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Cold water divers
scubagirl143 - 4/03/2009 8:42 PM
Category: General
Replies: 38

Ok....give me some feed back on cold water diving. Can you dive in 44 degree water with a 7mm wet suit hood, gloves,.... ect! I have read some online forums and talked to divers that have done it...and I am getting all kinds of different opinions. Sooooo...give me the dirt if you have done this kind of dive. I am willing to try, as long as it is not unsafe....uncomfortable I can handle...unsafe I can not!!! Thanks Julie
King - 4/03/2009 8:54 PM

I have done it at Tobermorey Canada at 38 degrees! And yes, it does get cold. Do you have a 3mm you could add to the mix? I did that, it helps!


GypsyDiver - 4/03/2009 9:35 PM
I have a few dives in my 7mm in 34 degree water. I get a lot of laughs when I am rubbing my head underwater trying to get rid of the Icecream headache. It makes you wonder if you crossed the fine line between hard core and stupidity. You have to decide if you can handle it.
DiveBuddyChgo - 4/03/2009 9:45 PM
No you wouldn’t enjoy a cold water dive.. Doesn’t look like you have a fat layer under your skin.. Just start eating a lot of potatoes chips and birthday cake.. Lay around on the couch and vegitate.. Then you’ll be able to start diving the cold water like the rest of the wetsuit cold water divers.. If it can be done or not isn’t the issue.. You are putting yourself at more risk for D.C.S. and other medical problems.. Glad you asked..
Mike B.
wcarlile - 4/03/2009 11:24 PM
I got my open in that temp around. Some times I perfer to dive that cold with that gear, because the there is not a lot of people there
SCUBASMITTY - 4/04/2009 12:30 AM
been there done that, didn’t see the boys for two weeks after, have fun/be careful !!

Bigdogdown - 4/04/2009 2:06 AM
I grew up in Michigan, diving Ohio quarries and Michigan lakes, yes I have done it, in a 7mm then bought a drysuit. Really wasn’t that bad in a wet suit at least till about 40 degrees, I got the drysuit because I hated dealing with the bouyancy issues with that much neoprene (below the thermocline you sink like a rock)
scubaman - 4/04/2009 4:52 AM
I am not a cold water diver per say. But I have been in a thermal cline of 45 degrees with a 5mm suite with a vested hood. And I was uncomfotable and didn’t stay in it for more than 10 or 15 minutes and didn’t display any signs of hypertermia.
divemaiden - 4/04/2009 6:10 AM

I am a cold water diver. I don’t like diving below 50 in a 7mm, though I know people who do the frozen fin dive on Jan 1st in a 7mm, and water is in the 30s by then. Personally, I don’t like being cold.

If you’ve never done it before and want to try it, I would suggest you plan your dive for no more than 10 min. If you get cold before then, thumb the dive and get out and get warm. Don’t wait until you start shivering.
POLISHSCUBADIVER - 4/04/2009 7:16 AM
csemenko - 4/04/2009 7:19 AM
Until I bought my drysuit...I dove cold water with a 7mm, a 5mm hooded vest, and 3mm gloves...I was doing it so I could dive year I prefer using my drysuit. The water warms up after the initial shock to the body; however, if the water is that cold it usually means the air is pretty close and getting out wet and cold means staying cold for a bit without a good fire going. I recommend doing it atleast once.
LanceMeyer - 4/04/2009 8:46 AM
I live in Duluth, MN I use a 7mm all the time when I go diving. I even use a 7 mm suit when I ice dive. What some people do some times is pour warm water into the suit before they get into the water. I have also seen people put ducktape around there wrist and ankles.
Granitehawk - 4/04/2009 10:05 AM

Two things


#2 I would suggest finding a Cold water experinced person to do the first couple of dives with.

I ice dive with a 6.5 mil farmer john and 5mm hood, gloves, and boots. But my first three dives were with an instructor/ dive buddy.

