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CoolDives Blog

What is a Scuba Dry Suit?

Scuba Dry Suit - If you are diving in cold water, or will be exposed to cool water or air temperatures (like here in B.C.!) over a prolonged period, you will want to invest some extra time and money in this essential piece of equiptment.

A drysuit is a piece of protective scuba equipment that is generally made of either foam or crushed neoprene, vulcanized rubber or heavy duty nylon, and provides you with warmth and comfort during your cool water dives.

The main difference between this and a wet suit is the use of tight seals around the neck and wrists, a waterproof zipper, and connected booties to keep the water out. There is also a low-pressure inflation hose attached and a purge valve, that allows you to inflate/deflate the suit as you descend/ascend.

Since water is kept out, you can wear casual clothes underneath which provides for extra warmth and protection. The drysuit is usually finished off with a regular neoprene hoodie and gloves, which do allow water in (not into the sealed dry suit) but do offer some protection from the cold and elements.

Things To Consider When Buying Or Using A Drysuit:

• A scuba dry suit is a little more expensive than a wet suit and require a little extra training – but in cooler waters they are worth the extra time and money

• Choose a size and style that fits you comfortably with a layer of clothes underneath and ensure the wrist and neck seals are snug

• The cooler the water, the more thermal protection you wear underneath

• It is more difficult to maintain your buoyancy control since you are adding more air as you descend, and purging (either automatically or manually depending on the circumstances) the air as you head for the surface

• Be extremely careful not to use both your BCD and your suit for buoyancy since ascending too rapidly could cause serious injury

• Rinse the exterior of your drysuit in fresh water after each dive, and ensure it is completely dry prior to rolling it up and placing it in your dive bag, in a cool dry spot

• If the inside of your drysuit got wet during a dive, it must be rinsed and thoroughly dried as well. Failure to completely dry suit will cause it to smell, grow mold and mildew, and disintegrate prematurely

• Regularly lubricate the zipper using wax sticks purchased from your nearest dive center

• When putting your scuba dry suit on, either spray the rubber neck and wrist seals with proper silicone spray from your dive shop or sprinkle them with a little talcum powder. This will make getting in and out a little easier

• Step in fully, and pull the drysuit on. If it is fairly hot out and you are not diving right away, only pull it on up to your waist to avoid overheating

• Bend over slightly and put your arms in a bear-hug like shape, and have a buddy carefully and completely zip up your dry suit, ensuring the rubber seal is flat under the zipper

• With a buddy, put on the rest of your gear and don’t forget to connect the low pressure inflator

• As you go deeper, you will feel the suit compressing. Press the inflator button a little at a time until the pressure is relieved

• As you ascend, either press your purge valve (usually on one of the dry suit arms) or roll slightly so that your exhaust valve is higher than the rest of your body which allows the air to escape

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