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Old 06-09-2017, 09:17   #1
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immersion suits

I need to purchase immersion suits. Ive worn them for years at work but we always wore ones with out bouyancy, as we wear inflatable lifevests.

Best for sailing - with bouyancy or with out?

looking at the specs the ones with the bouyancy provide enough flotation so you don't have to have a life vest on.

Anyone ever floated around in one that has the floatation?

LD
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Old 06-09-2017, 17:54   #2
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Re: immersion suits

A "gumby suit" generally is made of foamed neoprene, so it has buoyancy and insulation inherent in the material. Unless you are sailing in very warm waters (80F, 25C ?) you will need the insulation. More so in frigid waters.

In my limited experience I've never seen one made otherwise, except for "dry suits" which are really designed to keep you from being splashed, not to protect you during any long immersions.
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Old 06-09-2017, 18:17   #3
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Re: immersion suits

Now you ask. I just took two large off my boat in Ireland. They're older mustang neoprene with inflatable and harness not bad shape and they're for sale
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Old 10-09-2017, 20:34   #4
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Re: immersion suits

The key word with Gumby suits is float, especially in models having head pillows/enhanced floatation in that region. And they're not all designed with out of the water mobility in mind either. Especially as compared to some other styles of survival suits, or cold weather deck work suits like Mustang. And also with traditional gumby suits dexterity levels fall to just above nil. Where in some of the more modern designs you have options on handwear, or gloves on or off. Plus the more modern drysuit style designs tend to have better survival times & mobility.
As of last check, these were more of the norm for extremely cold water rescue wear.

Even a heavy duty drysuit with sufficient under layers is a good start. As they're what's worn by SAR helo crews, especially in colder regions. Plus you can always put on a float coat, or neoprene garments overtop of them as well. Or wear a wetsuit underneath.
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Old 10-09-2017, 21:30   #5
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Re: immersion suits

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
In my limited experience I've never seen one made otherwise, except for "dry suits" which are really designed to keep you from being splashed, not to protect you during any long immersions.

Not true. I spent 4 hours in 32F water in a dry suit for a Good Old Boat Magazine article (Sept-Oct 2016). At the end of the test period my core temperature had gone up a few tenths and I remained bone dry. The point of the article was to compare a dry suit to the USCG immersion suit standard, line-by-line. There are differences, of course.

  • More expensive.
  • Can puncture.
  • Not one-size.
  • More agile than weather gear">foul weather gear.
  • More comfortable than foul weather gear in very wet conditions.
  • More likely to be wearing.
  • Can be used to dive under boat.
You will need about the same insulation under layers you would wear with foul weather gear in similar weather (2 layers of fleece). Water isn't really colder than a strong wind, if you are dry.

And a few more ideas here: http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/20...chapter-9.html


Yes that is ice. The book was to pass the time.




This one comes with an integral jacket.
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Old 10-09-2017, 23:51   #6
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Re: immersion suits

Thanks for the post. I'm now looking to trade in my unused gumby suits for dry suits. It's cold, windy and rainy here on the boat today, they'd come in handy.
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Old 11-09-2017, 00:45   #7
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Re: immersion suits

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
The key word with Gumby suits is float, especially in models having head pillows/enhanced floatation in that region.
Part of what I meant to say here previously is that your ability to swim can be & often is, severly limited by a standard, Gumby style survival suit. So that, wearing one, along with any kind of seas running could make it rather difficult to propel yourself any significant distance through the water. And then if you had to haul yourself into a liferaft, always a difficult thing, while wearing a very encumbering suit of neoprene armor... It could be a "challenge".

Keep in mind that the ease or difficulty of boarding a life raft while wearing one is theory on my part, but it's worth researching. And realistically, trying out if you intend to have gumby suits.

And they're not all designed with out of the water mobility in mind either. Especially as compared to some other styles of survival suits, or cold weather deck work suits like Mustang.
With this my meaning is that performing on deck chores gets geometrically harder when wearing one, at a time when it's already tough, at best, to get around the boat & do things. Such as launching a raft, or going up & down the companionway. As they're bulky, aren't at all designed for walking, don't have the greatest soles on the feet, & unless you've huge feet, the foot sections on them are enormous. So it's like wearing your dad's boots when you were 10.

Try one on & see what your mobility level is like, including on stairs.

