PADI Specialty Courses: Dry Suit Diver

Diving in cold water comes with a bit more equipment and training than tropical diving, but the rewards include the ability to explore regions most people wouldn't even think of dipping a toe into. Because cold waters are often fed by nutrient-rich upwellings from the deep sea, the abundance and variety of marine life is remarkable. But there will be times when multiple layers of wetsuits won't cut it against the cold. You'll need a dry suit, and there's no better way to learn how to dive in one than by taking the Dry Suit Diver PADI Specialty course!

Diving in a dry suit is quite different from diving in a wetsuit. If it wasn't already obvious, a dry suit prevents water from coming into contact with any part of your body other than a small portion of your face. Seals at the neck and wrists are manufactured to seemingly ridiculously small dimensions at their openings, but this is so each diver can trim the seals to the specific measurements they desire for their face and wrists. Gloves are worn separately, but boots are permanently attached to the dry suit. It's a bit like wearing those full body pajamas you wore as a child — nice and cozy!

Gas from your cylinder is pumped into your suit for two reasons: To add a insulating layer of air between you and the cold, and to establish buoyancy. You will be adding and releasing gas to your suit, rather than your BCD, throughout your dive to maintain buoyancy. This subtle change takes a little getting used to, and a good amount of practice to perfect, but you will get the hang of it, and you will be less likely to experience symptoms of hypothermia on your cold water dive.

Certified (Junior) Open Water Divers age 10 and up are eligible for the Dry Suit Diver course. Students enrolled in this course will have classroom time and practice time over the course of one confined dive and two open water dives. The course will cover:

  • Dry suit and thermal undergarment styles
  • Proper care of a drysuit
  • Putting on and taking off your dry suit without help
  • Buoyancy control
  • Dry suit safety procedures

Taking this course counts toward the five specialties needed for an Advanced Open Water Certification. You can even ask your instructor if the Dry Suit Diver course can be used toward college credit. Even if neither of these apply to you, you can be sure that learning how to dive a dry suit will be one of the more rewarding challenges you've undertaken in your passion for scuba diving!

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