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How Is Puget Sound Diving In The Winter?

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest' started by Coldwater_Canuck, Nov 27, 2008.

  1. Coldwater_Canuck

    Coldwater_Canuck Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Seattle or Ontario
    Hey, so I've spent every winter of my life in Ontario, where it's uh a little cold. Last summer I took my open water course in Puget Sound and loved it.

    I'm currently in Canada and have never even spent a winter in Seattle. I'll be going back in January however. I'd really like to take my Advanced open water and possibly one or two specialty courses between January and May, but I'm just a little worried about the coldness (particularly when getting out).

    I realize a drysuit is the easiest solution here, but I don't really know if I can afford that right now. I'm not too bad with colder temperatures and never felt cold diving in 45 degree (at depth) water in a wetsuit. But I'm still a bit worried. So I guess I"m just asking, in a wet suit, how bad is it? Thanks.
  2. lamont

    lamont Photographer

    It doesn't get much below 45F/5C in the winter. If you're good with that in a wetsuit then you're in pretty good shape.

    Personally, I need drysuit, argon, 400g thinsulate and polypro underwear to deal with the winters here -- and i still freeze my nuts off after 70 minutes here.

  3. cold diver

    cold diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Vancouver, WA
    I have never found it to be that cold in the winter, it is my favorite time to dive up there. I did it in a wet suit for 2+ yrs before going dry.
    As previously mentioned if 45F in a wet suit is OK for you it shouldn't be a problem, just wear a jacket on the surface intervals thats where it will be coldest.
  4. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    Diving in a wetsuit isn't the problem ... surface interval is. You will be fine in the water. But once you get out, evaporation happens, and you start to feel really cold. Two things you can do to help reduce the problem ... bring jugs of warm water (preferably in a cooler to keep them warm ... as warm as your skin can handle). And also bring a blanket or dive parka to put over your wetsuit once you've doused the inside with the warm water. That'll reduce the evaporation effect.

    Diving in winter here is fine ... better vis than summer and a lot of different critters to see.

    If you're planning to take classes, keep in mind that they will involve not just multiple dives in a day, but multiple surface intervals as well. So be prepared.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
  5. PinkPADIgal

    PinkPADIgal PADI Master Instructor

    Many dive centers (including mine) offer an option of renting a drysuit, if purchasing one isn't in the cards.

    I agree with Bob. Winter is a great time to dive but it isn't water but the surface interval that will kill ya.
  6. Coldwater_Canuck

    Coldwater_Canuck Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Seattle or Ontario
    Thanks everyone for your answers. That's fairly relieving, on the surface I'll just make sure to bring a jacket, maybe blanket, etc. My body seems to be pretty good at resisting hypothermia (some of those walks to school in -40 weather as a kid were a good test :D) , so I'll just not be an idiot and should be good.

    The places I've seen, rental pricing is worse. Most places seem to be somewhere between $60-80 for a day (plus $20 if you need the undergarments). That's more than an entire rental package for me. I'll probably get one at some point, it's just that in buying gear I'd prefer to start with a BCD, computer, and reg package, and that's about all I can afford for now.
  7. Doc Intrepid

    Doc Intrepid Instructor, Scuba

    I went diving today. (I was Giving Thanks...) It was great! :D

    On the other hand, like Lamont, I had a drysuit, argon, a Weezle, and thin polypro layer on. I was toasty. For about an hour. After an hour, I started getting chilled.

    Temps were 43 degrees at the low point, and 50 degrees at the highest temp.

    I echo the rest...if you are a hardy sort and you don't mind freezing, dive here in the winter in a wetsuit. But have a plan to get out of your wetsuit during the surface interval to avoid the windchill effect, and some shelter to warm up inside doesn't hurt either.

    You CAN do it...(and I can offer some advice regarding WHERE if you're interested...)

    It's just a bit more challenging in the winter, like the others said, not that the water temps are that much different, but the surface temps and winds are significantly colder.


  8. Gdog

    Gdog Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lacey, Washington
    Also, dont forget one thing Bob mentioned, and the wife and I use every time....A big jug of warm to hot water to douse yourself with......just as important as your pony bottle!!!
  9. ferretchen

    ferretchen Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Flagstaff, AZ, USA
  10. Coldwater_Canuck

    Coldwater_Canuck Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Seattle or Ontario
    ya even in the summer when I was on a dive boat the captain boiled up some water for those of us in wet suits to pour inside, so I guess in the winter it would be especially important.

    But I don't have a pony bottle, nor does anywhere that I know of rent them, so that analogy isn't too great for me :D

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