Not only should you be able to remove and replace the mask, you should be able to make a safe ascent and a safety stop without it. Until you can do that, I suggest not doing dives that require ascents or safety stops. I suggest doing some free diving, first with the mask, then without. Start in the pool first. Without a mask you can still see, albeit not as well. You can certainly make out your buddy. You can also practice removal and replacement of the mask without SCUBA gear, in a pool. Good luck, and have fun in the water. Don Ward wrote: ~ >At 07:10 PM 9/20/2001 +0000, you wrote: >>I am a new scuba diver and had a terrible time in the certification dives >>with taking my mask off and replacing it. Is there any secrets to doing >>this without panicking underwater??? > > >Welcome to diving, and to the list! > >There is no secret that I am aware of, and you are not alone. Many, many >students have this problem. It is just a matter of practice. I would ask >the instructor if she will allow you to go with a class to the pool and >practice, until you are comfortable. > >When I remove my mask, I blow a little air out my nose to keep water out, >until the mask is in place. > >Dive safe, and all my best, > >/Don -- Paul B.