Dry suits what are they and how do they work? Well if you want to dive in the UK in comfort, the dry suit is the way to go. Like everything these days, there is a lot of choice. Neoprene or trilaminate, front entry, back entry, latex seals or neoprene seals, socks or fixed boots and so it goes on.
The dry suit is designed to do exactly that keep you dry. Your hands and face basically get wet. If the water is not in contact with your body on mass, heat loss is less. The heat loss through temperate water or planning longer dives, can be topped with hood and gloves. These again come is all sorts of variations. 3mm, 5mm, wet gloves, dry gloves. Zipped glove or stretch and seal.
With dry suits divers wear an undersuit (thermals), these are designed to wick away moisture from the body and to keep you warm and toasty.
Generally neoprene suits are designed to keep you warm and dry. Usually crushed 4mm neoprene. Laminate suits you will thermal protection as they are designed to be free moving and keep you dry.
Personally I learnt in a trilaminate but switched to neoprene back entry suit when starting my Dive Master. Having worn the suit for 12 years teaching (it has had a lot of hard wear), I have recently invested in another suit but this time it is front entry and only 2mm neoprene giving me complete movement.
With dry suits there is some trinaing needed. When I teach dry suit I advise students, master the suit or the suit will master you. You have to show the suit who is the boss. Once you master the dry suit they are incredible for diving, buoyancy and trim. The downside of learning the dry suit is there are no valves in the feet, so it is possible to have a feet first ascent. Training makes this theory not a reality. Putting air into the suit (you have an extra hose attached to your regulator) not only provides buoyancy, but it also provides warmth and removes any squeeze. Most new dry suit divers struggle to hold a safety stop. So we just have to be a bit clever. First proper weight checks are needed. One at the beginning of a dive and one at the end. Many do not spend sufficient time working out their correct weighting and trim. Next up when ending a dive and heading for a safety stop, if there is a shot line, use it. Finally, until you get comfortable, do not wait until you get to the 5 metres before evacuating air from the suit. Do it from 10 to 8 metres. Give yourself time and just get into the habit. It does not take long and there will be no concerns over “popping” at the end of a dive. This fear, generally leads to divers over weighting themselves.
So, trilaminate or neoprene? It is a bit like front entry versus back entry, fixed boots or socks and rock boots? It is personal preference and of course budget. www.divecrew.co.uk/shop