 Cold water can be fun when planned properly and done with in the persons limitations.
scubagirl143 - 4/04/2009 1:20 PM
Thanks for the feed back! I decided not to try the dive "this" weekend. Living in Ohio I will have plenty more weekends to dive in the really cold stuff if I decide to try The coldest I have done so far is 58 degrees, which was at the end of October this past year. I dont think I have interest in a dry suit, but I would like to know my limits so that I can extend my diving seasons. Thanks! Julie
scubagirl143 - 4/04/2009 1:27 PM
Great advice...thank you!!! Julie
scubajoe - 4/04/2009 2:28 PM
I have used my 7mill in 34deg water just use common sence if you get cold abort your dive we take a thermus of warm water and pour it in our wet suite just before entering the water enjoy your diver and be safe 
UWnewbee - 4/04/2009 10:25 PM
up here in the northeast, its Always 7mm weather!! ive been out there and yes it can get cold, 1st step i get is the fingers gettin numb, but we dont stay in to long. 2nd) Know your limits!! be calm and cool,, cause the waters REAL cool too!! try it if ya dont like it, go dry suit, or wait till warmer weather,, Take care
hoofpick - 4/04/2009 10:37 PM
I have used 7mm and 9mm in these temps and was just fine. The only draw back was the restrictiveness of these heavy suits and the extra weight that is required. But with the advancement of Dry Suits and undergarments my question is why use a wet suit. But then again I use a 3mm down to the 60 degree temps and am warm with that.
IndyJames - 4/05/2009 1:18 PM

I did a dive 3 weeks ago in 39 degree water (Indiana) with 7mm suit, 7mm boots, dry hood and 5mm gloves. 24 min bottom time. The only part of my body that got cold was my hands...but then they just went numb. The worst part was the (almost excruciating) pain in my hands when they started to warm back up. I’m considering getting a pair of XXL mittens to wear over my 5mm gloves.

You can also try wearing a 3mm shorty under your thick suit to keep your core a little warmer.

I will only dive in water that cold if the air temp is reasonable (like 50+) since the absolute worst part is stripping out of a wetsuit on a cold, windy day!

One thing to note: consider using a sealed 1st stage in water that cold. At the very least, make sure you are very proficient breathing from a free-flowing regulator.
scubaclay - 4/05/2009 3:44 PM
Gypsydiver and I just did a dive yesterday, bottom temp around 35 degrees at 61 feet. I also did the same dive today.
sps3006 - 4/05/2009 9:07 PM
I have grown up diving the cold waters of the NW Oregon and Washington. I have dove in as cold as 34 degs. I have always dove a wetsuit. Here the popular thing is a 7mm farmer john. I now dive a Bare artic 7mm full suit with a 5mm hooded jacket. Last time I was at Hoods Canal it was 44 degs at depth and I unzipped my hood about 2 inches to let a little cool water in. I did my rescue class in 49 deg water in only my 7mm and without a hood most of the time. BUT... everyone is different!! In the same class people in much heavier suits froze.
scubagirl143 - 4/05/2009 11:53 PM
I was flipping threw my dive log tonight and noticed that a dive I did last June at Gilboa had a bottom temp of 52...and the only thing I jotted in my notes was that I needed thicker hood and gloves. I had worn my thin beanie hood and thin gloves...not sure like 1 or 3mil??? not sure what they are. Any how, the big difference though was the air temp was 94. So I think I may try to dive here in a couple weeks using 7mil hood and gloves and see how I do! Thanks for all the great advice everybody!
jimran - 4/06/2009 8:22 AM
well I would say yes for some ,I was just at a quarry in Pa the water was 38 from surface to the bottom 120 ft and a guy was diving with a 7mill he said he was good I perfer a drysuit and it was still a tad cold on the face
scubagirl143 - 4/06/2009 9:04 AM
MarkA...No, that wasnt bottom bottom.... 52 was at 47 feet! Sorry for the confusion. Im not cert. to deep dive yet. Working on my advacned but ran out of dive time with Padi instructor last year. I will have to do my deep dive for the cert there at Gilboa this summer. But even once certified, dont think Ill do any deep dives there... I hear its just cold and dark! Are you doing the Record attempt there this July??? I signed up and mailed in my money last week and I plan on camping with a few friends, so let me know if your going, we can at least meet up there if not sooner for some dives! Julie
BMDCScuba - 4/06/2009 10:35 AM
OHHH YEAH! Do it all the time. The local quarry temp is 42 below the thermocline. Have several divers locally who dive wet in these conditions. 
charstew - 4/07/2009 11:55 AM
45 degrees is at the low end of the scale for a 7mm wetsuit. We are all made different so our tolerance of cold water cannot be really set or standard from one diver to the next. You would have to consider several things from your BMI to climate conditioning. A hood will certainly help. Gloves and boots would be important. I diving skin under the wetsuit would not hurt either. Plus there are 2 types of divers, Those who pee in their wet suit and those who lie about it. This can help to warm you temporarily but also rapidly cools. Drink alot of water and be ready to get warm after getting out. Once you start your accent and hit that fist thermo you can feel the warmth. It actually stings my face a little. Also be sure to watch your air you will use more air at depth plus being cold adds to air consumption. It is reccomended to end the dive if you begin to shiver uncontrollably. This is how you will know if you are in the danger area. Shivering also further cools the body. If you begin to do this or get a bad "ice cream" headache accend slowly until it subsides.
Barnacle - 4/08/2009 12:45 PM
I’ve done 38 degrees in June in Lake Michigan for several years. Was diving wrecks at 100-130- ft. in a 7mil. Make sure you have good equipment. I hand a regulator freeze and free flow. We were diving new found, some virgin wrecks. Was so excited really didn’t much notice the cold. Did eventually get a dry suit but, really to make the sit time more comfortable. Dive safe.
Diver_Down - 4/15/2009 9:20 PM

