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Old 11-04-2016, 10:06   #1
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Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

We have been pricing immersion suits in preparation for going north soon (I hope). Immersion suits are on the "must have" list, but boy are they spendy.

We were talking to one of the commercial fishermen and it turns out he is not only required to have them, but also replace them every couple of years (SOLAS regulations) and he has to buy new this year. The old ones (3-5 years old, can't remember) have never been used other than his drill teaching crew how to put them on.

So, we're buying 3 almost brand new immersion suits for US$75 each (we already have one). I have done just a little research and it seems that the material should be good for at least another 3-5 years. This has saved us a ton of money and I don't think our lives will be at risk because of they're not brand brand new.
It's better than going offshore with nothing and now I can buy a better EPIRB.

Just a thought for budget constrained cold water sailors - I'm pretty happy about this.
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:42   #2
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

Hot tip, thanks.

You do have a life raft, right?

From one cold water sailor to another -- I'm above 60N at the end of my cruise this year, as usual -- we consider the life raft to be a matter of life and death, because of the cold water, but it's not common for recreational sailors to carry immersion suits (we call them "gumby suits") in this neck of the woods.
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:48   #3
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

Last I was aware, immersion suits only need to be pressure tested at 3 year intervals, not renewed.
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:38   #4
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

We don't have a life raft yet. Need one but haven't even begun my research yet. Lots to learn
The boat we're buying the suits from is a family operation, if they weren't required to buy them I'm pretty sure they wouldn't. I'm still learning.

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Old 11-04-2016, 11:47   #5
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

Quote:
Originally Posted by redhead View Post
We don't have a life raft yet. Need one but haven't even begun my research yet. Lots to learn
The boat we're buying the suits from is a family operation, if they weren't required to buy them I'm pretty sure they wouldn't. I'm still learning.

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Smaller i better, as heat loss is a big consideration.
Gumby suits are required on FV because of what they do and how they do it.
A life raft is easier to get into also.
I have mine on the upper deck and will not deploy it until the water gets that high.

Lastly, have AIS transceiver. That way you will far less chance of ever having to use any of the above.

I'll be up there in 2 years.

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Old 11-04-2016, 12:27   #6
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

I've worked with Canadian search and rescue for 30 years and have maintained several different style emersion suits, all of which are only good if maintained to a standard which can only be verified with regular testing and by certified people. Even then there is no 100% guarantee of survival, they just buy you some time.
Any form of layering of clothing is proven to increase your survival rate to exposure in the water, so yes, in my experience, a second hand survival suit is better than no suit in 15 c - 59 F even if leaking.

If I was going up to the northern coast of Labrador or North west passage
I would invest in a "new certified" suit, currently I just wear a PFD for this area.
its what you are willing to take as an acceptable risk, New certified is the low risk, anything else is your call.
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Old 11-04-2016, 12:33   #7
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

our 'answer' to this was to regularly wear dry suits (with wicking and fleece layers underneath) rather than conventional weather gear">foul weather gear, as our normal on-deck clothing. That way if you go in the water you are wearing something useful. We figured the immersion suits will most likely still be in the wet locker when/if you need them.

The breathable drysuits with front zipper and pee zipper are pretty easy to wear and 'live in'. They also keep you absolutely dry in conditions where normal foul weather gear will not.
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Old 11-04-2016, 12:42   #8
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

Thanks all. We may be re thinking this issue. Checking out breathable dry suits and life rafts now.

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Old 11-04-2016, 20:33   #9
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

Second the breathable drysuit idea. I wear a kayaking drysuit. Lightweight HH (nylon) raingear worn over the drysuit gives a pretty good measure of snag/tear protection to the drysuit while working on the deck. Good insulation under the drysuit will keep you comfortable for some time in the water.

Gets hot when it's sunny out though.

Even with the rain gear over, a lightweight drysuit isn't nearly as abrasion/tear resistant as a gumby suit.
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Old 12-04-2016, 08:42   #10
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

Quote:
Originally Posted by redhead View Post
We don't have a life raft yet. Need one but haven't even begun my research yet. Lots to learn
The boat we're buying the suits from is a family operation, if they weren't required to buy them I'm pretty sure they wouldn't. I'm still learning.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
Sounds like you got a great deal. I hope you never need them.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:05   #11
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

I lost a few good friends commercial fishing back in the 50's and 60's long before immersion suits were either available or mandated. I, myself, went overboard a couple of times but fortunately survived. When I think back to the circumstances that led up to the drownings and death by exposure, I can't think of when one of us would have the time or presence of mind to get kitted out before the event. Maybe I'm missing something here but I have donned an immersion suit in a pool and there is no way I could or would work in one. Phil
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:27   #12
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

I bought two decertified Viking immersion suits for 100 bucks on eBay from a guy in Hong Kong. While they are out-dated, they were in new condition.

If you carry an umbrella, it won't rain...usually.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:28   #13
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

We sail in cold water and do not have immersion suits as they are not practical for a family with small (read growing children). However we did spend a fair bit extra to get a life raft with a very well insulated floor. It cost double some of the cheaper alternatives but seems to give much better survival prospects in case of loss of boat. Hope to never have to test it.

I am going to buy one suit for myself (ex oil rig helicopter issue) as I am the most likely to be on deck in something truly horrible. I was not comforted when the vendor suggested they merely delayed the inevitable and made it easier to find a body. He did go on to say that a used suit is a compromise and should be checked regularly as they will deteriorate.

I have spent a fair bit of time and money ensuring we have good harnesses, lots of attachment points, jack lines bow to stern and use them all. The objective is to stay out of the water.

Like most of this safety stuff I think it needs to be treated as part of a system with lots of layers of backup.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:43   #14
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

I bought a used working immersion suit as my foul weather gear on my first crossing of the North Atlantic and it worked great. I take it along now but only wear it in very bad weather while at the helm since it is very warm and dry.
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Old 12-04-2016, 11:42   #15
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Re: Immersion Suits - Something to Think About

We don't have emersion suits but use the Mustang survival work suit instead. I am sure it would not meet commercial regulations but then again, we are not commercial. We like them because you can actually wear them, stand watch and actually get something done on the boat or on shore. A thin drysuit underneath might make them even more safe.
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