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Hiya,

I'm looking for some advice.

For diving in the Uk should I invest in a Dry Suit Course or can I get away with a thick wetsuit? Should I just eat a lot of lard? If I should do the course, who would you recommend(I live in Leeds and don't have a car)?
 

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Just not enough dive time.
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Dry-suit - oh yes if you are even thinking about UK diving outside of Autumn, warm water warm days, just. Anything else I hate. Dry suit course, if you buy a suit from a shop they will probably throw in a course in a pool. Then grab somebody off here head for an inland site and practice, pay their petrol and expenses - job done.
Kevin has a shop and runs courses and he's on here and I think he's up your way, what more do you need. Just add water as they say.
My opinion only.
Matt
 

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 STRANGELY!!

I agree with Matt, if your serious about UK diving you probably need to get a dry suit, You do see the odd figure huddled in a corner shaking in a semi, or the Uni clubs at stoney all freezing their nuts off in March or April.

You also see them diving straight into a hot shower after the dive too, which is a NO No cos of the DCS implications.  Anyway both PADI and BSAC run dry suit courses.

I did a Padi course which was 70 quid for a pool session plus 2 dives, it was ok and you certainly need to know how to use your suit, or more importantly how not use your suit etc. BSAC if your a member is prabably cheaper??

If you havent bought a suit checkout e-bay and the other web sites there are always lots of 2nd hand suits on offer, if your in that average size bracket...

shame they dont sell gas filled SMB's and I could save the £70 I'm going to have to fork out.... moan mumble mutter


Ian
 

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Small, yet perfectly formed...
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definately a dry suit, thinsulate , long johns, fleece, two pairs of socks. Also invest in a decent hood and gloves.
definately recommend a dry suit course ..
Jules
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Hi

You live in Leeds and don't have a car. Your choice is probably Roho. They do a dry suit course (PADI and BSAC) which allows you to try a drysuit in their 3mtr pool and then they'll take you to Capernwray or someplace to do some drysuit dives (they have a minibus van thingy).

My girlfriend did the BSAC one. It has helped her diving. I was taught to dive with a drysuit and so diving a wetsuit is strange to me!!

WL
 

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Hey Sproz,

Only you know how cold you get in the water - that said, if you're gonna be diving in UK conditions as much as most of us on here, then yes, my advice would be to get a dry-bag and take a recognised drysuit use & orientation course (regardless of agency or club). When thinking about this step, it is the instructor, not the course, which is important. Choose one you either know and respect, or one who comes recommended by friends who dive who you know and respect.

There have been a number of unfortunate accidents (some fatal) of late that may, in the final analysis and after the inquests, be put down to the fact that the diver in question was not au fait or comfortable with the different disciplines of diving ('flying') a dry bag - it is very different from using a wet suit or semi-dry and consequently new skills need to both learnt and mastered.

THREE key areas to master and become adept at controlling:

1. Learning how to recognise, redress and correct an inversion (where the air on your suit migrates to your suit legs/feet/boots) and in so doing, preventing yourself from having a rapid and/or uncontrolled feet-first ascent from any depth!

2. Redress and correct 'Suit Squeeze': failing to do this can result in either mild or massive discomfort on a dive and if left unchecked by the untutored, can result in panic....with all the attendant norz that can bring with it.

3. Buoyancy Control: because, dependent on your personal style and choice (i.e. suit or wing/BC to control buoyancy)above depths of 30 to 40 metres, you will be using either your suit or your wing/BCD to control your buoyancy, it is essential that you learn how to 'fly' the suit - otherwise 'problems' can occur. Below approx 40 metres, you would have to use that much air/gas to inflate your suit that it becomes uneconomical and so you would have to switch to your wing or BC to control your bouyancy. Above that depth (although you will get a mountain of differing personal opinion on this point) you can make the call yourself which you use - your suit or your wing/BC.

I personally can recomment Chris Hall, who lives in your neck of the woods-ish, as both a safe and reliable instructor; he's also a very approachable guy too. You can find him on these boards.

Good luck and I hope this has been of some use. Anything further just ask away.

Cheers.
 

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<font color='#8D38C9'>Dry suit course is a must for bag-divers

Have a rather strong view on this........

