Can you Breathe Underwater with a Full Face Snorkel Mask | Expert Guide

Can you breath underwater with a full face snorkel mask is a common questions to dive lovers.

The full-face snorkeling mask is gaining constant popularity all over the world. This mask looks more natural to many snorkelers because it provides the ability to breathe through the nose (like a traditional snorkel to the mouth).    

It has also been well-received by beginner snorkelers who prefer to protect their entire face from water contact. However, some people are skeptical about the concept or even worried about the full face mask’s safety. 

Nevertheless, diving is not easy, and no one should lie to you that it is. It’s a great experience when you master this art while learning how to stay underwater with a snorkel and reach such pro levels requires patience, study, and a willingness to learn. You will learn how to breathe underwater with a snorkel and how to breathe underwater and use snorkeling gears properly.  

Moreover, you will learn how to choose the right snorkeling gears and keep them in the best condition and place. 

So, in this article, we have decided to cover all the types, benefits and, limitations of a full-face mask for snorkeling and at the same time give you some select full-face snorkeling masks. Let’s take a look at all we have to offer.

Can you Breathe Underwater with a Full Face Snorkel Mask?

The full-face snorkel masks are a modern innovation that has busted into a phenomenon full of controversy. The need to discuss the various type of snorkel cannot be taken too lightly.

Types of Snorkeling Masks

We have two types of snorkeling masks, they are: 

  • Traditional snorkeling mask
  • Full face snorkeling mask 

Both of these masks will allow you to breathe underwater if you want to, and here’s how it works. 

Can you Breathe Underwater with a Full Face Snorkel Mask

Traditional Snorkel Mask 

Honestly, I’ve noticed that many people quit snorkeling because they can’t get this art of breathing underwater. They were either scared to try or pushed themselves too hard towards the edge. 

If you are using a traditional snorkeling mask, you will have a trachea stuck in your mouth all the time, and you will not breathe normally. This makes it difficult for many people to breathe underwater using traditional snorkeling masks. 

This is why a full-face snorkeling mask has been developed, allowing snorkelers to enjoy underwater views while breathing more efficiently, comfortably, freely, and naturally. 

The traditional snorkeling mask uses a hose stuck in your mouth with the end over the water. You have to breathe in and out through this tube. Because of this, it is never uncommon to see water accidentally entering through a hose and suffocating snorkelers or to see some beginners suffering from jaw fatigue. 

how long can you breathe underwater with a snorkel

Full Face Snorkel Mask 

Simply put, a full-face snorkeling mask is made with an advanced technique that allows you to breathe normally. The mask is designed to cover your entire face and how it gets its name. This technique allows for comfortable breathing through your nose and mouth.

It is a modern mask design that has taken snorkeling to a whole new level and made it easy for those who want to learn diving quickly. 

How does the Snorkel Tube Works?  

Well, the tube is the only way to get air to reach the mask. However, the tube is attached to the top of the mask instead of inside your mouth. This makes it easy to use. No more jawline fatigue, you can smile and take a photo, and no case of choking. 

The full-face snorkel mask is perfect for any brand new snorkeler. It is effortless to use, and you can easily control the volume of air. You also have the freedom to move around without putting all your mind and concentration on the tube. Let’s say it’s still the best option. Learn more about how snorkels work underwater.

Can you suffocate when you wear a Full Face Mask? 

Well, I would call it an accident, and obviously, it is a phobia that has kept many people away from learning how to snorkel. However, here is what you should know. A full-face mask uses a dry anti-leak-seal on top of the trachea. This seal will prevent water from entering through the mask and thus keeping you safe. 

The CO2 buildup measured on the head full-face mask is about 50% of the maximum allowable limit set by EN250 at a breathing rate of 10 liters per minute (slow and quiet breathing). Check this guide to learn if you can breathe without a full face mask or not.

How does an Anti-Leak Seal Work? 

