Scuba divers wear specialized suits to keep their bodies warmed and protected during an underwater excursion. In most instances, we would observe divers’ being garbed in a slick, rubber-like garment or scuba gear that snuggly fits the skin. One of the more popular suits to come from a diving wear line is the wetsuit. But then there are other types of diving suits manufactured to match an identified dive profile or perform a particular function. For this article, let us examine and compare the construction, basic features and application of commonly used diving wear; in particular the skinsuit, drysuit and the wetsuit.
Skinsuit: Abrasion protection and mobility Fabricated out of fabric called Lycra (a spandex label), skinsuits provide the tightest fit among all the other types of diving wear. In fact, divers quip that the scuba gear feels quite like swimming naked when referring to the wear of this elastic piece of garment. Superior flexibility is one feature associated with skinsuits that arises from the stretchable properties of spandex fibers; thus making it easier to don a skinsuit than a wetsuit.
Despite its convenience features, skinsuits are designed only to protect the diver from cuts and scratches or from the scorching heat of the sun. Moreover, this type of diving suit is fit for use in the conduct of snorkeling or when diving the recreational depths of warm water dive spots.
Drysuit: Ultimate thermal protection at a price The drysuit offers the best level of insulation and protection compared with all the other garments designed for scuba diving. Made of high performance neoprene, rubber or nylon material, the drysuit is compatible for use in cold water dive spots being outfitted with a waterproof zipper and seals over the neckline and wrists which heighten its insulation properties. Nonetheless, these benefits command a hefty price while requiring an expertise in buoyancy skills, given the inflatable property of this scuba gear.
Wetsuit: Modal thermal protection within budget The neoprene wetsuit meets halfway pertinent cost and performance parameters that matter most in the selection of a diving suit. Apart from being priced midrange, some wetsuits offer the dual benefits of insulation and protection; though the neoprene material is widely recognized for its ability to keep the body warm underwater.
The synthetic rubber foam neoprene comes manufactured in varying levels of thickness (from 2 to 9 mm) where a 6mm thick wetsuit provides better insulation but with a corresponding decline in terms of flexibility and overall comfort for the diver. Consequently, this type of scuba gear is designed to match particular dive profiles with some of them outfitted for use in both warm and cold water environments.