Some people think that cold water diving is boring since the lower temperatures don’t play host to the bright and colorful marine life of the tropics. But this is not entirely true. The variety of marine life in cold water may surprise you – from hooded nudibranchs and giant Pacific octopuses of British Columbia or the magnificent kelp forests and playful pinnipeds of California to the leafy sea dragons of South Australia or the leopard seals and penguins of Antarctica. What’s more, there are many great shipwrecks and natural wonders hidden in the icy waters. For instance, you can explore the best places to scuba dive or the magical tectonic crack of Iceland or dive the well-preserved wrecks in the Great Lakes, Canada’s Nova Scotia, or United Kingdom’s Scapa Flow.
Beyond that, cold water diving is a great opportunity to extend your dive season by a few months and acquire some useful new skills.
Things You Need To Wear During Scuba Diving
Scuba diving gear converts ordinary humans into underwater explorers. While the world is full of beautiful places to dive, not all of them are in warm tropical waters. In fact, some of the top dive sites are in cold water. Think Socorro Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, or the Silfra Crack to name a few.
So what’s holding you back from diving into these chilly waters? Just that, chilly water, of course! But that’s hardly an excuse with all the gear out there today. For those new to cold water diving, knowing what you’ll need and what you don’t can be tough. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of everything about scuba diving equipment that you need to wear for scuba diving and be comfortable and warm while diving. So. let’s check out.
The best option to stay warm while diving in cold water is to wear a dry suit. It’s been the standard for advanced and tech divers for a long time but now even recreational divers are choosing these suits to extend the diving season and explore the cooler waters of the world for scuba diving jobs. Aside from the drysuit itself, there are a few accessories you’ll need to go along with it.
It seals you off from the water. These suits are certainly more expensive than a wetsuit and will keep you warm and comfortable underwater. If you plan to dive a lot in cold water, seriously consider investing in a dry suit.
Fit is extremely important to make sure to wear for scuba diving and you’re comfortable in the suit and is one of the top factors when choosing one.
Undergarments And Socks
The drysuit keeps water out but it’s only a shell, like a rain jacket. To make sure you stay warm, you’ll need to layer up. Fourth Element’s Xerotherm base layers are made using a special material that was originally developed for NASA, the base layer traps a layer of air (a much better insulator than water) next to the skin, keeping you drier and more comfortable.
Drysuit gloves work by forming a seal against the wrist seals of the drysuit. Most gloves use a ring system to attach the gloves but some companies have developed their own way to do it. For those diving with gloves to wear for scuba diving helps you to keep your hands warmer and drier than any other dry glove system.
A diving hood prevents you from losing heat from your head which is especially important in very cold water. There are hoods that are specifically designed to wear for scuba diving with a drysuit.
Many drysuits come with an attached soft sock that’s designed to be worn with a rugged overboot. For walking on rocky shores as well as slippery docks, a good pair of drysuit boots is a must. It’s also much cheaper to replace the boot than it is to repair a puncture in a dry suit.
Scuba Dive Helmet
The helmet seals the whole of the diver’s head from the water, allows the diver to see clearly underwater, provides the diver with breathing gas, protects the diver’s head when doing heavy or dangerous work, and usually provides voice communications with the surface. If a helmeted diver becomes unconscious but is still breathing, the helmet will remain in place and continue to deliver breathing gas until the diver can be rescued. In contrast, the scuba regulator typically used by recreational divers must be held in the mouth by bite grips, and it can fall out of an unconscious diver’s mouth and result in drowning.
Drysuits aren’t for everyone. They’re expensive and you need special training to use one. So if you only plan to dive dry a few times a year, it might not be worth it. The next best option is a good quality, thick wetsuit (7mm+) and some accessories. Such as;
7 mm wetsuit
It’s possible to live comfortably in cold water, but you’ll need a good wetsuit. It recycles your body heat into infrared energy for greater warmth, increased endurance, and faster recovery. It also has lock wrist seals that keep more water out and form a snug, comfortable seal.
5 mm Gloves
Gloves are a small piece of gear that can make a big difference when it comes to staying warm underwater. Warmth and dexterity are the main factors you’ll be concerned about when you decide to buy. This glove uses stretch neoprene with glued, stitched, and welded seams to give a close fit that almost eliminates the entry of water, whilst maximizing flexibility and warmth.
One of the best ways to add warmth to your wetsuit setup is a hooded vest. The 6mm Aqua Lung vest is made with various thicknesses of super-stretch neoprene to provide maximum insulation in high heat-loss areas while making the vest easy to put on and take off. It is a must to wear for scuba diving.
In extremely cold water, the scuba regulator air valve can freeze when the moisture in the diver’s breath touches the cold regulator, causing it to free flow. To be sure this doesn’t happen to you, use a regulator that is specifically designed for cold water diving. The Atomic M1 regulator uses state-of-the-art metals specifically chosen for extreme diving situations.
Backup And Supply
An issue that’s common with cold water diving is that your air runs out quicker than it would in warm water. Having a safe backup air supply is the best way to avoid this dangerous situation. Spare Air is the smallest redundant scuba system available with enough air to get you to the surface in an out-of-air emergency. It’s always nice to have some added peace of mind!
From above we get that the best undergarments will still keep you warm if you are a little damp, but a flooding suit can be particularly dangerous in cold water. A good measure of how well an undersuit will insulate you is the amount of buoyancy that it has. Generally, more buoyancy means more trapped air, and it’s that air that keeps you warm. A good hood and gloves are also essential to wear for scuba diving.
Personally, I wear dry gloves for any cold diving. Electrical heating has become more popular and easy to acquire, but be careful of it. Batteries inside the drysuit can lead to nasty burns if the conductors get damaged, so external batteries are the safe way forward. And be mindful about running the heating all the time, if you have deco to do, it is better to try and avoid using the heating too much on the bottom phase, but keep it for the decompression. There has been a lot of research done by the NEDU about this, and cold on dive, warm on deco is the safest way forward.
Finally, don’t be afraid to call the dive early if you are getting cold. Remember, we dive for fun, so if you’re not enjoying it, then get out. This article above will guide you on the things you need to wear for scuba diving and it is a must. Yet, DIVE LIKE A PRO!