You can't drive a car if you've only ever had a motorbike.....
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (sprozman @ May 16 2003,15:59)]Should I just eat a lot of lard?
Haven't tried the eating lard bit, done the drinking beer for 25yrs, has the same effect but more pleasant, however does it keep me warm ....No
Does it mean l have to put less weight on the belt......NO

l'm beginning to think all the spondulies l've spent have been wasted.

If someone had told me earlier l wouldn't have boozed so much and would have spent the dosh down the gym.
 

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iGeek therefore iTrek
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Hi, I dive full time in a drysuit when in the UK  
 (which is most of the time) and I have never, NEVER, done the PADI drysuit speciality admittedly I practiced on the 6 metre shelf at Stoney with some experienced friends before going to Jersey but I don't see the course as being a necessity. Sorry if it upsets people but this is my honest opinion.

Take your time, learn how the suit works and save your money for more kit.

Noel
 

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Sprozman, go for a drysuit
As you've gathered allready its not simply a case of getting it and going diving. You gotta learn how to drive the thing, its no big deal.  A few pool sessions getting used to their little querks, then a few sessions in sheltered shallow open water, it does take a little time to get confident with things.

I agree with Noel, you don't necessarily need a course to safely learn the skills, a Competant instructor or experienced buddy will suffice.  Route as outlined pay with PADI or join your local BSAC or SAA Branch.
Other golden rule get a "decent" undersuit.
 

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Sorry Noel mate,

Gotta say I disagree there buddy - I not aiming this at you specifically, but there is this sometime pervading attitude amongst some divers that see them forever trying to save a couple of quid here and there - or, hereinafter referred to as 'cutting corners when it comes to safey - personal or otherwise'.

And, it's got sod-all to do with how wealthy a diver is either. I doubt very much the cororner at any Fatality Enquiry has actually signed off the deceased's death certificate with:

'Cause of Death: trying to save a few quid on a dry bag course and subsequently died because he panic'd in his suit and made a racing ascent (reg-less, and holding his breath) from 20 metres for the surface'

Would you take your car out on the motorway without having taken the appropriate driving lessens before any subsequent test? NO. Why? Because you'd be an accident looking for a venue - a danger to yourself AND others.

Another way of putting it is: OK, so you saved say, £70 to £90 on dry-bag course........is that the dollar value you place on your life??? Seem a bit cheap???

Or, and an old grandma adage coming out here: 'Buy cheap, buy twice'. Alas, none of us are James Bond and consequently none of us can say 'You Only Live Twice'........because we don't.

Whether you pay for the course or not is not the point; the advice would be to take a recognised course with an instructor who knows his/her stuff. Rant over.
 

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Go for a dry bag, go for a course, when you've done the course go and work at bouyancy, bouyancy, bouyancy. (Shouldn't say that, doing myself out of a job if everyone listens - mind you there's always the non YDers).  
 

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I'm a club diver and in Scotland you rarely see a person diving in a wet suit.  Most of us here do our basic training with amatuer branch instructors and wouldn't pay for a dry suit course.  Many branches have fees less than £70 most can lend you equipment, some can give you access to compressors and boats.
 

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Thanks for all the advice everyone. I'm going to get myself on a dry suit course asap.
 

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Im not really qualified to say anything on this with only 6 sea dives and no qualification yet to my name but....

Ive got a 7mm+7mm semi dry sitting here never used.  The simple reason, i was given a 2nd hand dry suit and having seen people in semis quite happy during dives but shivering on the RIB coming back in im not too keen to try it.

Im learning through BSAC  but havent done their dry suit course however i did have 2 hours of thorough lessons in the pool with it being deliberately inverted, having someone jam my inflate valve, simulating cuff dump not working and so on.  Id go as far as to say that was invaluable experience - im certainly far more prepared for "floaty feet" and fairly confident if it happened in real water i could deal with it.  The only downside is in a pool for up to 60 mins at a time in a dry suit is hot even with no real undersuit - 1/2 of that 2 hour session was in the swimming pool in my Weezle undersuit!
My only real survival issue was heatstroke.

Incidentally i find it a lot easier to control my suit and bouyancy with it in open water at a depth than i do in the 4m pool.  I guess the volume changes in that last 4m are probably more pronounced than at say 20m.

The point of what im trying to say is although i havent done a course i have had good long 1 on 1 training with it and came across issues i hadnt thought about  with a dry suit so some form of training is definately advisable.
Due to the weather i also ended up with a forced 4 hour (4 weeks..) more practice pool sessions before getting into the real water with it.

