I have a 7mm semi dry which I only use for Gran Canaria!! Its a personal thing and I get cold easily (dived in February with thermal underwear, my Huggi thinsulate and a fleece top!) so I use my dry suit year round.
Hi - same thing for me really.
I have done six dives in my dry suit thus far and am starting to really enjoy the experience. I will say, though that I am far from what I would consider to be "proficient" in its use and struggled to learn to drive it my first two-three dives.
That I have still not quite got the hang of positioning the autodump on my upper left arm (and then leaving it alone), although its getting easier. All that aside, it has transformed the whole experience of diving for me and I would heartily recommend it. I did not do a drysuit course as no instructor was available at the time, but I suspect that would have enabled me to acclimatise that much easier.
As for the neoprene/membrane debate, I could not comment in details as a never dived in a membrane. I picked a 5mm neoprene suit from a great company called "O'Three" (the msf 500) and it suits me down to the ground. In moderately cool waters (7c), I can dive with only a v.thin thermal base layer and do not need to invest in an undersuit at all (quite costly in themselves). Plus, in the summer I could throw on the suit over shorts & tee shirt and its is fine.
On the other side of the coin, it is said that neoprenes have more problems with bouyancy control on deeper dives due to the fact that the material itself compresses further at depth (not a factor with membranes). However within my recreational diving limits this is not something that troubles me and, as I understand it, compressed neoprenes are used by some of the deeper diving "tech" fraternity too. (sorry 'Ammers - no macho male-tech reference meant by "fraternity").
Its a great overall workhorse suit and, I think, the most flexible option for the rec diver.
Eddie, id say yes they are worth the extra cost. Having in the past dived in a wet suit Brrrrrr and semi dry here, youre never as warm as with the dry suit. Wether you go for membrane or neoprene as already borne out is down to individual preference.
Well we took some novices to Capernwray today for their very first open water dives... One of them being my son, Mike
'I' in my infinite wisdom had decided that Mike would use a semi dry instead of a dry suit.. why?? because I wanted to reduce his task loading to a minimum. (Why add the complications of suit squeeze, migrating air and two different bags to dump air from during ascent on his first dive I thought)...
Well unfortunately the adverse effects of his being so rigid with cold, actually effected his diving more than a dry bag would of..... he told me he could think of nothing else but the pain of the cold attacking his body from the first moment he hit the water.... He reckoned he was so cold that the whole thing was like a bad dream... he couldn't think straight... Lol!! the poor kid... he was blue.... we had to de-kit him after the relatively short first dive... We nearly didn't do a second dive because we couldn't warm him up enuff , but he insisted on doing it, so we dropped in for a real quick second one just to get it in the book really....
Unlike Eddie, Mike doesn't carry his own (how shall I say this) external, all over body, cold reducing, fat layer... Sorry Eddie...
Mike will NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER dive in a semi again... not in Capernwray in 6 degrees anyway.... :biggrin:
I've promised faithfully that he can have a drysuit to dive in next time.... The look of disdain and jealousy as he asked me if I was warm as I unzipped my Weezle and wiped the sweat from my brow was just too much to bear....
I can see your point from both perspectives.
I predominantly scuba dive in a drysuit. Up until a month ago I had a membrane / undersuit arrangement, but always felt cold, got damp etc.. I had grown out of it anyway, so I recently bought a 7mm Neoprene drysuit which I tested for the first time on Saturday. It was 5°C in Dosthill on Saturday at 24m and with only a set of thermals on underneath I was toasty warm.
Although when I go freediving I have a picasso suit which is a 7mm neoprene semi-dry with a gold-ceramic layer inside which reflects heat. I've been off the north coast of scotland in February and spent about 6 hours in the water which was about 9°C, and also been in WastWater which was abotu 6°C for 3 hours and never been cold.
Hi Eddie,"high costs"? You can get a new drysuit for about £100.Personally I'd always use a neoprene suit(unless you're going into contaminated water? no,OK).The bouyancy thing is indeed true altough to be honest I've never found it a problem.It may well be in tech.diving but I'd fall off that bridge when I got to it.Cheers.
Hi Bantam,I did my 1st ever dive at 14, in a 2 piece, 4mm sharkskin wetsuit(with the short pants-not the "farmer johns")It was'nt really an issue to me then as I knew no different,but I knew I'd be cold.It was at Belmont near Bolton,under ice,(you bastard Dad) in December.I had a wooly jumper under it and a string vest,and in addition they poured hot water into the suit which we'd brought from home.After diving in a wet suit in our fair isles and seeing the widespread availability of drysuits I can't stress enough the benefits.If you've got a ND suit though you'll never know them!Cheers.
Yes. I can relate to that experience - I too did my first ever dive at 14, but it wasn't quite as much of a 'by-eck Yorkshire Hard Men' experience!! It was in the relative comfort of a 4mm semi-dry, but it was in January at Swan Pool in Netherton (near the Merry Hill Centre in Brierley Hill, Dudley, for those not from the midlands.) The water was cold enough that there was a thermocline at 5m which was amazing - in fact, that made up for the shivering -I'll never forget that - the sun shining down and catching the vertical ice particles like millions of suspended needles which flickered when you disturbed them. The worst bit wasn't the bit in the water, but getting the suit off. Under the suit (because it was so close fitting) I just had swimming trunks, so I was virtually naked with 2deg air temp.
Even now, when I've been out Freediving and it's Jan or Feb, sometimes I put a plastic sheet over the drivers seat and drive home to get changed.
Flasks of Tea come in so useful - especially if you've been out and are totally shot - 4 or 5 hours training off Flamborough Head then trying to negotiate that hill at North Landing or the Lighthouse is a total killer!!
My first dive was in Greece in a swimsuit...aaah...nice and warm...dekitted, lay down on the golden sand and had a snooze...
First dive in the UK followed 2 weeks after Greece, in Scotland...brr...no swimsuit there or golden sand!
Agreed on the ND drysuit point, don't buy one, especially not a Vortex! The dump valve is terrible, (sitech)
Well, first of all thanks every one for the advice and comments, I think I will stick to my semi for a while, maybe next year I will buy a dry suit,
(I like the look of your suit Jay!) nice and tactfull Dave... I allways put on a few kilos during the winter, I don't go running or play football in the winter, being a heart patient and all that, I start running again shortly, so I will be back to normal the next time you see me! (I hope) :rofl: