breathing and communications.
The Kirby Morgan Balanced Regulator EXO-BR was developed to meet strict new European CE requirements and is fully CE approved as well as U.S. Navy approved. IThis Kirby Morgan Dive Regulator meets and surpasses EN 250 requirements for regulator performance. The Kirby Morgan EXO-BR frame is the same safety yellow as the standard Kirby Morgan SuperLite Helmets and Kirby Morgan 18 and 28B Bandmasks.
The Kirby Morgan EXO-BR Balanced Regulator helps reduce the work of breathing for the diver. The regulator balances the intermediate air pressure against the valve sealing pressure inside the regulator. This enables the regulator to instantly adjust to changes in line pressure. The Kirby Morgan Balanced Regulator provides improved breathing and is adjustable for a wide range of intermediate pressures between 100 PSI – 230 PSI.
- EXOskeleton Frame: A strong injection molded plastic external frame which gives the head harness an even pull completely around the mask seal. The EXOskeleton does not touch the diver’s face. It is suspended just slightly off the face to hold the communication and breathing equipment in place without discomfort.
- Head Harness: A pull through fixed buckle type with an automatic locking feature. Quick release buckles are featured on each rugged, double wide strap.
- Communications Module: The communications module unscrews and is removed from the inside of the mask. Inside the module is a junction box for mating all the wiring for communications. Kirby Morgan EXO-BR Mask is available with several different communications configurations. First is the basic mask with no communications. The modular design allows communications to be easily retrofitted. Other configurations differ with the type of communications systems installed. When using an umbilical, the Bare Wire Communications Posts module serves as the hardwire attachment point for a simple two wire communications system. The Four Pin Male Waterproof (W.P.) Connector option (“marsh marine” type) allows for four wire/ round robin communications when diver to diver communication is desired. Both configurations include earphones and microphone. Wireless systems compatible with the EXO-BR is available through several different manufacturers.
- EXO-BR Balanced Regulator: CE approved as well as U.S. Navy approved. It meets and surpasses EN 250 requirements for regulator performance.
- Regulator Adjustment: Provides demand regulator adjustment for a wide range of incoming air pressure. In addition, it can serve as a steady flow valve. Some divers prefer a slight steady flow on surface supplied air when air consumption is not a factor.
- Oral Nasal Mask: Keeps C02 levels to a minimunm and improves breathing and communications.
- Mask Seal: Comprises the main rubber body of the mask. It is a soft neoprene that seals comfortably on the diver’s face. The EXOskeleton is used to hold this soft rubber seal in place on the diver’s face for a solid seal.
- Faceplate Lens: Tempered glass for strength and minimum fogging. A strong plastic frame surrounds the glass to seal on the rubber mask seal.
- Weight: EXO-BR 4.65 pounds
- Mask Frame: Mask Frame Poly Carbonate
- Lens: Tempered Glass
- Face Seal: Neoprene Blend
- Regulator Body: Noryl®
- Hardware: Stainless Steel & Chromed Brass
- O-Rings: Buna-N
- Spider: Neoprene
Recommended Lubricants: Christo-Lube®, Dow Corning® MS4 Silicone Lubricant. Krytox® and Halocarbon® are also acceptable.
Regulator Performance: The Kirby Morgan EXO Balanced Regulator has been CE approved in Europe for scuba use in conjunction with the Kirby Morgan DSI First Stage Regulator and Overpressure Relief Valve.
Cage Code: The cage code for identifying Kirby Morgan DSI products for U.S. government purposes is 58366.
CR Standards: These masks meet or exceeds all standards established by Dive Lab of Panama City, Florida, and are CR (Commercially Rated) marked.
CE Approved: Kirby Morgan EXO-BR masks are CE Approved.
Operational Specifications and Limitations: The CE approved Kirby Morgan EXO-BR complies with EM 250 (edition May 1993). The EXO-BR has been CE tested for scuba use with the Kirby Morgan DSI SuperFlow first stage regulator. The Kirby Morgan EXO-BR has also been CE tested for surface supplied umbilical diving. Regardless of the mode being employed, all components used with, or in conjunction with the Kirby Morgan EXO-BR must be CE approved.
Air Supply Pressure: All Kirby Morgan masks and helmets are designed for a maximum working supply pressure of 225 psig (15.5 bar). What this actually means is the gas train components i.e., intermediate supply hose, demand regulator and manifold assemblies are designed to operate at gas supply pressures of up to 225 psig (15.5 bar) above the surrounding ambient pressure.
The regulator adjustment knob is capable of holding back this pressure, with a little bias in reserve. This is so the professional working diver can adapt the helmet or mask to various types of supply systems found on dive stations throughout the world. It is not the intention that the mask or the helmet be normally operated at the high end pressure 225 psig. The normal maximum supply pressure to the Kirby Morgan EXO-26 BR should be dictated by the depth and selected in accordance with the specification lists for the mode of diving being employed.
OTS Guardian Full Face Mask
The OTS Guardian line of Full-Face Masks (FFMs) is the most recent diving innovation from OTS.
The OTS Guardian line of Full-Face Masks (FFMs) is the most recent diving innovation from OTS. Designed to meet the demanding needs of todays Commercial/Professional Diver, it leverages the best features found on other FFMs with unique features designed by OTS. The OTS Guardian Full Face Mask comes in the following color combinations (skirt/hardware): black/black, black/blue, black/red, black/pink, blue/black, and yellow/black.
A common problem with most full face diving masks on the market today is the seal. The lack of a good seal causes the diver to use air quicker and can interfere with the divers ability to hear if using underwater communications. With that in mind, the GFFM was designed around a double seal. This along with many other great features (i.e. semi positive pressure, quick release 2nd stage, easy maintenance, etc.) is why you will find the Guardian is the best bang for your buck when buying a full face mask. The OTS Guardian full face mask is fast becoming a standard with Search & Recovery, Law Enforcement, Commercial and Recreational divers.
