Do you need a Wet Suit for 60ft in the Carribean?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by 00wabbit, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. 00wabbit

    00wabbit Manta Ray

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    I'm a naturally insulated person and I was wondering if I will need a wetsuit in the Carribean? I signed up for dives from the cruise ship excursions. They are max 55 to 60ft mostly shallower and not too long. I have all my own equipment except a wetsuit.

    I did my open water certification in a quarry where the water got down to 61. I was wearing a 2piece 7mil suit. At times I actually found it too warm. I would pull the arm and leg seals to let the cool water in. I am naturally insulated and I tend to get warm easily.

    What do you think? I have signed up for 2 tank dives on 4 different days. I think I might go without the wetsuit the first day to see how it goes. Then if I get chilly I will rent the following days?
    In liue of a wet suit I am thinking of just getting a long sleeve exposure shirt to help block the sun and protect against minor scrapes. Also so I don't blind the other divers with my white belly :)
     
  2. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
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    The Caribbean water temps. can vary from maybe 75 to 85F depending on location. Your plan seems OK. I brought only my body suit for abrasion protection but was fine in 76F. Of course everyone is different regarding cold. You'll know for sure the second trip.
     
  3. dmoore19

    dmoore19 Denizen of the PUB ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Colorado, United States
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    I would at least use a rash guard. Protects against sunburn and also stinging things. If it isn't warm enough you can rent a wetsuit. If the cold doesn't bother you at least a rash guard will protect your "white belly" and the other divers.:D

    They are inexpensive and easy to pack taking almost no space and weigh very little.

    Neo Sport by Henderson Lycra Skin Suit
     
  4. Kryssa

    Kryssa Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
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    What month of the year? What area of the Caribbean? 76F is a lot different than 82F. The form, I'd say see if you can rent one. The latter, you should be fine :)
     
  5. DiveMaven

    DiveMaven Great White

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    I would definitely agree that some sort of exposure protection is a good idea. There are lots of hydroids and little jellies that you can come in contact with unintentionally that will leave nice stings on unprotected skin.
     
  6. I'm the same way and usually dive in just a rashguard and some boardshorts; perfect combo when using an AL80 or AL100. Never really get cold, and have better bouyancy. I might wear a 2mm shorty when using a ST120 due to the core temperature drop that can happen on longer dives, and for help with bouyancy when using a heavier tank.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  7. Splitlip

    Splitlip Surface Interval Member

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    I don't know when or where you are diving, but even in the best of conditions, you'll want full body protection as others have stated. Sun and critters.

    I really, really like the Scubapro .5mm steamer. You are not "hot" at the surface, nor in the water. But that half mil actually helps even in 84 degree water.

    The typical nylon skins would offer protection against sun and stings, but you'll look so much better in neoprene than nylon. Nothing is worth doing unless you're looking cool doing it.
     
  8. RonFrank

    RonFrank Orca

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
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    I always wear a exposure suit for protection against fire coral, jellyfish, and monsters! Its cool to have a deep tan and dive in shorts until your body is covered by welts and rashes!
     
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  9. caribean-ted

    caribean-ted Single Diver

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Barrie, ont Canada
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    I dove Jamaica, ocho rios in march this year, no suit just bcd and tanks etc... It was very comfortable to 150 ft. No change in temps as far as I could tell and I hate the cold!!

    Best to ask someone from the place your diving from, they will know for sure and can give you all the info you need.
     
  10. farsidefan1

    farsidefan1 Humbolt Squid

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
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    I started out wearing just a T shirt in the following locations: Belize in December, water temp about 80 (2 dives per day), Roatan in May, water temps in low 80s (4 dives per day), Bahamas in July water the mid 80s (2 dives per day), Red sea in September, water temps in 77 (2 dives per day. During all these dives I just figured that a little shivering was the standard way to feel , more as the week wore on. After the red sea however I decided that was stupid. I am also naturally insulated (I'm writing this from my hosptal bed 6 days after bypass surgery) so I'm going to try to reduce that factor. I got my weighting and trim down to where my air lasted pretty well (sac rate .55 to .60) during that first trip to Roatan. I then purchased a custom wetshirt (off the rack does not fit well at 5' 11" and 245). Using the shirt on subsiquent trips to Roatan, Fiji, GBR etc. I no longer end dives shivering and my sac rate dropped again down to between .38 and .5 so now I am one of those divers for whom an al 80 lasts as long as needed. Hope this is helpful for your decision making process. Happy diving.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
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  11. herbdb

    herbdb Manta Ray

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    I don't agree with some of the previous posters. Full suit is absolutely unnecessary. I left my 3/2 shorty at home last trip to Bonaire and had no problems with up to 4 dives a day in a swimsuit and tee. I think a short 3/2 is great and usually dive one in tropical waters.

