Dry Suit Training

Why You Need Dry Suit Training

Once you determine that a dry suit is right for you and the diving you do, the next step is to sign up for a dry suit training. When I first started diving a dry suit, there were no dry suit classes being offered at my dive center. I had to learn to dive dry through trial and error, which greatly increased my anxiety about diving dry and greatly increased how long it took to become comfortable in a dry suit.

Now every spring and fall divers rush to enroll in dry suit training classes at Aquatic Adventures where dry suit classes are held regularly and an ample supply of rental dry suits makes it possible for nearly every diver to afford to at least give dry suit diving a try. Believe it or not, the PADI Dry Suit Diver specialty is usually second only to the PADI Enriched Air Diver specialty in total numbers of specialty certifications at Aquatic Adventures year after year.

Dry suit diving is very different from wetsuit diving. This has to do less with the complexity of the dry suit, as I had initially imagined, and more to do with buoyancy control. Here is why.

When most of us learned to dive, we learned to dive in a wetsuit. Other than a couple of pointers about how to get into and out of the suit, none of us needed to be trained in how to use the wetsuit. What we were trained in is how to use the Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) to adjust for changes in buoyancy on our dives. We learned things like the fin pivot and hovering with the BCD, and we were told why we needed to add air to the BCD on descent and release air from the BCD on ascent.

Dry suit divers need to relearn all of these skills. This is because the BCD is usually only used to achieve positive buoyancy on the surface. Under water proper buoyancy is achieved by adding air to the dry suit. This means relearning the fin pivot and hovering by using the dry suit instead of the BCD. It means becoming comfortable with having air inside the dry suit and how to release air from the suit on every ascent or how to quickly release air from the suit in the event of an uncontrolled ascent.

While these skills can quickly be learned, it is important that you are trained by an instructor who is experienced in using a dry suit. A few quick tips, a trip to the pool, and a couple of open water dives later, you will feel as comfortable and safe in a dry suit as you were in your wetsuit.