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Dry suits for scuba diving for beginners
The best place to go to that I know of in Lancashire is a shop called Northern Divers
near Standish, Wigan. Having no experience of dry suits I found them to be very helpful and easy to talk to.
When I first got my dry suit I found it very tight and some times hard to breath around the neck seal. But after 5 dives the seal itself seems to shape itself to your neck and after a while you dont notice it. When I first tried inflation with out the stab jacket or C.B.D the air goes straight into the dry suit itself . This can be quite hard because the air goes straight to the highest point which tends to be your shoulders and it can put you of your balance. But it the same with the neck seal you will get used to it. The suits them selves are very good at what they do which is to keep you dry and warm but you do sweat a lot when I first tried it on my shirt was soaking with sweat and I had it on for only 5 minutes. For all you first time buyers like me I would say you should get a suit with boots on because some dry suits have sock time boots on which can rip easily. Its about £30-£40 to get them added but it is well worth the extra cost. The suit should come with a Hose which connects to the oxy equipment. Also a cotton type jacket and pants which are called a woolly bear this makes the dry suit more comfortable to wear and also soaks up any sweat. They are also provide extra insulation against the cold. They also come in several tog ratings depending on the divers need, tog ratings are the level of warmth the jacket provides for you Woolly bears can be anything from 30 to around 80 pounds but you will need one to dive or you could improvise. For your first dry suit, hire one for a weekend and try it out but do remember the suit will be uncomfortable and you will get used to it. But please make sure you get expert advice before attempting to dive in one they are easy to master but as we all know in diving the little mistakes can be fatal.
*Keeps you very warm and dry
*Protects you a bit under water from coral an other hazards
*You are able to let you dive in water which are to cold for wetsuits
*Easy to look after there tough and can take a lot of wear an tear
*Very good for beach dives for going in and out of the water in and you can wash of the sand with ease
*As long as you wash it down and oil the zips it can last for years and years
*Some times to hot for you
*Very stiff and hard to move around in for the first few days but that does go
I have been on 12 dives with my dry suit and it is now like a second skin I hardly notice that I am wearing but that is mostly because I got mine personally made to fit me. Also if your looking at buying gloves and hoods with it, I would recommend a make called Kevlar.
I hope that this review will help you decide whether or not to buy a dry suit but personal diving in Britain you will need one an I am glad that I choose to buy mine for 160 pounds
Thank you for reading Owen Wordley (sexylof)
I like nothing better of a weekend than climbing into a big rubber suit, applying some KY Jelly, attaching a few hoses and straps and then spending my time in a place with like minded people where some of my senses are restricted breathing strange gases. Sounds like the latest reality TV show from Channel 4 or one of those freak shows from late night Channel 5 viewing. Welcome to the world of the scuba diver in the cold waters of the UK.
The core function of a dry suit is given in the title, it is to keep you dry. To do this it must fit you well, have sufficient seals at neck and wrists and made of a material that does not allow water through. It also needs to be hard wearing to cope with potential damage when entering a wreck or impact with other underwater hazards. In addition to keeping you dry the second most important aspect is warmth provided either directly by the suit or through the use of a thermal under suit.
Dry suits can be made of a variety of materials, including thick neoprene, crushed or compressed neoprene, laminated layers of butyl rubber or other rubberized material. The different types of materials used have different benefits and also have an impact upon the cost. On the whole suits fall into two distinct categories, either neoprene or membrane suits.
Neoprene or trilaminate suits provide a more snug fit, using a thick compressed neoprene make it easier to maintain constant buoyancy and also provide some thermal qualities which reduces the need to wear bulky undergarments, a membrane suit has a lot looser fit and is often compared to wearing a plastic bag I that it has no thermal qualities however the looser fit does afford more flexibility in movement and is a little more flattering for those with a fuller figure which makes up the majority of the British diving community.