    Good buoyancy control is the answer to most stings and scrapes. If I get one I try even harder to make sure I don't do it again.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  12. Splitlip

    Splitlip Surface Interval Member

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    Ron and I are not always in agreement, but here we are certainly on the same page. IMO protection from "exposure" means more than just temperature. I don't know about the Islands, but I can't recall seeing a States side dive pro diving with exposed skin, but for perhaps face, hands and maybe neck and ankles.
     
  13. ianr33

    ianr33 Orca

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    You will most likely be just fine. Lots of people dive in shorts and T shirt.

    Personally I always wear a 3mm full suit. Seems like wearing nothing compared to a drysuit. I need the warmth on longer , deeper dives and it gives good sun protection. (I burn easy)

    You might consider a thin shorty. Cost should be well under $100 and packs up small.
     
  14. agilis

    agilis Great White

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    Depends where and depends when. The inner islands of the Caribbean, like Cayman and Jamaica tend to have warmer water than some of the outer islands that are affected by the Atlantic. I was in Dominica in March, and surface water temps ran 78-79F. I was fine with a lycra skin, but some people needed a 3mm. When water temps get into the 80s a skin is all most people need, and it sounds like that's your best bet. They provide good protection from the sun, and also offer some protection from those small nearly invisible stinging jellyfish that appear ar various times and places, and can easily ruin your day. Tee shirts and trunks are semi-ok, but not nearly as good as a nice lycra skin which is tiny, weightless, and very comfortable. Consult the mfg size guide and then order two sizes larger. Seriously.
     
  15. 00wabbit

    00wabbit Manta Ray

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    I'll be in St.Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Martin in Mid July.

    Based on all the great responses so far I am thinking of one of these: Hyperflex Polyolefin Men's 50/50 Long Sleeve Rash Guard, Black It's a rash guard type shirt with 1.5mm neoprene for the chest and back. Does anyone have experience with these? Leisure Pro is nearby so I will go there and try them on.
     
  16. billwil

    billwil Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Diego, CA
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    A couple of Octobers ago I dove all over the western Caribbean (84-86 degrees), and was so, so happy to dive in swim trunks and a workout shirt (I dive mostly in California). I don't run into coral as a matter of course, so had no problems with stings and what-not. Jellies can get you, but I've never had it happen beyond slight stings on the sensitive skin on my face, which a wetsuit wouldn't have helped with, of course.

    I would stay away from cotton as it can make you cold on the surface and cause chaffing. Any simple man-made material t-shirt should work great, though. I found it amazingly liberating to be diving so free and with only 6 lbs of ballast. It was amazing...and being expose DOES make you think more about what and where you touch, which is good for everyone (including your own buoyancy skills). I say, "Go for it!"

    BTW, I'm no physiologist, but I've been fit, way overweight, and then fit again over my 18 year diving career...and I'm always warmer when fit. I wouldn't put a lot of credence in the whole natural insulation thing. When fit, I think the body just works and regulates better in general. Remember, all that insulation still needs blood, oxygen, etc., and exposes a lot more surface area to the elements...not to mention circulation and other problems associated with the "insulation". Like I said...I'm no expert, but do have first-hand experience.

    Whatever you do...have a great time!
    Sent from my Lumia 900 Windows Phone using Board Express
     
  17. RonFrank

    RonFrank Orca

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    Location: Conifer, CO
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    I was diving Jupiter with a guy who was covered in a skin rash on one side, open sores on one arm. I asked what it was and his response.....no idea. He had over 1000 divers but told me he was wearing a full suit from now on.

    I know very few dive professionals who dive without protection. From the sun, from jellyfish, from fire coral, from the occasional run in with coral or a ship hull. We all want to avoid marine life but if you dive you will run into things even if just jellyfish in a jellyfish storm. :D If you were diving in FL last late summer/fall you know what I am talking about!

    It only takes one time and then you learn. Its easier to learn online but some folk have thick skulls.
     
    shoredivr likes this.
  18. This is good advice. Your choices should reflect the conditions that you dive in, but personal preferences are important too. I have a skin rash from some stings leftover from my last Cozumel trip in May, but I would still never wear a 3mm full in summer down there regardless. It's a compromise I'm more than happy to accept in exchange for the freedom of not having to deal with the downsides of wearing a full wetsuit.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  19. KD8NPB

    KD8NPB Manta Ray

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    I would at least have a poleolefin shirt in the caribbean.

    For multiple dives a day, you may want to consider a 3mm jumpsuit.
     
  20. cbm32

    cbm32 Manta Ray

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    I dove St Thomas in December and January in board shorts and a short sleeve rash guard and was just fine. I also did a LOT Of dives at different places in Fiji in the same outfit. Had one problem with a nasty rash when I encountered some fire coral on an ascent rope. The current was ripping and the DM insisted I hang onto the rope while doing our safety stop. I had no idea what that crap on the rope was......I will next time though LOL.

    I completed my Fiji trip diving in the same outfit but will invest in a dive skin soon.
     

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