A ball sits at the very top of your full mask snorkel tube. It seals the air valve so you can enjoy the underwater views and prevent any water from entering. But if any water enters, there is usually a drainage system under the mask that will drain it out immediately. 

This ensures that your breathing is not interrupted and your mask stays dry throughout the diving experience.

Benefits of Using a Full Face Mask 

full face snorkel mask deaths

Natural breathing

You can inhale and exhale through your nose or mouth while using a full face mask. Natural breathing helps you calm down and relax in the water. There is also no learning curve or comfortable breathing through the snorkel, which is best for beginners. 

Water barrier 

The mask seals around your entire face, which reduces the chances of water getting into the mask when you smile. A mustache is no problem if you choose a full-face snorkeling mask. Finally, the back strap holds the mask in place over your head, allowing you to move freely and move the gloves forward without losing the mask.

Built-in dry top snorkel system 

Full face masks are designed so that even if a small amount of water enters the snorkel, it moves away from the face and into the mask’s chin area. A special valve located at the bottom of the chin allows water to escape.

No jaw fatigue 

Most full-face masks do not have a mouthpiece that you need to bite on, so snorkeling is more comfortable for a while. This is especially true if you have problems with a sore jaw or mouth while holding a snorkel.

Better visibility 

The majority of full-face mask models present a curled lens that expands behind your eye and provides a clear, uninterrupted 180-degree view. It seals the back frame of your line of sight, which means it won’t change your view.

Disadvantages of Using a Full-Face Snorkeling Mask 

You can’t free the dive by wearing a full-face snorkeling mask.

The full-face snorkeling mask restricts the rest of your nose. With a traditional mask, you can relieve the pressure by exhaling through your nose; this is impossible with a full-face snorkeling mask. So, if you want to get a closer look at the reef and sea creatures, dive free. This type of mask is not the best option for you. Having a dive computer before diving would be a good option.

According to the state health department, the majority of visitors in the 10 years from 2009 to 2018, an average of 21 fatal drowning incidents occurred each year in Hawaii. 

Plastic lenses can be easily scratched.

To avoid nasty scratches on your mask, you must be very careful about how you pack and take care of it. It is preferred that you always keep your mask in a special bag and never let it get sandy.

Full-face snorkeling masks are bigger than traditional ones.

A full-face mask will take up more space in your luggage and be more challenging to pack for travel. 

Read More: How to Stop Dive Mask from Fogging Up

Users do not learn fundamental masks and snorkel skills.

The full-face mask is very easy to use and does not require any special knowledge or training, which is best for beginner snorkelers.Research shows that 20% of the maximum limit breathing is at a rate of 62.5 liters per minute (e.g., heavy breathing with deep still breathing in a state of panic). 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can you stay underwater with a full-face snorkel mask?

It will depend on how long you hold your breath. It will be about a few minutes for most people if you are willing to expand your lung capacity. With the best snorkel, you can go underwater all day.

How do you breathe with a snorkel mask?

With a full-face snorkel mask, you breathe the same as you usually would. Inside, as if you are not even underwater, as long as the top of the tube stays above the water. The mask covers your entire face so you can breathe through both your nose and mouth.

Is a full-face snorkel mask dangerous?

Yes, it is fatally dangerous! CO2 can build with these devices and put you in a very dangerous situation. There have been deaths, and there are many near-death experiences. According to figures provided by state epidemiologist Dan Galanis, the number of fatal drownings in snorkels in Hawaii has risen from 16 in 2014 to 31 in 2018. 


A full-face snorkeling mask prevents you from suffocating, but it won’t make you an immortal creature under the sea. While it will allow you to breathe underwater normally and for a long time, you should use it properly.

Consider all the pros and cons of using a full-face snorkeling mask and decide if you want to stick to it with a classic mask and snorkel combo. The most important thing, after all, is comfort in your water. We wish you fun and safe snorkeling adventures!

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