Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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  #11  
Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

For a wet suit to properly protect one against heat loss, which is the point of wearing one, it has to fit very tightly to limit the amount of water that lies between your skin and the suit. Your body will warm a small amount, but too much will become a heat sink. Therefore, they are both uncomfortable to move in and difficult to don. They are, therefore, impractical for wearing continuously or for donning quickly.

There are many different types of dry suits. Some intended for surfing, as Chef points out. Others for diving, with the ability to add and extract air from within, to compensate for the pressure of depth. Diving suits often require the user to wear insulation beneath them. Some are made from crushed neoprene, providing some warmth. These are all very expensive and unnecessary for use as a survival suit.

If I were going to wear a dry suit in anticipation of ditching, I would want an aviators anti-exposure suit. More flexibility, but still restrictive, and they typically have relief zippers for using the head.

However, I don't think the odds are good enough that one would always anticipate the need to have these on in advance. Therefore, getting in quickly is the relative advantage of a gumby suit. Although, you should give it a try sometime, it still isn't simple.
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Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

My shorty scuba diving wetsuit will be the first thing that I put on if I have to abandon!
I sail in the tropics so warmth is not as important as high latitudes... But movement is.

Steve Calaghan in Survive said he was so badly bumped around in the liferaft and had so many bruises and cuts that wouldn't heal. A wetsuit would protect from those sort of injuries.
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Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

We carry "Gumby" suits for the need to "abandon ship". Practicing with them is almost fun. The grandchildren sure enjoy watching. We also have Mustang suits with harness that we can sail in if conditions require that kind of protection. The Mustang suits are warm and float. With their built in harness they provide a lot of security and comfort in rough conditions. Collars and cuffs will keep water out but if I were expecting to be bobbing around in the north Atlantic I would rather be in the "Gumby". Having the other things you would need for survival in pockets or attached to either suit is almost as important as having the correct suit.

We do not carry a a life raft when cruising within 75 miles of shore. Survival times should allow rescue in either of the suits. Having a radio, a PLB of some sort along and flares are essential, too (all waterproof and floating)! When we paddle in the open ocean both paddlers are equipped with them and we are wearing farmer john wet suits. Those exploits never get very far from shore. The canoe is equipped with floatation and we practice self rescue in that, too.

I can imagine hurrying to put on a wet suit in difficult conditions. NOT! The "Gumby" is the way to go if you are ditching.

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Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

Yep. The really big advantage that the gumby suits have over the others is the ability to get into them quickly and easily in a panic situation.
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Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

We also carry the gumby suits for emergencies. They are the only thing that you are going to have a chance of getting into in a hurry. Getting into my 7mm one piece wetsuit is almost a two person job even when warm, dry and on a stable platform (if I lost some weight it might be a little easier, but you get the drift). You can quite often find the gumby suits on craigslist for around $100-150 in very good condition (most are never used, just practice on/off). They take up a bit of space but are flexible so they conform to weird compartments.
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Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

I participated in a survival course that included jumping off a boat and swimming ashore and spending the night on an island in the southern Puget Sound. That made me a believer in the gumby suits. Also, as previously mentioned I was surprised to learn that a wet wetsuit hindered me keeping warm when out of the water. We did two night dives in Hawaii a few years back. I was a little chilled after the second dive and kept my suit on during the ride back to the harbor. I kept getting more chilled and the dive master recommended taking the wet suit off. I did and it was instant relief from the chill of the wet wetsuit.
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