Most of your friends think you’re crazy for diving in cold water. Even some of your diver friends think you’re nuts.
“Don’t you get cold?” they ask. “Wouldn’t you rather dive on a warm tropical reef?”
Most of the world doesn’t understand your love for icy temperatures because most of the world doesn’t have a dry suit.
Dry suit owners can tolerate cold water due to the fact that they stay dry. Water conducts heat away from the body about 20 times faster than air; a dry suit diver uses those extra minutes of warmth to help extend the time they can remain comfortable underwater.
Compared to wetsuits, dry suits are typically more expensive; if you’ve spent the money for a dry suit already, it could be hard to justify buying another one. To help make the decision a little easier, we’ve made a list of four perfectly good reasons to treat yourself to a new dry suit:
#1 – You haven’t taken care of your existing dry suit
Dry suit maintenance requires discipline. If you’ve failed to wax your zips between dives or wash the seals and valves, or were lazy when it came to drying the suit after every dive, your suit may develop a number of issues – from embarrassing smells through to broken zippers, leaks and mold. If things get beyond repair, it’s time to replace your suit, take the PADI Dry Suit Diver course and promise to take better care of your new one.
#2 – Your existing suit doesn’t fit properly
If you started with a second-hand dry suit that didn’t fit well, or your trusty old suit has become a bit tight (or loose) it’s a good idea to get a new one. During your lifespan your size can change: maybe you’ve started working out and lost weight, or perhaps lifestyle changes have led to a few extra pounds.
Owning a correctly fitted suit will make a big difference to your buoyancy due to the distribution of air within the suit. For example, boots that are too big can trap excess air which can lead to ‘floaty feet’ and increased risk of inversion, and suits that are too tight will cause uncomfortable squeeze.
So whatever the reason, don’t underestimate the importance of having a dry suit that fits your size and shape. Buy a properly fitting suit – it’s safer and will make your dives more enjoyable.
#3 – You need new features
When you first learn to dive, a basic dry suit may be all that you need. But as you start to get more experience or venture into specialist areas (such as ice diving or technical diving), you may need an upgrade. Just like scuba gear, dry suits come in a variety of options which can enrich your scuba adventures.
Features such as warmer materials, heated garments and built-in dry gloves may be worthwhile options for those who plan to do more sub-zero dives. Pee valves can provide welcome relief on longer decompression dives whilst front zippers might help divers who may need to be more self-sufficient. Take a look at the style of diving you think you’ll be doing – now and in the future – and invest in a dry suit that will support your needs best.
#4 – You just want another one
For some, having the latest and best collection of scuba gear is part of the enjoyment of the hobby, whilst others find reassurance in knowing they’ve got a spare at the ready for when mishaps happen. If cold water diving is what you love most about diving, getting another dry suit is perfectly acceptable. Sure, it confirms you’re officially obsessed with diving, but we knew that already! Go ahead – two drysuits are better than one.
If you’ve read the above and think it might be time for a new dry suit, visit your local PADI Dive Shop to see what they have available to buy, and to get advice on what features will suit you best.