If this is your first time diving in Canada, or in waters of around 8 degrees Celsius (46.4 degrees Fahrenheit), this is a good short guide to choosing your make or break gear needs for diving in Canada.
Choose Drysuits over Wetsuits or Semi-Dry
Drysuits have a layer of air between your skin and the suit. This layer prevents water from reaching your skin, and the vacuum ensures the cold won’t pass through. Although they will alter the way you manage buoyancy (the air can move around), they are your best bet for diving warm.
Pro tip: Read this article to learn more about choosing a good drysuit.
If your preference is for wetsuits, go for 7mm thickness and neoprene construction. The same goes for semi-dry suits. At the very least, the thickness will help your body keep the heat in and manage the cold.
Gloves, Socks / Boots, and Hoods are Required
Because your extremities are the first to lose blood flow and therefore the first to suffer cold, you don’t want to experience loss of feeling and movement in the water. Go for dry neoprene gloves and make sure the dry seals match the gloves perfectly to your drysuit. If you do insist on wet gloves or semi-dry, have them at 5mm at the thinnest.
If your dry suit comes with “socks,” check if they are rigid enough at the sole to walk on. If not, they are meant to be worn with a boot. The thickness should be at least 5mm; it can be thicker if you want. Pull-on boots might be better than zippers to limit water exchange, but they are harder to put on. Make sure they are flexible and stable enough to handle your fins.
Hoods can be a pain, but they are necessary in waters of this temperature. Make sure the thinnest you get is 5mm; they can go up to 10mm in thickness if you think that’s what it takes. It’s best if they are attached into the suit; otherwise, make sure the seal attaching it into the suit lies as flat and water proof as possible.
Put Thought into Your Buoyancy Control Device
You need to bring at least 30 pounds of weight, well-distributed around your body. For best results, a steel cylinder for gas allows you to bring more in volume, as you consume more gas in trying to stay warm, and adds negative buoyancy on top of that. A good buoyancy control device is trim and has strategically placed pockets for the weights you need to bring. It also has a stable back plate that allows you to take on the steel cylinder. If you choose a good buoyancy control device, you’ve solved many of the challenges that come with diving in Canada.
Pro tip: Check out considerations to weigh, along with cold water vs warm water, as you purchase a BCD for personal use.
Choose the Right Regulator
Yes, there is a different regulator for cold water. There is a possibility of gear freezing and malfunctioning during a cold water dive, and that’s something you want to avoid at all costs. Your regulator should have a sealed first stage, so it won’t end up freezing open and causing free flow. In addition, your second stage should have a heat synch device as a break between it and the tank. This also prevents freezing and allows your regulator to function safely throughout your dive.
Enjoy and happy diving!
Submitted by James Donaldson…thank you!
James Donaldson from the https://thescubaguru.com/. is an avid diver that loves to write almost as much as he loves to dive. James fell into diving backwards. His first job out of high school was fish tank maintenance for a local fish store, and he fell in love with coral and fish.