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  #11  
Old 12-08-2012
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Re: Immersion Suits

I've worn them - had to be able to put them on within 3 minutes, which is not easy and takes practice.

They aren't really one size fits all, they are some sizes fit most. The do seal up quiet nicely when put on correctly and sealed at face, neck and wrist. I had to jump into a pool and navigate 50 yards from one end to the other (on your back is the only way to really do so) - When I got out my uniform coveralls were still mostly dry (collar got wet). I was in the pool for about 20 minutes.
That's certainly not the same as a wind blown big wave environment.

I'd wear one to save my life, but not to lounge on deck.

I have a shorty wet suit with 2+2 (float and insulation). I don't wear that for fun either.
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  #12  
Old 12-08-2012
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Re: Immersion Suits

The one and only time I wore one was when I was a 17-year-old kid in the U.S. Navy. Had to put the suit on in three minutes or less, jump (fall) into an ice-cold pool, stay there for an hour, then try to climb out. I tipped the scales at 140-pounds back then and was 6-feet tall - nothing on the suit sealed when a kid that skinny wears it. I got pretty wet, damned cold, and had a lot of trouble climbing out of the pool using the steps at the end. It was a training exercise that I wasn't sure I would survive. Damned, I'm gettin' cold just thinking about it.

Cheers,

Gary
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Old 12-08-2012
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Re: Immersion Suits

Skin tight wet suit will not proetct you for long in 50 degree temp water. Immersion suits are for cold water. In this case function before form ( beauty and maneuverability) will keep you alive.

I got in one once and it took almost 10 minutes. Practice would help.

Dave
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Old 12-08-2012
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Re: Immersion Suits

A guy friend of mine worked the CFD boats and often had to dive in Lake Michigan and the Chicago River in the winter. He told me when it was really cold he would put Vaseline on his face before going in to protect his skin from freezing when he got out. I don't remember if he said what kind of suit he wore (wet, dry, etc.) but he did say one time he had on three tanks and was underwater long enough to use up all the air. He talked about the freezing water and protecting facial skin but I don't recall him saying anything about him being cold, as in hypothermic-type cold.

This is not to challenge what's been said about immersion suits. It's just something I remembered when reading the comments here. Anyone knowledgeable about SCUBA may be able to comment about how long he might have been in the water and what kind of suit would allow him to remain in the water that long.

But if anyone here saw the Bounty show, do you remember if the crew with the "balloon feet" were wearing their suits properly? I think I remember at least one of the three interviewed for the show saying the captain ordered them into the immersion suits and they all scrambled. So they probably didn't have a lot of time before they went into the water.
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Old 12-08-2012
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Re: Immersion Suits

They are large so that they are relatively quick and easy to get into with your clothes on (emergency). They will keep you afloat, and prevent hypothermia for quite a long time. We carry them on both boats, and I also have a 7mm wet suit and scuba gear on the sailboat in case I need to dive. Our water never gets much above 50F so you are only going to live about 30 long, miserable minutes if you go in without a gumby suit on. They've never won any fashion shows.
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Old 12-08-2012
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Re: Immersion Suits

Dave,

When I was young, which I realize is about the same time John Paul Jones joined the Navy, I frequently dover under the ice at Beaver Dam Quarry, which is now Beaver Dam Swim Club. The only protection we had back then was a 3/16-inch thick wet suit. We were good for about 30 minutes, then the cold set in. I later went to a 1/4-inch wet suit, which added about 15 minutes to the time. Of course, I was young and dumb at that stage of life, but the suit did a great job. A few years later I tried the same dive with a dry suit over the wet suit, added another 15 minutes, taking the total dive time to an hour. Ironically, the water was warmer once we got below 25 feet, but only a few degrees. The thermocline essentially reverses during the winter months.

The coldest dive I took was while stationed aboard ship in the North Atlantic near Oslow, Norway. After just 15 minutes in the water wearing a Mark5 rig and full suit I thought I would freeze to death. Checking the zincs on the ship is a routine job that I did monthly, and beieve me, it could be a nasty, dangerous job.

Cheers,

Gary
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Old 12-08-2012
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Re: Immersion Suits

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMor View Post
......Anyone knowledgeable about SCUBA may be able to comment about how long he might have been in the water and what kind of suit would allow him to remain in the water that long...
Very cold water diving is done in a dry suit, which has seals around the wrists and neck that prevent water from entering at all. Well, it may get damp.
Typically, these suits are made of a thin material and one wears insulation beneath. They do make crushed neoprene versions, but the insulation just gets lighter.

Water will conduct heat off your body at an incredible rate, so just staying dry has a huge impact. However, for any length of time, one needs insulation as well.

They do make immersion suits with these same dry seals, but they must be trimmed to fit your specific neck and/or wrist size or they will either choke you or leak. That's why you don't find them as generic suits.
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Old 12-08-2012
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Re: Immersion Suits

We used to do a lot of early spring whitewater kayaking/canoeing, Even a full 1/4" wetsuit only keeps you warm for a short time in 30+ degree water. I've had to pull people out of the river who literally could not move anymore with wetsuits on. Drysuits are a much better option nowadays. If contemplating getting into the liferaft in cold water, I would certainly opt for the drysuit with plenty of fleece underneath. They probably would not keep you alive for as long as a survival suit in cold water but would allow complete movement which is probably very important in the case of being in a liferaft. They are also not bulky and are easily stowed, unlike survival suits which are pretty bulky. I have an older version of the Kokatat dry suit which I bought originally for sea kayaking and now goes in my ditch bag.

http://www.kokatat.com/gender/mens/g...y-top-men.html
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Old 12-08-2012
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Re: Immersion Suits

Modern dry/survival suits are made from gore-tex, they are light, waterproof and breathable.
they are easy to put on and off. In case of a hole, everything can be holed, there is a survival knife on a lifejacket, right? Just cut a leg off the suit.
They also cost more than a small lboat, it is why we still see these bulky last century neoprene suits....
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Old 12-08-2012
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Re: Immersion Suits

The only thing I don't particularly like about the drysuits is that, as mentioned above, they do have tight openings. The neck opening particularly, if cut so it's really watertight, is very uncomfortable. It's like having a rubber band around your neck. Every time I've worn mine, it's a relief to get it off. They come with very small diameter openings. Unless you have a very small neck, wrists and ankles, they require careful cutting (directions come with the suit). They are certainly NOT one size fits all. The neck and sleeve rubber can be renovated when it wears out. Keeping them from drying out is the same as for any wetsuit or rubber product. The prices on these things has really skyrocketed as has any Goretex product.
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