So what equipment is actually needed to dive dry? Here is a quick list of things that you may need to purchase or rent when dry suit diving. You can contact Aquatic Adventures or your local dive center to find these or other items needed to safely dive dry.
Make sure you have a suit that fits properly. An improperly sized dry suit can be a risk to your safety as it can trap air and cause an uncontrolled ascent. Your local dive center can ensure a proper fit and help you decide which type of material will be best suited for the diving you do. In addition, you may be able to add accessories like dry gloves, pockets, relief zippers, relief valves, and different types of seals and boots to your suit.
Aquatic Adventures sells dry suits from Diving Unlimited International (DUI), BARE, and Hollis. All of these manufacturers prefer that you are properly measured and your measurements are sent in to them to ensure the suit is properly sized. Given the expense of the dry suit and potential dangers involved in a poorly sized suit, it is important that you have experienced professionals assist you in determining your size and selecting your suit options. Several of our sales people have been trained by DUI and BARE to ensure your measurements are taken properly.
Dry suit seals are designed to keep water out of the dry suit. Most dry suits have seals at the neck and wrist, although some temperate water dry suits may also have seals at the ankles. These seals are generally made of latex, neoprene, or silicone. Normally the wrist and ankle seals will be made of latex or silicone. The neck seal is made of neoprene in some suits as neoprene tends to be more comfortable.
Your Aquatic Adventures sales person can help you select the seals that are right for you. As a general rule, latex is a good choice because it is tough and it is easy to replace. Neoprene tends to be more comfortable, but many divers find these seals are less reliable at keeping out water and they must be sized precisely to avoid leakage. Silicone is a relative newcomer and tends to be softer and more comfortable than latex. It also tends to provide a more reliable seal than neoprene. Unfortunately, silicone is not as strong as latex and seems to tear more easily.
When selecting seals, you will also want to decide on user replaceable seals (like the DUI Zip Seals or the SI TECH seals) or the standard glue-in seals. The user replaceable seal systems are more expensive when you initially purchase your suit, but you may find that this cost is quickly recouped by avoiding service fees for seal replacement. In addition, replaceable seals can be changed in the field, so you may not even miss a dive if a seal tears. Again, your dry suit sales person can help you make the right choice given the type of diving you intend to do.
Most manufacturers of undergarments will have at least three levels of warmth for you to choose from. Like a wetsuit, the choice you make will be based upon your tolerance to the cold, the temperature of the water and the duration of your dive. Many new dry suit divers start with a medium weight undergarment as it is adaptable for the greatest range of environments. However, if you routinely dive in very cold water, you may need the warmest undergarment you can get. Just remember that you can quickly overheat on a hot day or in more temperate water if your undergarment keeps you too warm. Most dry suit divers find that they need at least two different undergarments, one for cool and one for cold water, when they start diving dry a lot.
Unlike a wetsuit hood, most dry suit hoods have no skirt and generally seal up against the dry suit neck seal. An exception to this is the DUI Warm Neck, which is a neoprene collar built into the external layer of the dry suit. Most divers use a neoprene dry suit hood. Dry hoods are also available, but divers should understand that a dry hood made of latex or other materials present unique equalizing issues. Use caution with these hoods and make sure you are properly trained before using them.
Gloves are always a necessity when dry suit diving. You can choose from neoprene gloves or mitts or, depending on your suit, dry gloves. Dry gloves attach to the dry suit and keep your hands dry. Like the dry suit, you will need a set of glove liners (similar to the undergarment) for your hands if you use dry gloves. You will also need a way to allow air into the gloves on descent. Talk to your local dive center to find out what options are available to you. Some manufacturers like DUI have their own proprietary dry glove system. Many offer SI TECH dry glove systems as options for their suits. Make sure to discuss the advantages and disadvantages to the various glove options with your dry suit sales person. Some glove choices can lock you into a system that will not work well for you.
You will need to add an inflator hose to your regulator that connects to your dry suit. Not all inflators are the same, so make sure you have a hose that fits your suit. You will also need to decide which side to bring the hose around and whether you want to run the hose underneath the arm or above the shoulder. Your local dive center can help you decide on the proper configuration of this hose and get you a hose of the proper length to ensure comfort, convenience and safety. As a general rule, the dry suit inflator hose is about 36 inches (90 centimeters) long, or about 4 inches (10 centimeters) longer than a BCD inflator hose.
Very rarely will a properly sized set of fins used with wetsuit boots fit a dry suit. Most divers find that they need to go up at least one size when they begin using a dry suit. Make sure to select a set of fins appropriate for dry suit diving as well. Dry suits create far more drag in the water than a wetsuit. As a result, some divers find that soft kicking fins or fins that are positively buoyant do not work as they would like. Your local dive center can recommend an appropriate set of fins for dry suit diving, but you may find that your personal kicking style and comfort are the best judges of what will work for you.
Click HERE to learn about how much dry suits cost.
Not certified to dive a dry suit? See the list of upcoming classes below, and sign up today.
|Start Date||Course Type||End Date||Max. Places||Places Available||Price|
|21 Apr 2023||Dry Suit Diver||06 May 2023||4||4||US$ 195.77|