Yet another Wetsuit Thickness question

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Guy Alcala

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Monterey's water temps are in the 46-55F range, but a good part is the year it is 46F. You'll find yourself *wishing* for the colder water, as it is usually accompanied by better visibility.

Diving wet in Monterey? You will be cold. If not in the water, on the boat ride on the way back. Whether you can do it is largely a question of how tolerant you are to cold, but most people who do it for any length of time, or who try to do more than two dives a day, end up with a drysuit.

Ken

At what depth though. Most of my dives have been above 60ft and I've logged 52F for nearly all of them.

This sunday I did two dives, one off a boat at Mola Mtn., max. depth of 85', and the other at the Breakwater, hitting 49' at the metridium fields. Lowest temp on my computer was 46 deg. in both cases. My buddy on the first dive had 48 when I was showing 46. While there's usually an upwelling in late March or mid-April, this one's been hanging on for awhile. In any case, it's usually sometime in June before it starts warming up significantly.

As to wet v. dry, right after I got certified I did up to 4 dives a day in a 7mm Farmer John and Jacket. But I was swimming a lot and the weather was cooperative, just as it was on Sunday. Later on I changed to a 7/5mm 1-piece with a 6/3mm hooded vest, which was a more flexible combination, but I shivered a lot in either outfit during the SI. I wouldn't dream of trying 4 dives a day when it's cloudy/foggy, windy, and cold, which is much of the year in Monterey. As others have mentioned, you'll freeze during your SI diving wet with any wind, especially if you're boat diving.

I remember one rainy day we were boat diving in Carmel bay, all of us but one were in drysuits. We were all cold on the trip back, but the poor guy who was diving wet was mildly hypothermic by the time we got back to Breakwater (ca. 45 minute run), despite being wrapped in a hooded dive jacket with his girlfriend hugging him the whole way (note, this was in RIBs, not commercial dive boats with more wind shelter). Even with a drysuit there'll be days when you're shivering after a boat dive, but you'll recover a lot faster. When I was diving wet I used to take a thermos of hot spiced cider with me for the weekend, and I needed it; I haven't needed it diving dry.

I use 5mm gloves after making do with 3mm initially. Whatever extra dexterity the 3mm might give is nullified when you can't feel your fingers 30 minutes into the dive. Many people diving dry also use dry gloves. As to hoods I consider 6-7mm the minimum, if you're going to dive wet then I'd seriously suggest you get one of Otter Bay's 12mm hoods, most of the people diving dry around here use them too. As to wet boots, 6.5-7mm. By the time the OP has re-equipped himself with all that neoprene he's probably more than covered the cost of a good used drysuit (I paid $340 for my CF200X, a steal) and an undergarment, and you'll be a whole lot happier and getting more dives, especially first night and early 2nd morning dives (if you're anything like me).

So, for 2+ dives a day, and/or 2 or more days a trip, go dry. It'll be worth it.

Guy
 

DivemasterDennis

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I dove a 6.5 Mares semi dry in the channell islands and was just fine. It is important to have at least 5 mil boot, and I like a hooded vest rather than just a pull ove hood. Another option is a 3 mill hooded vest under a 5 mil wetsuit. That fits your situation too, and you can use the 5 mil in Hawaii for repetitve dives.

Divemaster Dennis
 

andrewy

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Channel islands is not Monterey :)., Here you need 7mm at the minimum. My take on it is.

1. Wet suit you have to purchase new, as matter of fit, and neoprene loosing its qualities with time. besides it was probably peed in :). so new suit will run you $300 with boots when all said and done.

2. Good dry suit can be bough on ebay for < 500$ thats where i got 3 of mine. All you care there is zipper. rest is all can be fixed or replaced and in fact will be. my take DUI brand.
(get your size in the store first though or read DUI measurement charts first)

You will enjoy diving here , otherwise you are very very limited in bottom time. And in fact hypothermia is a real danger underwater.
 

adelman

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All this talk of wetsuits in Monterey is making me cold just sitting here. I think the drysuit is a no-brainer and the real discussion should be whether drygloves are necessary (I love them).
 

ktkt

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Personally, I stay pretty warm and don't plan to switch to a drysuit. I'm totally comfortable in my 7mm Merino-Elastiprene suit, plus 5mm hood, gloves, and boots, as long as I am also wearing neoprene socks. I've done a 4-dive day in Monterey temps. Of course, this only works because my suit fits really well, which means that putting it on is a bit of a struggle :wink:

I probably should also note that while I was fine temperature-wise, having waterlogged/wrinkly feet from wearing wet boots all day is not especially fun.

That said, I am planning on dry suit training this month, but that's only because I want to go diving when I go to Iceland (in 35-39 F glacial meltwater).
 

Peter_C

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I just don't log dives
Personally, I stay pretty warm and don't plan to switch to a drysuit. I'm totally comfortable in my 7mm Merino-Elastiprene suit, plus 5mm hood, gloves, and boots, as long as I am also wearing neoprene socks. I've done a 4-dive day in Monterey temps.
Are you part Eskimo? The next questions are how long are you dives and how deep?
 

Hinalo

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IF you add a 7/3 hooded vest to ktkt's outfit it becomes my wetsuit solution, which worked for me for two years in NCoast/Monterey waters. It still does work great for southern channel islands diving, but I have retired it for northern california diving in favor of a drysuit after a particular boat trip back to Monterey from Carmel one November Sunday in 40&#730; f topside temps and and a stiff wind. I froze and even a big boatcoat and some shelter didn't help. The next day I ordered a drysuit.
 
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ktkt

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Are you part Eskimo? The next questions are how long are you dives and how deep?

Part Scandinavian, which must count for something! And I lived in Michigan the last 6 out of 7 years, which toughened me up a bit.

Anyway, dives mostly in the 40-70ft range, lasting 30-60 min. I'm comfortable on the longer/deeper end of that, but I've had some brand new divers as buddies lately.

My first dives in Monterey, before I added the neoprene socks, my feet were freezing after 35-40 minutes at 50-60ft (plus 10 minutes or so of surface swimming), but since I solved the problem of too much water swishing around my feet, I've been very happy in the wetsuit. I am still amazed at what a big difference that little fix made.
 

eelnoraa

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Definitely go dry. A good quality semi-wet suit can easy run you $500 and it may or may not fit you well. If you add a hooded vest, it is another $150 easily. You can get a very decent used dry suit or even new drysuit of lesser brand for about $600. Of course you will need under garmet of other accessories for your drysuit. But the cost dfference isn't as big as you imagine and the reward is big.
 

kathydee

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My first 200 dives were in water warmer than 80F. When switching to local cold water diving, I struggled with which wetsuit to purchase and am very thankful that I decided to purchase a wetsuit that could be returned.

A 12 minute plunge in a 7mm into 46F water was plenty. I returned the wetsuit, purchased a drysuit, suffered the learning curb and have not looked back ;-).
 
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