And also with traditional gumby suits dexterity levels fall to just above nil. Where in some of the more modern designs you have options on handwear, or gloves on or off.
This is fairly key, as with a lot of the old style survival suits, the gloves or mittens aren't removable. So your ability to perform tasks with your hands is severely curtailed. Be it clipping & unclipping your harness, or something else. This has been changed on the newer suit designs, including the drysuit style ones.

Plus the more modern drysuit style designs tend to have better survival times & mobility. As of last check, these were more of the norm for extremely cold water rescue wear.
The modern drysuit style survival suits actually have longer immersion survival times than do the fully neoprene ones. And have plenty of buoyancy. With much better hand dexterity, & ability to move around, be it in the water or on deck. And sailing drysuits are even better.


The ultimate is Musto's Ocean Drysuit. It's a combination drysuit/survival suit that all of the Volvo racer's wear, & most of the other RTW racers as well.

Even a heavy duty drysuit with sufficient under layers is a good start. As they're what's worn by SAR helo crews, especially in colder regions. Plus you can always put on a float coat, or neoprene garments overtop of them as well. Or wear a wetsuit underneath.
I have a drysuit made with Gore Ocean fabric, & pair it with a 1-piece set of long underwear, plus a 1-piece fleece suit. Then depending on how chilly it is, I'll also throw on maybe a fleece vest or jacket along with. And if it's truly frigid, a Patagonia DAS Parka. Which is synthetically insulated & comes down to crotch level.

For my head I have a fleece lined neoprene beanie. Or when it's truly cold & narsty, a neoprene diving hood. And a variety of glove combinations for my hands. Anywhere from a pair of polypro liners & unlined Atlas rubber gloves, with 3/4 finger sailing gloves overtop. To various thicknesses of neoprene gloves if conditions are brutal.

Footwear wise, drysuits often pair up well with slightly oversized dinghy boots. Neoprene ones as often as not. And they zip up to just above the ankle. Which, they let you keep your full mobility for moving around, & tend to be toasty, especially if you have on a warm pair of socks or two inside of your drysuit.

The other thing is is that for the extra padding alone, a PFD or float coat is nice to have on over this stuff in really rough weather. Let alone for the buoyancy. Though wearing such means reducing what you wear under the suit.
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Old 11-09-2017, 00:56   #8
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Re: immersion suits

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamadriver View Post
I need to purchase immersion suits. Ive worn them for years at work but we always wore ones with out bouyancy, as we wear inflatable lifevests.

Best for sailing - with bouyancy or with out?

looking at the specs the ones with the bouyancy provide enough flotation so you don't have to have a life vest on.

Anyone ever floated around in one that has the floatation?

LD
Yeah, as said by thinwater I'd definately prefer dry suits rather than neoprene solas style immersion suits. You don't need top of the range super breathable ones. I spent a few hours diving and repairing a rudder in Antarctica with just a cheap kayaking drysuit and a wetsuit hoodie. I was warm enough when I got out, except for my exposed hands and face. They are much smaller to stow and a more useful in dinghies, and nasty weather.
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Old 11-09-2017, 01:48   #9
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Re: immersion suits

Golly! Where are you people sailing??

I'm thinking some of you need to toughen up ... just a bit...
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Old 09-10-2017, 14:34   #10
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Re: immersion suits

I spent an hour in the harbor in Rockland Maine with the seawater temperature at 34f and air temp -16f during drill instructor training, I was mighty glad to get a cup of coffee after.
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Old 09-10-2017, 15:07   #11
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Re: immersion suits

Well, it really depends on your intended use. If you are planning to use your 'immersion suit' as your ordinary foul weather gear, a drysuit's the way to go.

For a true immersion suit, meaning an emergency survival suit, I don't think that you can beat the Mustang 'Ocean Commander' or the 'Ice Commander' I have both of them, and they're FAR superior to the normal SOLAS suit, because your hands are free, they have decent boots, and are lighter. I think that these are the best choice as emergency gear, as you can be protected but still be active in trying to save your own butt, which is pretty hard once you've donned the gumby version.

I've floated around in most all of them, they do the job. For working on deck, you're going to probably want a drysuit, though.

On our boat, my kit consists of good foulies, a Mustang float/insuating coverall, and finally SOLAS immersion suits for the raft, should we ever wind up there.

The Mustang work suits are gold when it's cold out but it's not too wet on deck. Super warm, plus solid flotation/increased in-water survival time to boot. My wife lives in hers when we're offshore in cold weather.

But, we have a nice hard dodger, so we can stay quite dry even when the deck looks like a Jacuzzi gone mad...

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