Nico de Corato: My First Experience with a Dry Suit

My First Experience with a Dry SuitToday was a special day for me: my first immersion with a dry suit. Differently than a wet suit, a dry suit isolates the wearer from the water and keeps the scuba diver dry and warm. Even in waters that are not particularly cold, when the air temperature is low, a dry suit is a great choice, as it allows to lengthen the time spent in the water and the increase of the number of dives. In addition, the wearer is completely dry the moment he or she gets out of the water. Those who begin using dry suits often can’t do without it even in mild climates. This type of suit is also a must for technical immersions and commercial divers, especially when diving in polluted waters.

Thanks to the availability and professionalism of Pasquale Manzi and of the staff of the A.S.D. Bikini Diving, today, I was able to do my first diving. The site of choice was the Banco di Santa Croce, a place I already visited for my first test with a Nikon camera housing. The Banco di Santa Croce is really becoming my test bench.

I will not address the peculiarity and the beauty of the Banco, as I already wrote about it I the past; today we reached -38mts to go into one of the caves, inside the main pinnacle. The water was really cold for my taste, 14 degrees. The depth didn’t help either, but it was the ideal environment to try the dry suit.

This type of equipment does affect the balance of the diver and, since I was in the learning stage, I decided to use a 8,5 Kg weight (generally I use 4 or 6 Kg weights); the weight ended up being too much and a 7Kg weight would have been sufficient as I immediately felt at ease; however, for safety reasons, the decision to exceed the needed weight was right: managing the amount of air in the suit affects the control of the ascend.

It was one of the most relaxing diving sessions of my life. I didn’t have a particular goal or work reason for that session, so I was able to enjoy it as a student, without the tension of a final exam to prepare for. I was curious also about diving for the first time after the apnea stage with Umberto Pelizzari (two weeks ago in Dubai); I was especially curious to see if the techniques I learned would have helped me while scuba diving especially because I have always used a lot of air during my sessions.

The results were great. Even though the water was cold, I was utilizing new gear, I dove to a depth of 40 meters and was in the water for 40 minutes, I resurfaced with still 100 bar of pressure in the tank (generally you start with 200/220 bar and 50 bar is considered to be the reserve necessary for the resurfacing and the safety stop. So, what else can I say…See you at the first TEC course!

My First Experience with a Dry Suit

Banco of Santa Croce: scuba diving in the cave

It’s important not to underestimate some of the peculiarities of this gear; dry suits, in fact, have inflation valves connected to the primary breathing cylinder. It also has an exhaust valve, which lets the scuba diver vent air from the suit during the ascent.  The inflation valve must be used exclusively to compensate for the compression due to the pressure and just lift the suit off the skin slightly. It’s wrong and dangerous to utilize the dry suit to correct the neutral buoyancy and balance. There are specific courses to learn the correct use.

The semi dry suit, maintains a thin layer of water between the body and the suit, allowing for an exchange with the external environment only with manual intervention of the diver. This layer of water warms up through the contact with the body and maintains a warmer temperature than the water outside the suit favoring, then, the resistance to cold.

My First Experience with a Dry Suit

SEAC Show Room in Italy

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