As residents of this planet, most of us live in areas that don’t present the easiest access to warm water diving or comfortable air temperatures year round. In fact if you are reading this, cooler seasons are most likely a part of life where you live. As divers, we owe it to our investment to dive regularly. Not only to keep our skill set current, but to also make use of our significant investment of time, money, and training. Sadly, for most of us traveling to a warm water destination multiple times a year isn’t in the cards of our lives either.
Of course there is a viable option that will keep most of us under the water comfortably year round and that would be to take the leap into diving in a drysuit. While most often drysuits add a large chunk to the already substantial investment in diving, they also make that investment more useful by as much as doubling our access to diving year round. With that in mind, lets take a closer look at the direct benefits of drysuit diving:
- Increased comfort under water-those 38 degree quarries in January won’t make you shiver!
- Increased comfort during surface intervals-we’re not having to dry off to get warm only to get wet again a little later.
- Longer bottom times-remember from our open water training that warmth under water is a factor of time.
- Redundant source of buoyancy-In the event of BCD bladder failure you have a back up for an added safety factor.
- Less physiological stress on our bodies-we’re expending less energy trying to stay warm!
As you can clearly see, there are a number of benefits to diving a drysuit…the most obvious being simply the ability to dive more closer to home!
When it comes to purchasing a drysuit and training, there are also quite a few things to consider. First off would be your budget, how much do you want to spend on the suit itself? training? yearly upkeep and maintenance? Most brands and dive shops are known for their outstanding customer service and offer outstanding maintenance and replacement plans, however all suits require periodic maintenance and repair and this needs to be factored into your budget. Also, be sure to ask your local dive shop about training discounts when purchasing a suit. Secondly would be what type of suit best fits your needs. Shell or crushed neoprene? While a shell type suit is lighter weight, you would need to purchase and wear an undergarment for thermal protection. With a crushed neoprene suit, undergarments are optional depending on dive environment and your cold tolerance but they are a great deal bulkier than the former type.
While drysuit diving will add to the expense and training requirement of your diving, there are obvious benefits. So instead of sitting inside all winter in your sweats, watching it snow and searching warm dive destinations on the Internet, grab a drysuit, get trained and fear the cold no longer!