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How to get warm in 57-degree Fahrenheit water

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by FPDocMatt, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. FPDocMatt

    FPDocMatt Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Middletown, Maryland, USA
    446
    197
    I recently did my Advanced Open Water certification on the Costa del Sol in Spain in 57-degree Fahrenheit water. I was cold, despite wearing a 5-mm neoprene full wet suit, a 5-mm neoprene shorty on top, hood, gloves and boots.

    The wet suit was a medium, and did not fit very tightly. Perhaps that was the problem. I should have had a small.

    The second day, I had an additional 2-mm neoprene under-garment which covered my torso. So on my torso I had a total of 12 mm. Was still cold.

    I never developed shivers, so never felt that I had to abort any of the dives. But the cold made it unpleasant.

    My question is: Is it possible to dive in cold water and actually not be cold? Or should I just restrict my diving in future to warm waters?
     
    beaverdivers likes this.
  2. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver N/A

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
    15,396
    8,190
    Most regular cold-water divers will dive in a drysuit. Most of those consider it essential kit.
     
    beaverdivers, WreckDiver1321 and Jax like this.
  3. cmburch

    cmburch Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Suisun Bay
    1,252
    35
    There are a number of things that can be done to ensure comfort when diving cold water. Sounds like Channel Islands and Southern California Temps. Northern California is about 48-52F.

    If using a wetsuit, it must fit properly. I go to a few shops and try out wetsuits to determine which brand and suit fits me the best. A proper fitting 1 piece semidry with integrated hood may be more comfortable and warmer. If having to use a 5mm Farmer John, Southern California divers sometimes use a 3mm shorty over their wetsuit for Northern California. Some may use a hooded vest for warmth. This of course will make them more buoyant thus requiring more weight on their belt. I first was thinking that it would be best to buy the most comfortable best fitting suit, but realize since traveling it is probably a rental suit. So maybe just have the correct size hooded vest or shorty for added warmth.

    Rest, water and eating properly may help. Some boat divers have warm water to pour in their chest area. There are many 5mm Farmer John SolCal freedivers that install hot water systems on their boats.

    Proper size and thickness hood, booties, and gloves also help. Rental suits may be compressed from use at depth so they are not really 5mm. For me when diving 46-48F, my main problem is gloves. I stay in the water for long periods when freediving. Seams must be sealed properly on neoprene as well. All my wetsuits have seals on the face, wrists, and ankles.

    Take a look at my profile for specific gear I use. It gets to 44F at depth during the summer in Northern California.

    I guess I did not read your original post. A 5mm one piece will not cut it. A 7mm semidry with integrated hood should. A 8-9mm one piece semidry with integrated hood may be too warm for some at 57F. A proper fitting 5mm Farmer John may also work. Not all brand wetsuits will fit.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  4. RTee

    RTee Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ottawa, ON
    1,286
    180
    Matt, around here, most folks will be using a 7mm wetsuit + a 7mm shorty on top and the others...a drysuit. On a personal note I have done 50 mins dives in 61F water wearing only a 7mm wetsuit with a Bare Chicken vest underneath. However, the kit was mine, so it fits me well and my tolerance to cold water is probably much better than yours. In some situations, i will be comfy wearing only a 3mm while my GF requires a 5mm + Chicken vest for the same level of comfort.
     
  5. Garrobo

    Garrobo Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ohio
    3,226
    200
    The one and only time I dove in what might be termed 'cold' water was in the Upper Keys in 60 degree bottom water on the Eagle off of Islamorada in February a few years ago. First dive I used a 3mm, legless, armless shorty with a 3mm vest. No hood and no booties but with thin gloves because of the down rope. The air temp was around 55 and I almost froze my brass off during the 45 minute SI because of a stiff wind. I actually had to jump into the water a couple times to get warm. Second dive I put my 3mm full Henderson on under the shorty because I couldn't get my core temp up. I was nice and toasty for that dive. That's the only time I ever got cold on a dive. The poor boat people who lived down there were really cold because they didn't have the tolerance that a person from up north has. One girl actually had on 15mm of neoprene though she never entered the water. She looked like the Michelen man in black. Smart move on her part really.
     
  6. gcarter

    gcarter Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    8,428
    9,060
    At Morrisons I will do 2 @ 40 minutes with an hour SI wearing a 7mm john and shorty with 5mm hood, boots, and gloves. I have found this comfortable down to 48F.
     
  7. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    14,129
    10,454
    I'm good to high 40s-low 50s in a full 7mm, hooded vest, booties and gloves. This makes for a good solid system with little water exchange. As mentioned above, sealed gloves help, I like the pair I got from ScubaMax. This combo allows me to comfortably dive in SoCal on my couple of visits a year. If these were my usual conditions, I would dive dry.

    Staying warm on the surface, particularly over the SI, helps a lot. I have a fleece lined, windproof, long length, hooded boat coat and have some fleece gloves in the pockets.

    Good diving, Craig
     
  8. Whatevva

    Whatevva Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New England
    55
    29
    January 1st we didn the "Frozen Fin Dive" at Fort Adams in RI...water temp 46 DegF. Wore a 7mm suit, 3/7 hood and vest, 5mm gloves, 7mm boots and was toasty warm for the entire dive. Air temp was just over 50 and I was overheating while out of the water

    381881_10150671922479358_311646954357_11931513_819815404_n.jpg
     
    tac747 likes this.
  9. DivemasterDennis

    DivemasterDennis DivemasterDennis ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lakewood, Colorado
    3,530
    1,544
    I teach in conditions almost exactly like those about which you write. I wear a 3 mil hooded vest under a 5 mil hyperstretch full wet suit, with 5 mil boots and 3 mil gloves and am warm. I am also 5'11" tall and weight 200 pounds. Your body mass and type is a factor. I have also been very comfortable in the same conditions in a 6.5 Mares semi dry suit with hood, boots and gloves. The hooded vest is my preference, though. Hood is critical, as are good boots and gloves. I have dove with people who paid plenty of attention to their core, and not enough to extremities, especially their head. And fit is everything. If you are going to be diving in cold water regularly, you should buy your own exposure suit- and a dry suit or semi-dry (much less expensive) should be strongly considered.
    DivemasterDennis
     
    beaverdivers likes this.
  10. gcarter

    gcarter Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    8,428
    9,060
    I see your mask is on your forehead. Were you very distressed? Why is your friend grinning at the camera instead of rushing to your aid?

    :)
     
    Sheri SGR likes this.

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