Winter is officially upon us. Christmas is just around the corner and many of us have dealt with more than one snow storm already. Unless you live in Florida, you've probably already stored away your nice, thin wetsuit. In fact, some divers just give in to the cold and give up diving until next summer! Our goal at Underseas Scuba Center is to help you NOT do that. We want to see you enjoy diving all year round so we've compiled our list of cold-water diving essentials to help you stay in the water all the year through.
MUST HAVE GEAR FOR COLD WATER DIVING:
Sometimes diving in the thickets of wetsuits with hood, gloves, and boots just isn't enough in the colder winter months. Investing in a drysuit is the best solution to diving happily year-round. Not only does a drysuit keep you warmer during the dive, but you'll also be dry and, therefore, warmer during your surface interval as well. Choosing the right drysuit for you can be an overwhelming task as there are SO many to choose from. Check out our previous blog about how to choose the perfect drysuit before heading out to shop for one.
The obvious solution to staying warm while diving in cold water is to use a drysuit. However, the key to staying warm while diving with a drysuit isn't the drysuit itself, it's the undergarments you wear underneath it. Even though your body is staying dry, if you're diving with undergarments that are too thin, you'll still freeze. Make sure you know the approximate temperature of the water you'll be diving in when choosing your undergarments, so you'll be sure to choose the right ones.
3. Hooded Vests
If, for some reason, you cannot dive with a drysuit but want added warmth to your thickest wetsuit a hooded vest invaluable. A hooded vest not only adds an extra layer of neoprene to your core, but it also eliminates the possibility of getting cold water flushing down the back of your neck (a common negative possibility with a detached hood) since the hood is attached to the vest.
4. Proper Dive Gloves
Keeping your hands warm during a dive is another key element to being able to dive throughout the winter. We recommend investing in a pair of 5mm neoprene gloves or, if the water will be REALLY cold, a pair of "dry gloves." Dry gloves are dive gloves made from the same material as your drysuit that attaches to your drysuit wrist seals, allowing your hands to stay dry throughout the dive.
5. Cold Water Regulator
Unfortunately, not all regulators are created equal when it comes to cold water diving. You'll want to make sure your regulator is up to the demands of cold water and that it won't freeze up if in extreme temperatures. Most regulator brands have one or two cold water diving specific regulators that have added design elements for more extreme conditions.
So as winter approaches and temperatures begin to fall, don't get discouraged and hang up your dive gear just yet. By investing in this handful of cold-water specific dive gear, you can enjoy diving the whole year round.