If you’re new to scuba diving, you might be surprised to learn just how much gear is required for a safe and successful dive. All new divers must complete a training course, either in a class setting or in one-on-one lessons from a certified diving instructor. The first few times you take plunge, you will be wearing rented gear from head to flipper. Soon, though, you’ll find yourself wishing you had your own stuff – especially your own diving wetsuit that fits just right (and doesn’t smell so funny). Investing in a good dive wetsuit can definitely improved your comfort in the water, and that translates to more fun. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a newcomer planning your first scuba adventure, you’ll find that having the proper equipment for the job can make all the difference.
When choosing a diving wetsuit, some aspects, such as fit, will come down to your individual needs and personal preferences. Some brands may tend to cut their designs differently from others, so do some comparison shopping to find a style that works for you. Other aspects, such as materials and construction, may be affected by your budget. If you can afford a wetsuit that is blind-stitched, sealed, and taped, this type of construction is definitely worth the money (especially if you plan to dive in colder water). Cheaper stitching techniques can allow water to seep in, can chafe your skin, and may even unravel over time.
The most important decisions about your wetsuit, such as what thickness to get and whether to get a full or short suit, should be determined by the water conditions you’re expecting on your dives. Climate, water temperature, and the depth of your dive are all factors that need to be considered when choosing a diving wetsuit with the right combination of features and functionality to suit your needs. First-timers should also note that there are different guys’ and girls wetsuit designs, so make sure you’re shopping in the right section.
Many newcomers to the sport of scuba diving often assume that diving wetsuits are only needed for cold water conditions, but this is not true. Water acts as a conductor of body heat, literally sucking the warmth out of your body. If you’re submerged for extended periods of time, and your body is generating a lot of heat – both of which are the case while scuba diving – you run the risk of developing hypothermia even in fairly warm water. So if you plan on diving in water below 75 degrees or so, you should bewearing some kind of wetsuit (probably a 2 mm spring-suit). Before you go shopping for a wetsuit, find out what the conditions will be in your dive location. If you bring this information to the dive or surf shop, the staff can help you find a suit of the correct thickness and the right size for you (it will be snug). Take the time to get it right, and your new diving wetsuit will allow you to stay warm and comfortable as you explore.