Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-05-2013 Thread Starter
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Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

For those who have listened to the testimony of Bounty crews regarding their survival suit, it seems that there are lot of room for improvement. I have been thinking about instead of buying these expensive overprice suit, why not just get a diving wet suit or dry suit.

Does anyone think of any potential problems with it?
I assume that i will also have my PFD with harness and helmet. I will put this on when there is an imminent capsizing possibility.


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post #2 of 16 Old 03-05-2013
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

Not too sure about a dry suit but a wet suit is meant to be used for a short period of time. It helps retain your body heat when in the water but will not work nearly as well as a survival suit. Also, a wet wetsuit will sap your heat faster then dry bare skin when exposed to wind.

I think a survival suit also acts as PFD.

Less than $400 for your life is a no brainer.

Most of the time people have problems with survival suits is because they do not do practice drills. It will give you your best chance of survival in the water if you can get it on in time.
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-05-2013
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

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Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
For those who have listened to the testimony of Bounty crews regarding their survival suit, it seems that there are lot of room for improvement. I have been thinking about instead of buying these expensive overprice suit, why not just get a diving wet suit or dry suit.

Does anyone think of any potential problems with it?
I assume that i will also have my PFD with harness and helmet. I will put this on when there is an imminent capsizing possibility.
Ever try to put on a 7mm wet suit when everything is wet and your in panic mode??

Also the price of a dry suit is considerable more then a survival suit..

I've never seen a dive suit come in international orange with attached reflective SOLAS tape

..though it's an interesting idea
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-05-2013
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

Consider the waters in which you sail. Big difference between 50 degrees and 80 degrees, and what is needed to prevent hypothermia.
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post #5 of 16 Old 03-05-2013
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

Wet. dry suit are great for surfing for a few hours, but not for exposure for great periods of time.

aa3jy is right putting on on and hurrying is not gonna work. Take it from an old surfer.


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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

I'm with caberg. It depends on where you sail. Also a wet or dry suit is damn handy when there's a line wrapped around the rudder.

And sailing in a survival suit must be impossible.

If I sailed far off shore in cold waters, both. Coastal waters and the Chesapeake, wet/dry suit.

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post #7 of 16 Old 03-05-2013
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Wet. dry suit are great for surfing for a few hours, but not for exposure for great periods of time.

aa3jy is right putting on on and hurrying is not gonna work. Take it from an old surfer.
I think you need to look at terminology a bit, dry suits are made to be worn with under clothes and they provide the warmth, the "dry suit" provides the barrier to the water, thus keeping you dry. Wet suits are the neoprene ones in 2-10mm thickness that count on the body and the neoprene to keep the water between the two "warm". Even the good ones will only keep you "relatively" warm. 7mm wet in 55-75 degree water will become quite cold in a matter of hours, and you will perish if not removed from the water in due time. Some folks will pump hot water in to the space between the skin and the wet suit (ala bering sea gold style)

a good dry suit with correct clothes under will keep you dry and warm, thus alive - MUCH longer than a wet suit. I have done full days of diving with a dry suit and never gotten cold. And only my head wet. Or suffered chills and such after a long day diving. Pee breaks can be a challenge or using the P-valve, especially for the female amongst us.

And when used correctly, dry suits can allow pretty good movement and activity. Gumby suits are for survival use only, very restricted movement, walking and such is nigh impossible for any length of time. However, IF you can get in it before you hit the water, you can gain several hours survival.

Getting in on dry pavement is a chore. Getting in, panicked, tossing deck, water or wet clothes, could take 10 minutes or so.
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

Dry suits do not breathe. I cannot imagine wearing one for very long outside the water without getting wet from sweat. So you still need to put it on just before you hit the water. I would go for the survival suit and know how to put it on quick. They are baggy enough that you wear clothes underneath and still have enough room to get them on. Plenty of videos on YouTube showing people putting them on in about a 1.5 minutes and not rushing.

Plus, as mentioned before, they have the high visibility colors and reflectors to get you seen by SAR.

I own 2 wetsuits but I will buy a survival suit for going off shore.

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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

I have a neoprene drysuit from the 80's. The movement restriction in that thing is crazy - there's no way I'd want to try to wear it while sailing in heavy conditions. THe fabric drysuits have better movement. If you could wear it partially unzipped, that might alleviate some of the heat/sweat/dampness issues, but of course having it unzipped when you hit the water negates the whole "drysuit" idea.

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post #10 of 16 Old 03-05-2013
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

Take a look at the "Mustang" series of immersion suits and other gear that the USCG and other agencies wear. I choose not to take the gumby suit, but had an older series of a 1 piece mustang survival suit. If your in cold waters you might want to consider a double floor for your liferaft.
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