Cool Tips For Cool Water Diving
The best cool tips for diving in the cool waters of British Columbia are very simple – stay warm, and have a great time!
When your body core temperature decreases, your thought process and reaction time can slow down and you use up more energy and lose endurance.
By taking a few additional steps to maintain your core temperature during a dive, you will be assured a safe, comfortable, spectacular dive.
There is so much incredible scenery to see above and below the surface here in British Columbia that it is worth a little more effort to be able to dive in this world class city and dive destination.
You can stay warm in the water by using a thick wet suit (7 mm), hoodie, dive booties and dive gloves.
You can either bring your own if you have one, or arrange to rent one from a certified PADI or NAUI dive center.
Better yet, buy or rent a dry suit from a certified PADI or NAUI dive center.
Read about Why Drysuit Diving here...
We can help arrange for a quick British Columbia drysuit certification for you.
A proper fitting dry suit, with thermal clothes underneath, will keep you warm and dry during your year round diving in British Columbia.
Before you buy or rent a dry suit though, you need to sign up for extra lessons and practice since the buoyancy is different from that of a wet suit.
A few cool tips in point form are below....
Keeping Warm - Cool Tips Before Your Dive
- Make sure you are fuelled up by eating a good, healthy meal before you leave for your dives, and maybe munch on some snacks if it is a long trip to the dive site
- Check all your gear, set up what you can ahead of time, and make sure it is organized and packed in the order you need it
- ensure you keep warm right up until it's time to get ready. Dress warm, use heaters in the car or boat, and use hats and gloves if necessary
- Bring along plenty of warm fluids and soups in a thermos and have some occasional sips as you head to the site and even as you start your preparations
- Have a cooler full of warm to mildly hot water bottles.
You'll see why below....
Keeping Warm - Gearing Up
- Ensure your wetsuit fits well, is a minimum of 7mm thick, and has double neoprene in areas such as the groin and torso. Maybe even a farmer john style with a full jacket overtop.
- Same with boots and gloves. 7mm thick, long style (extending past your wrists), and consider whether you prefer 5 finger gloves or 3 finger style. You might want to get some neoprene socks too.
- Consider the use of Hotpacks in your palms. My son uses the disposable style for cold soccer games, and I use them for diving too. There are also re-useable types out there, with a harmless sodium acetate solution, which generate a nice temperature for about an hour. Once you're done, boil them in a pot of water and they are ready for your next dive. Just remember not to apply directly to your skin.
- If there is somewhere warm and dry to change - use it!
- Quickly don your wetsuit, socks and booties. Before you zip up, pour in some of the warm water that you brought. that will help to keep any cold water from immediately entering.
- Just before putting on the bcd and tank, pour some warm water through the neck hole all around your body.
- Ensure your partner is doing the same as you at the same time - no point in getting warm and waiting around.
Cool Tips - Keeping Warm During the Dive
- Don't doddle. While you aren't trying to win a speed race, you will want to ensure you keep moving as much as possible, without being inefficient and wasting air.
- Flex your hands while you swim, keep them moving to help keep the blood circulating.
- Remember your reaction time may slow down, and you may not have full muscle control so be careful as you exit the water.
Cool Tips For Warming Up After the Dive
- Get somewhere warm and dry as soon as possible. Unzip at least to your waist, and dry off and put on warm clothes.
- Pour more of the hot water down the bottom half of your wetsuit and plan to get out fully as soon as you can.
- Dry off as much as possible and put warm, dry clothes on before sorting out your gear.
- Eat your snacks, warm soup and drink your warm beverages. relax, and think about the great dive you just had.
Of course, if you took your drysuit course, you wouldn't have to worry about all this!?
You would just be enjoying the warm drinks by now.
Year Round Dive Destination
Year round scuba diving in and around Vancouver is quickly becoming a favorite outdoor recreational activity.
In the spring and summer, and even in the early fall, the temperature is typically very comfortable and it is easy to keep yourself warm while on the surface.
But winter can be one of the best times to dive in British Columbia, so choose a scuba dive charter/operator with a well equipped dive boat.
Some of the larger dive operators have dive boats with heated, enclosed quarters for use during your travel and surface time.
Bring extra warm, dry clothes for your time before and after your dive.
Fleece is a local favorite for keeping warm, and water proof jackets will help to keep you warm and dry before your dives.
A warm hat and gloves will also help to warm your core body temperature.
Some local dive charters/operators will also supply hot soup and/or hot beverages to warm you from the inside.
If not, pack your own in a thermos and bring it along.
Avoid drinking alcohol though, since it is not only dangerous to drink and dive, it brings blood to the skin surface which cools you down even faster.
A final cool tip is to be organized.
The less time you spend getting your dive gear on or off, the more time to spend keeping warm and enjoying the scenery of British Columbia.
We hope these cool tips have been of some help - enjoy your dives.
Need more info about keeping warm while diving cool in British Columbia?
One of the Best Cool Tips is to train for and wear a dry suit.
For about one hundred dollars, you can take your dry-suit specialty course which will almost guarantee you warm, dry diving in British Columbia.
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