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How to get warm in 57-degree Fahrenheit water

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

  1. bleeb

    bleeb Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    1,688
    72
    As others have mentioned, a good fit to minimize water flow in and out is important. However, it shouldn't be so tight as to constrict blood flow, or stretch and decrease insulation. (That's the compromise with the stretchy neoprenes vs the regular ones.)

    A lesser issue is that neoprene's insulating value slowly breaks down as it's compressed and re-expands. Roughly speaking, considerable insulating value may have been lost after a couple of hundred deep dives. Rental suits often get a lot of use this way, and might not be as effective if not new. Folds and creases are also immediately bad, although the small area reduces the impact.
     
  2. bpotkin

    bpotkin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: So Cal.
    85
    14
    I dive the channel islands in a 7mm perfect fitting wet suit with a hooded vest and gloves. However
    I did just purchase a drysuit for the same diving conditions
     
    beaverdivers likes this.
  3. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    36,349
    13,619
    As stated, fit is extremely important for the proper function of a wetsuit, and 5 mils, in my mind, is completely inadequate for the temperatures you describe. (I wear a 5 mil suit for teaching in the POOL, and often feel chilled by the end of an hour and a half.) Our students in Puget Sound, where the water temperatures are in the low to mid 50's in the summertime, wear a 7 mil suit with a 7 mil core warmer, thick hood, gloves and boots -- and they get cold.

    A lot of staying warm is husbanding what I call "thermal units" throughout the entire dive process. If the air temperatures are cool, bundle up on the way to the dive site. You should be right on the point of sweating, right up until you put on your wetsuit. Set your gear up in warm surface clothes, and don't forget a hat. Dress only when everything is ready. Do your dive plan review and gear checks on land; don't get in the water until you are ready to go. During surface interval, get OUT of the wet stuff, at least part way, and wrap up in warm, dry insulation. Again, don't forget the hat! Put your hood and gloves into hot water before you redon them. Move around -- muscle activity generates significant heat, even if it's just walking back and forth. Your goal, again, is to be close to sweating before you get in the water again. Just feeling as though you are no longer cold is not enough.

    My husband did our first six months or so of Puget Sound diving wet. He said there was very little difference between wet and dry . . . for the FIRST dive. A well fitted and adequately thick wetsuit CAN keep you comfortable, if thermal management otherwise is efficient. But me, I'd dive dry!
     
    beaverdivers and scubajim 1 like this.
  4. Kourtjestr

    Kourtjestr Registered

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Maine
    64
    11
    Just got certified end of October. My last dive, water temp was about 50*, air temp similar. I was comfortable in and out of the water for 3-4 hours in just a 7mm john (so, 14mm core). Very toasty, no sign of shivering until it came time to go back to street clothes in the parking lot.
     
  5. dumpsterDiver

    dumpsterDiver Banned

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location:
    9,003
    4,673
    All good advice. When i used to wear "scuba" wetsuits for cold water, I found that I need a full 7 mm (2 piece/Farmer john and step in jacket) suit, a 3 mm hooded vest, a 5 mm shorty hood over that (so I'm wearing a double hood), 7 mm mittens, wool socks under 7 mm booties and I am pretty good.


    Later, I found out about "freedive" type wetsuits. A lot warmer and less neoprene....7mm, Two pieces, FJ pants, attached hood, NO ZIPPERS!, and a smooth rubber interior to keep water out and stop it from moving around. I especially like not needing a tight neck seal to keep water moving into my suit. An attached hood really can increase comfort in the water.

    A 7mm freedive suit is much more comfortable compared to my old scuba wetsuit for cold water. I can even get away with wearing neoprene 5-finger gloves rather than mittens! Add a rubber freedive weight belt to keep the cooler water isolated below your waist (and the piss out of your ears) and you may enjoy the diving.
     
  6. krawlings

    krawlings Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lawrenceville Ga.
    1,085
    92
    You may want to try the new Lava Core suits I have a hood that I ware under my 5mm hood . And it keeps my head warm in 46* water temp. I do dive dry.i dove with a gentlemen that tried the full jump suit lava core (3mm value rating)w/ a 5 mill wetsuit and he said he was warm . we where in 44* temp water @ 116' . They fit snug and will fit under your wet suit ,the material is really thin.
     
  7. kathydee

    kathydee Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: So Florida
    3,831
    389
    Another vote for a drysuit from a warm water diver who converted to 55-48F temps after 200 dives in 80+ degrees :)!

    The learning curb takes a little while to move through, but it's so worth the effort to be dry and warm :).
     
    beaverdivers likes this.
  8. Whatevva

    Whatevva Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New England
    55
    29
    OMG...I knew SOMEONE was going to mention that.......

    You missed one other important thing...look closely
     
  9. Kourtjestr

    Kourtjestr Registered

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Maine
    64
    11
    Well, the first thing (other than the mask issue) that I noticed is that your buddy must be really good at navigation so there's no need for long surface swims, since he seems to have forgotten his snorkel....:wink:
     
  10. mdb

    mdb ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    5,739
    4,377
    I normally dive in Northern California. The water temp this time of year is about 54 F.

    I prefer to dive in a wetsuit. My suit is a custom 7mm skin two FJ with hood attached no zips.

    The suit drys very quickly and is low drag and easy to doff and don.

    In Puget sound I keep my Apollo bio-dry suit. It is a 4mm micro cell neoprene suit. Just a minimum
    polartec undergarment keeps me plenty warm. The suit drys slower than my skin 2 wetsuit but it swims
    like a wetsuit with no bag effect-nice and streamlined.
     

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