Stay Warm and Relaxed. This collection of wetsuits, drysuits and accessories offers so many options to choose from — and new technologies are expanding those options by the minute — that there’s no excuse for feeling uncomfortable at depth.
What You Need To Know: Diving Wetsuits
A body loses heat in water almost 25 times faster than in air.
A wetsuit works by allowing water trapped between the body and the neoprene to be warmed by body heat. The thicker the neoprene, the greater the insulation.
Wetsuits are constructed in various densities (thicknesses): The most common are 3, 5 and 7 millimeter, as well as .5 mm “skins” for abrasion protection in warm water.
Some wetsuits use combinations of densities: 3-2, 5-3 or even 7-5-3; these place the densest neoprene in the core areas to maintain warmth, and use the thinner material in arms and legs to lessen the restriction of movement.
Seals around wrists, ankles, the neck and zippers help prevent cold water from being forced inside the wetsuit and flushing out water warmed by the body.
Wetsuits lose density over time. Each time a suit is taken to depth, the bubbles in the neoprene are compressed. That’s also why a brand-new wetsuit will usually require more weight than an old favorite.
Get the Perfect Fit: Wetsuits
Seek professional advice at your local PADI Dive Shop when buying your first wetsuit. Staff can offer advice for your body type and protection needs.
A properly fitting wetsuit should not be too difficult to don and should fit snugly, but not tight enough to restrict circulation.
With the zipper fully engaged, you should be able to bend at the waist and touch your toes without feeling a significant constriction at the neck.