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For whom a dry suit? When to switch

Our waters are definitely one of those cold waters where the use of dry suits is recommended. Very often, however, the decision to buy a dry suit raises many concerns. When should we actually start swimming in a dry suit, how do we decide and is it really for us? A bit of history In
Published: November 24, 2010 - 20:29
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 07:33
For whom a dry suit? When to switch

Our waters are definitely one of those cold waters where the use of dry suits is recommended. Very often, however, the decision to buy a dry suit raises many concerns. When should we actually start swimming in a dry suit, how do we decide and is it really for us?

A bit of history

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In 2001, when diving in Poland was not yet as popular as it is today, a diver in a dry suit generated a lot of interest. It was certainly a person with many certificates, usually an instructor or technical diver. When starting their adventure with diving, no one even thought about dry suits back then. There was a kind of conviction that switching from a wetsuit was connected with great experience and 1000 dives. It was also claimed that changing a wetsuit was both difficult and dangerous.

As time passed, the trend began to change. A bunch of divers were gaining more and more experience and, according to the previous rule, “they were ready to change”. Drysuits were becoming more popular and, most importantly, more accessible. Year after year, there were more and more drysuit manufacturers all over Europe. Less and less experienced divers started to switch, thus proving the previous assumptions wrong.


Need is the mother of invention

The development of dry suit diving, looked differently across Europe. In Poland, it was still a rarity, but in the UK a huge potential of this equipment was noticed. Conditions on the islands, often did not allow for training in wetsuits. Dive candidates quickly became cold and discouraged to the sport, and as we know, diving is supposed to be fun. Diving centres started to offer their clients the possibility of doing an extended basic course, teaching them to swim in a dry suit from the very beginning. It quickly turned out that people who had not been diving in wetsuits before, were getting used to it faster than those “changing”, and these wetsuits were more often in the hands of novices.

There is no denying that a significant impact on the lack of popularity of this type of insulation was its price, which was several times higher than the purchase price of a wetsuit. The increasing number of people willing to dive in cold waters resulted in increased demand for dry suits, which had a direct impact on increasing competition among manufacturers. As a result, the prices of these suits dropped to a level acceptable by the majority of the diving community.

Today it is hard to say which type of wetsuit is more popular in our waters. For some, the cold water is not an obstacle to swimming all year round, while others cannot imagine wearing a wetsuit, even during trips to the warm waters of the Red Sea.

A tough choice

When deciding to buy a dry suit, we should first answer a number of questions so that we do not regret our choice. The first thing we need to think about is where we really want to dive. All Polish waters are cold waters. If we intend to do most of our diving in Poland, we should definitely invest in a “dryer”. However, if we plan only trips to areas where the water temperature always exceeds 25°C we will be satisfied with a simple wetsuit.

Another important factor is the number of dives we make. If we have swallowed the bug and know that diving is this, we should not wait long. Diving in cold water in a wetsuit simply reduces the pleasure of being underwater significantly. Diving in a wetsuit in cold water also reduces our safety. Extreme hypothermia leads to hypothermia, which can be very dangerous for us.

Starting to complete our equipment, we have a choice of two ways. The first one is dedicated to people who are not sure yet whether diving is “something” they were looking for. In such case we start with buying a wetsuit, which to some extent will suffice us for the season and occasional dives after its end. If we decide to continue diving, another expense for a dryer awaits us.

The second way is to go if you are already sure that you are going to dive. Then, there are no contraindications that would make the first suit a dry suit. This way we don’t have to spend unnecessary money on a wetsuit. The earlier we start swimming in a dry suit, the easier it will be for us and at the same time the faster we will enjoy diving in cold water.

Of course, there are no one-size-fits-all things. No wetsuit will be suitable for all waters. While in Poland we can dive in a “dry” suit during the whole season, e.g. in Egypt the high air temperature makes the stage of preparation for entering the water very difficult, and the water temperature of about 28°C ensures comfort of swimming in a wetsuit.

Taking into account all the aspects mentioned above, we will be able to decide which wetsuit is most suitable for us. Making the right choice will allow us to derive more pleasure from diving, and at the same time we will save some money, which we can spend on other equipment.

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About author

Adam
Adam Sieczkowski instruktor nurkowania podróżnik z zamiłowania, wiecznie poszukuje nowych wyzwań.
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