Transcribed by DNN Staff
This Tech Tip is in response to many viewer questions – people are constantly asking me about what to buy and when to buy. This time I will talk about wet suits or exposure suits, something diver need anywhere in the world, even in warm waters. The fact remains that you tend to get cold even if the water is 85F degrees because you still lose body heat. If you dive in the north like I do in Canada, you need a thick wet suit or exposure suit all the time.
Let’s talk about wetsuits; should you buy or rent? First let’s deal with the economics and then the practicalities. A good quality wetsuit will cost between $200 to $300 or more. You can pay less and buy an off-brand but you don’t know what you are getting. No idea where it was made, the neoprene quality, if it was glued and seamed or its guarantee. You are better off to spend the extra money to get a brand name with a good warranty from a local dive store that will help fix any problems. To rent one typically costs $15 to $20 a day,maybe $30 for a weekend, something around this range. Economically, in 10 to 12 rentals, you would have bought that wetsuit. If you don’t plan to dive more than 12 times in your lifetime – rent it, otherwise you are better off to buy one. A wetsuit can last you a very long time: keep it clean, out of the sun, it will last for years and save you money in the long term.
Buying one makes sense for folks who are not a typical size or don’t fit in the standard sizing charts. New wet suits are incredibly stretchy but you may not fit a rental store suit comfortably or have lots of size choices. Rental suits tend not to be treated very well. This rental I’m holding for example, will not stretch as well as a new one. A rental suit will typically do 12 to 16 or more dives a week a year. So a rental suit will last about one year vs your own suit which may last 4 to 5 years.
I heard a story the other day, “what we need to know when flying on an airplane”. I didn’t know that when the plane cleaning crew goes throughafter passengers leave, they do not wipe the seat trays. They do not use any disinfectant on the dinner tray we eat off. In fact, they do not clean any part of the trays. I will from now on take disinfectant wipes to clean the may armrest and trays. My point is: this same situation applies to rental wetsuit. No matter how much a dive store tells you they clean their suits, they generally do not. Cleaning a wetsuit requires water, soap, staff time and drying. They may rinse it inside and outside but I guarantee they won’t do a deep clean and certainly won’t clean in-between every rental the way you may want. It is often easy to tell if a rental was not cleaned as soon as its gets wet – it won’t smell very nice. That is another practical reason to buy your own suit, it fits well and is cleaned.
Hopefully this is something to get you thinking.