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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit
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Thread: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-06-2013 01:53 PM
erps
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.
03-06-2013 01:39 PM
jrd22
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.
03-06-2013 01:17 PM
denverd0n
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.
03-06-2013 12:01 PM
downeast450
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.

Down
03-06-2013 08:49 AM
MarkofSeaLife
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.
03-06-2013 08:29 AM
Minnewaska
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.
03-06-2013 12:42 AM
aeventyr60
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.
03-05-2013 11:48 PM
jimgo
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.
03-05-2013 09:26 PM
Tim R.
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.
03-05-2013 09:07 PM
kd3pc
Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit

Quote:
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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