If you’re an avid diver, a little cold won’t stop you from taking the plunge to explore the underwater world, and it shouldn’t! It’s important though that you remember to keep warm while diving. These 6 tips will help you stay warm so you can go diving even if the water’s a bit chilly.
Choose the correct wetsuit
You might think this is obvious, and perhaps it is, but choosing an appropriate wetsuit can really affect your dive. Do you need long sleeves/legs to keep your body covered? What thickness will keep you warm enough without making you overheat? If you’re unsure, ask your PADI® Divemaster or Instructor to make a recommendation for you. Most importantly, make sure your suit fits you properly. Wetsuits work by trapping a layer of water between your body and the suit and using your body heat to warm it. An incorrectly-fitting wetsuit won’t work correctly and you’ll find yourself getting colder faster. If you won’t be warm enough in a wetsuit, fear not, you could still dive in a drysuit.
Wear a hood
Wetsuit hoods are designed to cover your head and face, while stilling leaving your face free for your mask and regulator. You may be surprised at the amount of body heat that’s lost from our heads. Aim for a wetsuit hood with a long neck, as this will tuck into your wetsuit, further reducing the amount of skin exposed to the cold. This goes for your hands and feet also, if you find they get cold, cover them up by wearing gloves and boots underwater.
Rug up on land
Staying warm before your dive means you will take more heat into the water with you. Wear warm clothes, including long pants, a jacket and beanie and scarf if necessary. A windbreaker is great for before your dive and also during your surface interval as it will protect you from the wind chill.
Eat a meal before you dive
Eating a good meal before going for a dive is important for many reasons. Firstly, it creates much-needed energy to keep you alert – even more important when diving in cold conditions. Plan your meals to help your body maintain warmth throughout your dive. If you’re not sure what makes a good pre-dive meal, take a look at this article.
Flush your wetsuit with warm water
Bring with you a jug of warm (not boiling) water. When you have your wetsuit on and you’re getting ready to dive, pour the warm water down your wetsuit. Pouring water down the front, back and sleeves on your wetsuit means the layer that gets trapped there is already warm rather than your body using its heat to warm the water.
Set your kit up in advance
It isn’t always practical to put your kit together before you reach your destination, but when diving in cold conditions it can really change your dive. If your gear is already set up when you reach your dive site, you’ll spend less time out in the cold setting up and more time in the water.
For some inspiration to go cold water diving, this article has got you covered.