The OTS Guardian Full Face Mask – A Better Mask
- The OTS Guardian Full Face Mask was designed with a double seal, allowing for the comfort of both small and large faces.
- Equalizing system which helps fit virtually all noses.
- Variety of Colors are offered
- Low profile (visibility is superb)
- Hose comes off the right side (most preferred by divers)
- Easily adjustable head straps & robust buckles.
- Ambient Breathing Valve (ABV)
- Easily removable 2nd stage regulator (great for storage and maintenance)
Features of the OTS Guardian Full Face Mask include:
- Removable 2nd stage for easy cleaning and storage (can’t be used w/o mask)
- Made of a one-piece, non-rigid silicone skirt combined with injection-molded, high-impact, glass-filled ABS plastic frame and
- A double face seal and slightly smaller oral nasal cavity to fit most faces
- Equalization occurs through a nose block.
- Air flow is directed up over the visor to eliminate fogging and through one-way valves in the oral nasal pocket to reduce CO2 retention.
- 2nd stage comes off the right shoulder and uses a standard LP hose
- Includes a communications port for easy installation of a Buddy Phone® or ear/microphone assembly to connect an OTS Diver
Communications Unit such as the Aquacom® SSB-2010
- Includes OTS’ Ambient Breathing Valve®, Mask Bag, and LP hose
Kirby Morgan M-48 Supermask
The patented Kirby Morgan M-48 SuperMask® is a lightweight modular full face mask that allows for easy and rapid adaptation to various self contained underwater breathing apparatuses as well as surface supplied systems.
The Kirby Morgan M-48 Supermask frame and rigid components are made of high impact plastic. The face seal is made of the highest quality silicone and conforms to the diver’s face. The modular removable mouth pod is designed to quickly interchange allowing the diver multiple breathing gas options. The mask is also designed to accept various wireless communications configurations.
The removable lower pod is a feature unique to the Kirby Morgan M-48 SuperMask®. When diving, the pod is easily removed and replaced on the mask for diver capability to buddy-breathe, use a snorkel or an octopus or perform an “in water” gas switch
With the pod sealed to the mask, the flexible, silicone pod cover allows the diver to quickly place the regulator mouthpiece into the mouth or dive with it free of the mouth for communications. With the mouthpiece in the mouth, the regulator may be used without the pod being sealed to the mask.
The Kirby Morgan M-48 Supermask may also be used with surface supplied gas. KMDSI is currently developing several different pod configurations for both open circuit and rebreather use (For Military Only).
Frequently asked questions
- What makes this Kirby Morgan M-48 Supermask unique?
The removable scuba pod is a unique feature in a full face mask. The mask may also be used in the surface supplied mode. Multiple scuba pods may be used with different gas options while retaining the advantages of a full face mask.
The mask frame and rigid components are made of a variety of high impact plastics. The flexible face seal is made of the highest quality silicone that conforms to the divers face.
The eye/nose cavity seals under the nose in the same manner as a standard scuba mask. The mask is also designed to work with various communications configurations.
- Why would I want a Full Face Mask? I already have a mask.
Until the Kirby Morgan M-48 SuperMask® was introduced, all full-face masks had one major drawback. If your regulator or gas supply failed, you had to remove the whole mask to gain access to an alternate source of breathing gas. With the Supermask®, switching to an alternate gas source is as simple as unlatching the pod from the mask and mounting another pod or simply using another second stage regulator. If your alternate air source is another SuperMask® pod, your communications will remain operable.
- What type of communications can be mounted to the mask?
The masks can be configured to use various wireless and hard wire communications systems. We do not sell the communications hardware. Ask us for recommendations on communications.
- Do I have to be trained to use it?
You must be a certified scuba diver and should be completely familiar with all the operational features of the mask before diving it in open water. It is recommended that you first dive in a calm, clear body of water such as a swimming pool, if possible, to become completely familiar with all the operational features of the mask. While it’s operation is not complicated, the diver should be able to adjust the regulator for optimal breathing as well as unmount, mount and clear the pod.
- Will this Kirby Morgan M-48 Supermask fit my face?
This mask has a remarkable fit. Not only does it fit most people, including those with small faces, but also most people with facial hair such as beards and mustaches.
- Will this mask cause jaw fatigue on long duration dives?
With the Kirby Morgan M-48 SuperMask® there is no need to keep the mouthpiece constantly clamped in your mouth during the dive. This makes your dive very comfortable, no jaw fatigue on long dives such as cave penetrations or prolonged decompression times, especially with the larger rebreather hoses.
- Does the Kirby Morgan M-48 SuperMask come with a regulator?
Currently the mask comes with a SuperFlow® adjustable Second Stage Regulator. You can also purchase a mask without a second stage regulator.
- Will my regulator mount on the mask? If not, which ones do?
Many of todays most popular regulators can easily be mounted to the Kirby Morgan M-48 SuperMask® pod. However, due to a wide variety of manufacturing specs, some regulators do not fit. Please see the regulator configuration section.
- What about low on air, or out of air situations?
The removable pod enables you to handle all out of air situations. Simply unlatch and remove pod and use your alternative air source, octopus, bailout system or buddy breathing to the surface.
- Can I switch gases during my dive?
The Kirby Morgan M-48 SuperMask® was designed with multiple gas switches in mind. When the pod is removed, you can use any second stage regulator, or you can mount a second pod with another second stage to the mask. This can be during the dive or when hanging in deco on a surface supplied deco gas or from bottles at the deco stops. When using a surface-supplied gas, having a pod mounted to the second stage allows for hard wired communications to the surface.