A buddy and I dove Canyon Lake, Texas this past December. The temp was 50 at the surface and 48 at our deepest depth (46’) of the dive. The visibility was only about 1-2’ so we did a 30 minute tour of the cars/boats and got out. The dive was fine, it was the 46 degree air temp that was a btch.

We dove 7/5mm Henderson jumpsuits, 6.5mm hoods, 5mm gloves, and 5mm boots. (Bought at LeisurePro, by the way. Nice package deal for $150)

Either way, the dive was great and the exposure protection worked well once you got past the initial shock. I would definately suggest diving with a person experienced in diving those conditions, plan your dive conservatively (and dive your plan), and go to a familiar area. Cold water can be an added stressor, so limit the "new" things you are throwing into the equation.

Most of all...Enjoy!
Diver88 - 4/17/2009 12:08 PM
You can definitely dive 40 degree water with a 7m wet suit..some recommendations would be to use a 2 piece farmer john style suit which would give you 14m around your core...also for added warmth, you can wear a 1/2m under the 7m and use a gold core hood.....i dive wet and use this exact setup when I’m ice diving and have been fine.....come to think of it, i really haven’t completed a warm water dive in like 4 years...damn
coldwater - 4/18/2009 8:39 AM
I dive in monterey, Calif. the water surfice temp 47dig. about 60ft to 70 ft dowen the temp drops to 44dig . Yes I dive in A wet suit all of the time. this is what I wear, 7mm wet suit brand Oceanic, lycra suit under brand Henderson, Hood vest 6/4mm Oceanic, gloves 6.5mm Henderson gold core, boots 7mm Henderson gold core, I am warm . There are som thicker wet suits out there like 8mm & 9mm . the outher thing is what is comfert to you. hope this helps any other Quistons let me know Tony
scubagirl143 - 4/18/2009 10:01 AM
UPDATE: I dove last Thursday in Lima Ohio. Surface temp was 55 and water temp was 48. I wore 7mm wet suit and gloves and a 5mm hood with my beenie hood under it. I was warm except for a thin line at my forhead. My dive buddy called the dive at 10 min because he did not have a thick enough hood..but I was fine and could have continued. We are gonna go again next week after I get a 7mm hood (and give him his 5mm and I know we will last longer. Thanks for all the advice, and now I know what I can handle!! :0) Julie
scubadmike - 4/19/2009 7:07 AM
Julie I am not a cold water diver I am spoiled living in Florida ..But 7 mm. I think its to thin !!!
coldwater - 4/25/2009 11:05 AM

Have a grate time diving in cold water everyboddy dives were it is warm .
Capt-Tom - 5/24/2009 2:29 PM
Cold Water 44F in a 7mm suit...sure. It will sap your energy and too long will put you on the hypothermic edge. Keep the dives shallow, short and warm up with a thermos of warm water down the suit. Not a bad idea pre dive either that your body isn’t trying to warm cold water. It will be chilly have warm dry clothes to chang into.
King - 5/24/2009 8:54 PM

Anyone who says that a 5mm in 44 degree water is either lying, crazy, or referring to Celsius!! Of course at 44 celsius, youwont even need a skin (111)!

Fritz - 5/27/2009 9:13 PM
One of my dive buddies ice dives with a 7mm, he has no other suit.
I have dove with people that get cold in 68 degree water with a 7mm.
Each person has their own threshold of acceptability when it comes to cold water. I believe metabolism is the main factor for each of us.
I grew up swimming in 42 deg water in shorts, but I won’t do it now!
Dive-Junkie - 5/30/2009 9:31 AM

Admit it you miss diving im michigan with me!