Tuesday 5 November 2013

4 things everyone should consider before diving a dry suit

It is that time of the year again! The water temperature has dropped to the low 20s and the drysuit comes back out of storage.

technical diving in drysuit in cyprus

Drysuits are excellent pieces of equipment for scuba divers but you have to buy the right suit for you and have the correct training to use it safely.

So, when you dive with a drysuit, you need to consider a couple things

1. What Material is it made from?

Drysuits are usually either neoprene (sometimes crushed neoprene) or tri-laminate. Both have different properties and affect the way you dive.

2. Undersuits/ Thermals

drysuits require undergarments to keep warm
Neoprene drysuits generally have more warmth than tri-laminate and so the diver doesn't need to wear the same amount of thermals as you would in tri-laminate. Be aware though that if the neoprene is not crushed, the buoyancy changes when changing depth can be quite severe.

Obviously the amount of thermals you wear and their thickness is also going to affect buoyancy, so be sure to complete a proper weight check when altering them

3. Fit & Flexibility

Generally speaking you do not want a drysuit that is restrictive at all but if you are a technical diver, you will want to consider your flexibility in a drysuit. This is particularly the case when diving open circuit, twin tanks. If you have not got the manouverability to reach your tank valves, you will be unable to complete the basic drills and skill sets.

On the other end of the scale, if you have a dry suit that is too big for you, it will be too easy for air to migrate around it while you dive.  This causes you to be less stable in the water and leads to an uncomfortable dive.

4. Buoyancy Control

I see many divers who come to dive in Cyprus in the winter in their drysuits trying to use the drysuit as their only means of buoyancy.  While I realise this is often the way divers are taught to dive in their drysuits, it is wrong.

You have a buoyancy control device (BCD) so use it!

As I said before, the more air in the suit, the more it migrates around and the less stable you are in the water. You will also find that you will get gas bubbling out of the neck seal when there is too much in there.

Divers should only use the drysuit to take off the squeeze and other buoyancy should come from the BCD or wing. This will make you a more controlled diver and give you a more comfortable experience.

While many divers say diving in a drysuit takes a lot of effort and is uncomfortable, I have to admit, it is my preferred way of diving especially at this time of year. With the correct training and weighting, I am sure you will love drysuit diving too.

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