With all suits the air within a dry suit does get compressed as you go deeper so a method of inflating the suit with air is required. This is normally achieved through a direct feed hose from the divers normal air supply. Obviously there is also the need to be able to vent this air as you ascend and this is achieved either through a valve mounted on the shoulder or wrist. The former automatically dumps air while the letter requires the diver to raise their arm so that it is at the highest point. I have always used a cuff dump and so far it has only let me down once in over a 100 dives and even then it cleared itself after a ten meter ascent much to my relief as you do not want to be heading to the surface from 35m at speed and out of control.
Seals can be made of either latex rubber or thicker neoprene. The first tends to be more watertight but is also more fragile while the second tends to be more comfortable if a little damp.
The suits have a zip through which entry is gained either diagonally across the body or across the shoulders at the rear and are fitted with integrated boots. A separate hood made from neoprene is worn as are thick 5mm gloves. Both of which allow water to circulate but provide insulation by using body warmth to heat the trapped water.
Choice of suit is a very individual decision and must take account of the type of diving that you plan to do. Prices vary from £250 up to £1200 at the top end of the market.
If I was making a recommendation then you could not go far wrong checking out the range offered by Robin Hood Watersports. Based in West Yorkshire the company offer a great range of suits and their entry level suit have provided me with a great product for the past three years and is the only suit that I have owned. After three years of UK diving it is still going strong and so far has not needed and replacement seals.
It is a membrane suit and comes with an under suit, hood, cuff dump, swivel suit valve by AP valves and hose.
In addition Robin Hood provides a made to measure service at no extra cost. If you do not want to visit the store to be measured they provide an order form with diagrams showing all of the measurements that they require. Once you have provided these and chosen from the choice of colours it usually takes about six weeks to make the suit and deliver it.
This is an extremely well made suit for the price, all of the seals are double taped and glued and there is extra padding at the knees. It is a rear entry zip with an additional pull strip to make it easier to close.
If I have one criticism it is that you have to fit the valves yourself which can be a bit daunting for a new diver when it mean taking a knife to a £400 suit however this is a small inconvenience for such a great price.
The whole package costs £399and is excellent value. For more information check out the website www.roho.co.uk.
For those who were wondering the KY Jelly is used to make it easier to get the neck and wrist seals on and to stop them rubbing, at least thats what I tell her indoors.
I hope you have found this informative and thanks for reading.
I’ve had an Otter Tech Superskin for three years and have done 140 dives in it now. As I live in Shetland and don't get to the shops very often, I bought it solely on recommendations from the internet, from Divers Warehouse in Bradford (Tel 01274 307555 www.diverswarehouse.co.uk or www.drysuits.co.uk.) They make the suits here and as far as I know are the sole suppliers. The suit was made to measure and cost me 560 ukp, and that included a 200g thinsulate undersuit and a carrysack to stuff it in after use. It has internal braces, apex inflation and autodump valves, “welly” style boots and a double zip. It came with heavy duty seals, that haven't leaked so far. The cuff seals are just starting to show a bit of wear now, the neck seal has been changed a couple of times as I’m a bit clumsy and have managed to tear it. The suit is an excellent fit and I can quite comfortably wear it for several hours at a time, the material is very strong and bouncing off wrecks has done no damage to it. I've had to reglue a couple of seams that were lifting, and the radar reflector patches are getting a bit tatty, but these are hardly complaints. The only thing people might be able to offer as a complaint about Divers Warehouse is that they aren't the fastest in the world. The suit took about 3 weeks to come, not too bad as it was made to measure. DW mail order equipment always takes a bit longer than elsewhere, but the indepth diving knowledge of the people answering the phones makes up for that in my opinion. The suit has since been superceded by the the Superskin Britannic, which is nearly identical except for the knee pockets and name. Several people I dive with have bought these, partly because they've seen mine and thought how well wearing and resilient it looked. I can’t say enough good things about this suit, after diving with an 8mm DMS neoprene suit previously (
Which cost a lot less, and it showed) , it excels.