Manta Divers, April, 2015 Drysuit Myths
I certainly am happy that the days have started to get longer and we are experiencing more sunny days. Team Manta will be off to the Caribbean once again this month, but when we return, we will be ready to get out and dive locally. One really interesting trip that is on the schedule is a Lake Superior wreck and agate diving event. Famous for her storied wrecks, Lake Superior is also the deepest and coldest of the great lakes. Though the Lake Superior diving can be done wet, a drysuit would certainly make for a longer, more comfortable dive. Unfortunately, there are many myths regarding drysuits that keep people from trying them.
Many divers feel that drysuit diving is not for them, mainly because they believe it is too complicated. Granted, it is recommended that someone new to drysuit diving try it out in a pool or take a formal drysuit class before hitting the wrecks in the big lakes, but drysuit diving is not so different from wetsuit diving. You still know how to clear your mask, recover your regulator, read your gauges, etc. You are just adding a second way to change your buoyancy. I liken it to someone who has been driving an automatic for years and now has decided to learn how to use a manual transmission. You get some pointers from someone with experience, practice in a deserted parking lot and eventually master it.
Another myth is that it is dangerous:” If it leaks you will be dragged to the bottom”, or, “The bubble can go to your boots and you will jet to the surface, uncontrollably.” Proper training really addresses these two concerns. During the course, divers learn to secure all the seals to make sure that water does not come into the suit, but mistakes can occur and sometimes there is a breach. This situation, while uncomfortable, is not life threatening as long as the dive ends once the leak is discovered. Even if the suit rapidly filled with water, we know that water trapped in a drysuit weighs the same as water outside of the drysuit, so it would not drag the diver down. It surely would be difficult to swim, but, absent panic, the diver will be able to reach the surface and get help. As to the uncontrolled feet first ascent: this is a rare occurrence. Again, as part of the course, new drysuit divers are taught procedures to correct this, but more than that, they are taught to weight themselves properly so they do not need an excess amount of air in their suits. Proper weighting will ensure that, even if the bubble goes to the divers’ feet, it will not be so great a volume that the diver cannot regain proper trim.
For some, the cost of a drysuit may seem prohibitive, but when the increased comfort that drysuit diving affords, and the resulting increased number of dives is considered, the cost per dive for a drysuit starts to compare with that of a wetsuit. Bear in mind also that a warm comfortable diver is better able to address problems that arise during a dive. Their minds not occupied with thought of how cold they are can instead notice and respond to potential problems.
Hopefully, I have busted some of your drysuit myths, leaving you ready to learn more about drysuit diving. Join us at the shop Saturday, April 25 at 4 pm for a short drysuit presentation followed by an opportunity to take a look at several drysuits in person.
Both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan are treasure troves of wrecks with clear, cold water and whether you dive them wet or dry, our U.P. trip will be a great adventure for Team Manta. Even if this is not your cup of tea, be sure to check out the calendar page and find out where else we are going this summer. I hope you will join us.
In Other News............
Learn About Drysuits and Drysuit Diving! Join us Saturday, April 25 at 4PM for a fun evening of talking drysuit diving. Touch and feel Bare Drysuits and see what the excitement is all about. Deep discounts are available on every drysuit ordered that evening, as well as a FREE Drysuit Specialty course ($119 value!).
Rescue Diver, one of our most challenging and rewarding courses, is on the schedule! Pick up your crew pack and start stepping up your dive skills. Come to the classroom sessions, April 30 and May 1 at the shop at 6:30pm for knowledge development, then participants will decide together when they want to do their skill development and scenario practice.
Keep an eye on the calendar for annoucements for Lake Michigan charters. Many of you were disappointed last year when all the spots were taken within days of the announcement, so don't delay, sign up right away. (Sorry, but spots can only be reserved with payment in full.)