Thread: Dry Suit or Wet Suit For Safety
09-04-2009, 09:51 PM #1
Dry Suit or Wet Suit For Safety
I live in Ohio and as a result the riding season is shorter than I would like it to be. I would like to ride into the winter months with water temps >= to 50 degrees. I will be solo since no one else in my circle of friends desires to ride in those temps. My question is which type of suit should I purchase. I most cases I don't plan on failing in, but I also do not want to be the next cautionary tail. I thought I would ask your section of the forum since you deal with safety. My concern is not so much that I would fall in and not be able to remount (it could happen) but that I would breakdown in the middle of the lake and have to swim a mile to shore. BTW I am not the best swimmer (285lbs and 5'10" i.e. I am FAT. However I am trying to fix that) Anyway what do you all recommend. Please no "be a man and just wear a jacket"...... I get enough of that from my friends. Skiing solo during the off season can get you killed if you don't think it through.
09-04-2009, 10:47 PM #2
Hmm, good question. My experience comes from Canyon hiking. If we were rappelling/hiking a canyon that we knew we could move through w/little trouble, we generally only wore wet suits: some farmer johns, some shorties. If the particular canyon required extensive waiting time in a keeper hole or generous amounts of canyon swimming, then dry suits were the order of the day.
If you feel that a break down will result in spending more than 15 minutes in near freezing water, then you should consider a dry suit. That being said, however, price diff. between wet/dry may be quite substantial. Rem.: hypothermia kills.
09-05-2009, 10:51 AM #3
We ride here in north Alabama all year and the water temp gets very cold in the winter and I would suggest buying a wet suit and a good rain suit and ride with the rain suit over the wet suit. unless you get the neoprene dry suit dry suits dont offer much insulation while your in the water without bulky insulation underneath. From my experience the dry suit seal around the neck gets uncomfortable after a while. I own both, I used to do a lot of scuba diving. The rain suit keep those waves and spray from hitting you and giving you that shock factor when the water is cold plus it cuts the wind, in case you have fallen off it keeps the wind from freezing you on the ride back. Dont forget a good pair of gloves and boots. Another suggestion if you ride alone at times they sell a collapsable paddle that will fit in the storage or engine compartment of most skis and can be a life saver and keep you out of the water, just paddle it back like it was a canoe.
09-07-2009, 12:54 PM #4
Survival suits used for the offshore oil industry work well. The ones to get are the dry suit type used by the aircrew as they are not as bulky since they need to be able to work in relative comfort with reduced movement restrictions. They also allow you to wear a fleese undergarmet for extra warmth. The forward zipper type is best so you can relieve the rubber seal tightness around the neck. The feet are part of the suit and the wrists seal around the skin so you can select the most suitable gloves. Remember, you will be riding close to shore and reporting in at reqular intervals so maximum survival time in the water is not so critical.
If you fall off in the winter and your hands get cold you may not be able to remount easily. You want good gloves. The rain suit idea is good too, you really have to think about how much money you are willing to spend and the risk level you are comfortable with. If money were not a concern I'd spend $1500 on a high quality suit.
09-08-2009, 11:47 PM #5
we live in stlouis and ride till mid november and back in the water in march we use seadoo wet suits and put rain gear over the top when to cold keep extra gloves and towel have hit the water in november cold ride home
09-12-2009, 09:51 AM #6
- Join Date
- Aug 2007
I ride all year. I've lived in PA, VA, OK, and OH when I've skied during the winter months. I have lots of pictures of skiing in the snow. The coldest I've done is 28 degrees (air) and 46 degrees (water). I wear a wet suit down to about the 50-60 range, then I switch to a dry suit. I agree that the dry suits the air crew people wear are best. More maneuverability. Staying warm with a dry suit is similair to staying warm when just being outside. You wear normal warm gear underneath. I actually prefer the dry suit because you stay dry no matter what. That takes away the reluctance to get in the water that you have with the wet suit.
Have fun and be safe!
10-04-2009, 11:08 PM #7
Ive been skiing all summer in 3mm shorty with upper layers but today I donned my 7mm/5mm Gold Core Farmer John. 2 rash guards, 3mm zip jet pilot jacket, goretex shell then PFD.
Its a great system because I can layer up or down. No upper body restriction with F John and great core warmth. The gtex shell is very lightweight, can be wadded up in a ball and stuffed in bow but it makes big difference to overall warmth especially with high winds and bow spray.
The dry suit gives me claustrophobia but I see some advantages in the coldest conditions ie 50 water and 40 air or less.
Keeping head warm makes a huge difference. One sub 50deg wave to the face and head + 60 mph wind = headache. I wear either a 3mm cap or thin liner under helmet.
10-05-2009, 12:17 AM #8
- Join Date
- Jul 2007
- near Toronto, Canada
Think about back up plans and options.
Create a Float Plan, and leave it with someone on land who knows who and how to alert if you don't check back in on schedule.
Even if you don't fall in the water, things can happen. Engines fail, hulls and hoses leak, objects in the water kill the jet pump, or crack the hull, etc.
Carry a portable, waterproof marine VHF radio, and know how to use it. Carry a GPS, so you know where you actually are on the water, and can tell rescue dispatch.
Even better, carry a VHF radio that has GPS built-in. A radio with DSC + GPS would be the best
A cell phone in a dry pak is also good thing to carry, but remember to save the correct phone numbers for Coast Guard, Marine Rescue, Marine Police, Emergency Tow services, Marine Weather, and so on.
Choose one where you don't have to open the dry pak to use the phone.
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