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How much extra neoprene for repetitive dives on liveaboard?

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by Esprise Me, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Esprise Me

    Esprise Me Kelp forest dweller Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    I've just booked my first LOB to Turks & Caicos in January. I understand the average water temperature that time of year is 79F/26C. I've comfortably dived in water that temperature in a 3mm, but only for 2 dives per day; this trip offers 5 dives per day including a night dive. I know I'm often colder on subsequent dives, and I've never done more than 3 dives in one day. I currently own a 7mm wetsuit, a 7mm hood, 5mm booties, 1mm gloves, and a Sharkskin jacket, all of which I use together for local diving (water was 56F/13C at depth yesterday and I wussed out of the third dive). I'm open to buying and/or renting more stuff, but I want to try to pack light. I also hope to do more traveling to tropical locations for diving in the future, though I've never brought gear on vacation and I'm not sure how I feel about that vs. just renting as needed when I get there (which so far has worked out fine.)

    I've seen charts offering guidance on wetsuit thickness; has anyone come up with a rule of thumb on how much extra neoprene you'll need for 5 dives vs.1?

    Considering my cold tolerance is below average but not nonexistent, should I buy and bring a 3mm? A 5mm? Should I just bring my 7mm and to hell with the weird looks? Should I rent instead? As far as renting, I have a pretty average size and shape; I've never had an issue getting rental wetsuits that fit properly. But I'm planning on bringing the rest of my gear (which I'm in the process of acquiring now), so that would be the only rental. Thanks!
  2. RyanT

    RyanT ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
    An important factor influencing how cold you are on subsequent dives is your ability (or inability) to warm up during the surface interval. If the air temps are relatively cool and/or not sunny, you can continue to lose heat during the surface interval and that will contribute to being colder on subsequent dives. I suspect you'll have plenty of opportunity to warm up in the sun between dives for this trip. I'm not especially cold tolerant, so for me personally, I would bring a hooded vest to wear under the 3 mm. I sure wouldn't bring the 7 mm! Of course YMMV.
    Hickdive and Esprise Me like this.
  3. BoltSnap

    BoltSnap Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
    3 - 5mm with some sort of an undervest (2mm) just in case. A thin hood is very important.
  4. Steelyeyes

    Steelyeyes Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Kralendijk, Bonaire
    For those temps I use a 5 mil one piece. I bring a 2 mil vest with hood but generally only wear it for night dives.
    Esprise Me and Lorenzoid like this.
  5. rongoodman

    rongoodman ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Albany, NY
    I'm thinking about a trip there in December and will bring a 5mm suit and hood and probably the hooded vest too, just in case. Which boat are you going on?
    Lorenzoid likes this.
  6. Neilwood

    Neilwood Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Scotland
    A lot depends on your personal tolerance for cold.

    I have done 2 LOB in the Red Sea with average water temps of 25C. There were a range of different outfits in use from Tshirt/shorts, 3mm full wetsuits, 5mm shorties, 5mm full suits and 7mm full suits. Not one person complained about the temperatures all week.I was in a 3mm full suit on one and 5mm full suit on the other (cooler deck temperatures).

    I would say that it is a lot easier to cool a warmer suit by flushing it than it is to try to make a cooler suit work.
    Steelyeyes, Esprise Me and FinnMom like this.
  7. Ministryofgiraffes

    Ministryofgiraffes Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Toronto
    it's not like sitting on a 2 tank excursion boat. you get out, strip, hot shower/robe, hot drink etc. for an hour or more. i carry 3 x 1mm neoskins for liveaboards in places like turks, but i would also happily nightdive in a rashie. I think the key is likely not getting back into the same suit when it's wet. You should bring 2 and rotate and you may want the 5mm for later in the day.

    don't forget neoprene socks for your boots. the blisters will get you after 3 days 15+ dives...

    noone is going to look at you weird on a Caribbean aggressor trip. 60%+ are usually retired or at least over 50 and it's rare you see people under 40. Most are donning 5+ layer spacesuits towards the end of the day :)
    CoolCanuck and Esprise Me like this.
  8. Graveyarddiver

    Graveyarddiver Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Carolina
    I reccamned a full 3mm, and bring a hood. Take your suit off between dives, and throw on a sweatshirt or jacket if you not warming up quick enough. An extra suit really won’t change your comfort during the dive.
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  9. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    Agree. I did 3 dives a day in 76F water in Panama in winter with just a body suit. Don't know about 5. You just have to estimate based on your tolerance. Agree with Neilwood in that it's better to be overdressed than underdressed. The only true way to know is to do 5 dives in a pool of that temperature. Any advice from others is only good for their own tolerance.
    When I get to NY next week I'll do a 2 dive day in N. Connecticut in my shorty in maybe 64F water. It will be chilly. But the rest of my 7 weeks there it will warm up (to low 70s) and the shorty is more than enough. Now the bulky wetsuit isn't taking up space in the tiny trailer. But, I know my tolerance, and can cut that first dive day short if too chilly.
  10. Darnold9999

    Darnold9999 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Victoria BC Canada
    Respectfully disagree. I take multiple suits - almost always getting into a dry suit. Makes a huge difference. Getting into a dry suit and then climbing into a rib to drive to the site might add 20 min to half an hour to a dive. If the suit is wet you are cooling off pretty much the whole time even before you get in the water. A dry wetsuit is just the opposite - you are getting warmer until you hit the water. 5 dives a day that is a significant difference.
    Esprise Me likes this.

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