Anyway, speaking of which the suit is packed and im out of this house at 6am to be at the marine for 9am.  Lovely weather for a boat trip !
 

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Hi Bren,

Hey it's me, do I look like I've ever tried to save a couple of quid?  


When I dived in the suit for the first time at Stoney I was with Simon, my isntructor and good mate, who I've done all my courses with. I told him I was getting the suit after diving through the winter in a 7mm semi-dry and wanted to do a drysuit course but he said that it wasn't necessary. What we did at Stoney was effectively the course without the qualification.

I agree, believe it or not, with what you're saying about the cavalier mentality some divers have to safety - and as you know mate the safety my buddy and I is my number one priority. If I was diving with anyone other than Simon (who I would trust with my life) or new to the locality I would have done the course but in this instance it didn't prove to be a necessary requirement.

Cheers all and dive safe,

Noel
 

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Bunny is also going to get her ten pence worth in, I agree entirely that you should always be taught how to do any new diving skill or use any new equipment however the more experienced I become the more I realise that official training courses aren't always the best. I did a drysuit course with a recognised PADI school and instructor. I never went below 6m on the course (we were at Horsea Island in Portsmouth), I was taught how to get air out of my feet but also told that no diver who is any good ever wears ankle weights. I spent a a second day trying to dive and basically descending to 6m and immediately coming up more or less feet first. I gave up after about the fifth try. I thought I was useless and should give up diving while I was ahead. I paid £89 and was given a cert card.
Fortunately for me the first time I went to Stoney I was with some more experienced divers who introduced me to ankle weights and taught me what I needed to know, such as the ten metre balloon effect. As I had bought my own suit before the course I would have been far better off in terms of my self confidence just being taught by experienced friends, who I now realise were and are far better divers than any of the instructors at the training school.
And I'm not even going to mention what some training schools pass off as a nitrox course - that's a whole extra tale.
Cheers  Bunny
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Noel Johnson @ May 18 2003,08:33)]What we did at Stoney was effectively the course without the qualification.
Exactly! Nobody is saying you need a special certificate (although I've got one). What they are saying, and I fully agree, is that you need to be taught how to use a drysuit, either by an instructor or by someone with the equivalent knowledge/experience. I did all the exercises in the sea at 10 m with a PADI instructor on one dive, after a 10 minute chat about what I needed to know and be able to do. That was quite sufficient. The whole "course" took less than an hour. Without it, I would have been a danger to myself. I'm not an instructor but I've since taught a friend to use his drysuit in the pool in an hour. To use an expression that is popular on diving forums, it's not rocket science. However, it IS essential information.
 

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<font color='#000080'>
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Noel Johnson @ May 18 2003,09:15)]I agree entirely that you should always be taught how to do any new diving skill or use any new equipment however the more experienced I become the more I realise that official training courses aren't always the best. I did a drysuit course with a recognised PADI school and instructor.
---CUT -----
Fortunately for me the first time I went to Stoney I was with some more experienced divers who introduced me to ankle weights and taught me what I needed to know, such as the ten metre balloon effect. As I had bought my own suit before the course I would have been far better off in terms of my self confidence just being taught by experienced friends, who I now realise were and are far better divers than any of the instructors at the training school.
And I'm not even going to mention what some training schools pass off as a nitrox course - that's a whole extra tale.
Cheers  Bunny
Agree that a paying for a course is not required,  but if you cannot find competent people willing to provide training for free then it is safer to pay some cash.

Both the BSAC and PADI drysuit orientation training is adaquate to identify potential problems and solutions.  How good the course is, usually comes down to the instructor.

Even after the course I would recommend a lot of practice in shallow environment,  training is only half the story, experience and practice have quite a significant effect on overall safety.

Can't say I agree on ankle weights Bunny
, but if they work for you and make your diving safer that cannot be a bad thing.  FWIW :- I started with ankle weights and stopped using them after approximatly 80 drysuit dives.  Don't miss them at all now.

Daz
 

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Ankle weights - I never started with them, but I did feel as if my suit was a bit foot light (neoprene lined boots). I felt it might be harder to stop having started rather than persevere without them from the start. But I agree with Daz, if it works , use them.
Matt
 
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