Exposure suit advice - Lake Michigan

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

TheSalsa

New
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Peoria, IL
# of dives
25 - 49
I’m diving the Buccaneer (70ft) and the Straits of Mackinac (80ft) this weekend, which are located in the southern part of Lake Michigan. I’m pretty comfortable in my 7mm Hollis Neotek semi-dry suit in colder waters (50° or so). I know much of this boils down to personal preference, so I’m really just looking for a sanity check. For anyone who has been to these spots or anything in the region in summer, is a drysuit a must? Thank you!
 

Outbound

Contributor
Messages
371
Reaction score
499
Location
Michigan
# of dives
200 - 499
If you're comfortable down to 50 degrees in your current 7mm, then you will be fine. I haven't done any Lake Michigan diving, but I dive in Lake Huron. I'm strictly a drysuit diver around here, but I know people who wear a 7mm for those temps are they are fine. At least they say they are :wink:
 

formernuke

ScubaBoard Sponsor
ScubaBoard Sponsor
Messages
3,682
Reaction score
3,352
Location
New England
# of dives
I just don't log dives
What depth with the 50 degrees are you comfortable? There a difference between 50 and 30 feet and 50 at 70 feet as wetsuits do compress at depth.
 
OP
TheSalsa

TheSalsa

New
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Peoria, IL
# of dives
25 - 49
What depth with the 50 degrees are you comfortable? There a difference between 50 and 30 feet and 50 at 70 feet as wetsuits do compress at depth.
That’s good. Didn’t consider that. The Hollis doesn’t compress as much as a typical neoprene suit does, but 40-50ft is the depth I’ve used the suit and been comfortable in the 50° range so the additional depth may be a factor.

I did call a dive shop in the Chicago area and they were on the fence about which way to go, so I figured I’d post here as well. Thanks for the responses so far.
 

Outbound

Contributor
Messages
371
Reaction score
499
Location
Michigan
# of dives
200 - 499
If you are drysuit certified and comfortable diving a drysuit, I would definitely recommend going that route. But if not, then you could also rent a 7mm jacket or buy a cheap 3mm shorty (doubt you'll find a rental for one of those outside of the tropics) to wear over your current wetsuit. You'll need to be prepared to add weight, so definitely bring along some more lead for your trip.
 

HKGuns

Contributor
Messages
661
Reaction score
646
Location
Merica
# of dives
25 - 49
I can't take the cold and would dive dry. I like my Hollis as well, but that bottoms out for me around 60 degrees. As you said, everyone is different.

I dove 90' @ 42 degrees dry last year and the temp wasn't an issue at all.
 

formernuke

ScubaBoard Sponsor
ScubaBoard Sponsor
Messages
3,682
Reaction score
3,352
Location
New England
# of dives
I just don't log dives
@TheSalsa

Are you drysuit certified? Does the shop rent drysuits?

If the answers above are yes try the wetsuit if you get cold rent a drysuit for that trip.

I do get cold at deeper depths with a 7mm up here I've realized by trial-and-error so for me anything below about 50 feet is in my drysuit. I know this because I tried it in a 7mm and froze.

You might be different.
 

MrVegas

Contributor
Messages
275
Reaction score
166
Location
Ohio
# of dives
100 - 199
If you're comfortable in 50F water in the semi dry then it's probably OK this time of year. I did this same wreck combination (dry) in September last year and bottom temps were mid-50s. Those in standard 7mm were a little cold. I think the person diving a semi dry was ok. (To me, it's always the second dive that gets really cold diving wet.)
 

Chris H

Contributor
Messages
445
Reaction score
177
Location
LaCrosse, WI
# of dives
500 - 999
It is possible to dive the Great Lakes in a suit that isn’t dry. I think I did it 8 times before I purchased a drysuit. Water temperature can change overnight, but I always plan for the water to be 39°F-45°F at depth. There will probably be a thermocline for a safety stop. If you get cold, thumb the dive.
 

Whitrzac

Contributor
Messages
184
Reaction score
103
Location
WI
There is a huge difference if you're planning 1 30min dive vs 3 dives a day too.
I've dove wetsuits down to 36* and was fairly OK, but that's a single short dive.
Multiple dives a day = drysuit.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/

Top Bottom