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Old 25-12-2013, 06:12   #46
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pirate Re: Wet Suit

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
...The only way to be sure a suit won't shrink is to buy "nitrogen blown neoprene" which automatically puts you into the more expensive suits--but at least they don't shrink....
This is critical, I've found, as no matter one's New Year's hopes, shrinking isn't the usual outcome.
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Old 25-12-2013, 09:12   #47
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Re: Wet Suit

A wet suit doesn't shrink, it will eventually compress if you use it for diving, the deeper you go the faster it will compress eventually rendering it almost useless as it will too thin to provide much warmth, but shrink?
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Old 25-12-2013, 09:25   #48
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Re: Wet Suit

Yes, for surfing. I buy whatever's on sale at the surf shop with glued & taped seams..
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Old 25-12-2013, 11:34   #49
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Re: Wet Suit

Yes, shrink. Compression happens during every dive to depth, sure. That's not what I'm talking about. Wetsuits are usually made of neoprene that has been foamed, as opposed to solid neoprene. It is foamed in two ways, either by gas expansion, just like shaking a soda bottle and unscrewing the cap, or by gas expansion from "pancake batter", when chemicals mixed into the neoprene "batter" are heated and provide gas.

The neoprene is stretched, like a balloon, when the bubbles form. And if someone cheats on the chemicals, they eventually attack the neoprene, making it brittle as it ages. Then the bubbles collapse and the neoprene foam tries to contract, resulting in shrinkage.

Some years ago one of the top wetsuit makers was kind enough to give me a half-dozen foot-square sheets of different materials to help document this, and I marked off a full 36" on the spin of a couple of wetsuits as well. The nitrogen blown wetsuit stayed at 36" while the el-cheapo suit got down to 34" and change after five years. Neither was used extensively, or to great depth, in that time. If anything, the nitrogen blown suit got the bulk of the use so it "should" have shrunk more if that was from compression, but it didn't.

Divers joke about putting on weight and getting fatter and saying "No, my wetsuit shrank, haha" but that is for real. If it wasn't nitrogen blown, there is NO WAY to tell how it will age except "trust the maker" and they have no way to know, unless they actually made the neoprene.

You're welcome to try the same thing, go buy a new wetsuit, measure off 36", draw some lines with magic marker, and check the measurement annually. After a couple of years...you'll know what the phrase "rubber ruler" means.
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Old 27-01-2014, 23:28   #50
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Re: Wet Suit

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I always carry a shortie wetsuit and booties... even for deliveries..
In bad weather like winds and rain and cold I will use them with a snug wind cheater as they help keep the cold out/body heat in.. and are a damn sight easier to move around on deck quickly with the decreased windage.. getting chilly..? give the kettle a quick blast and pour the warm water down the neck and your toasty again in a flash.. don't make as much mess below decks after as foulies... a towel will quickly sop what little excess moisture may be there.. the booties give good grip on all surfaces..
Also handy if I need to go over the side to un foul the prop or check the rudder for some reason.. hate jelly stings..
+1 - mid winter, howling southerly, anchored on a lee shore, too many barnacles on the prop to motor out - without wetsuit = clean prop, afternoon spent shivering in bunk with stinking headache...with wetsuit, clean prop, anchored in sheltered bay of choice within 3/4 hr, sipping a hot cuppa. Imho wetsuit is part of the toolkit.
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Old 28-01-2014, 04:40   #51
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Re: Wet Suit

I am a diver and prefer a dry suit. They are less restrictive and you don't get wet. A shell suit will roll up and take less space than a 6 mm suit and about the same as a 3/5 mm suit. Much easier to don and doff. Also, if it is cold you can alter what is underneath. In the panhandle of FL, it can get quite cold in the winter with wind and spray.
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Old 28-01-2014, 05:11   #52
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pirate Re: Wet Suit

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Originally Posted by charliehows View Post
+1 - mid winter, howling southerly, anchored on a lee shore, too many barnacles on the prop to motor out - without wetsuit = clean prop, afternoon spent shivering in bunk with stinking headache...with wetsuit, clean prop, anchored in sheltered bay of choice within 3/4 hr, sipping a hot cuppa. Imho wetsuit is part of the toolkit.
I dunno Cap. I agree with yer point but the guy that would get into that spot isn't a guy with the cojones to go over the side in a howling gale in mid winter to clean his prop. More likely to hit the EPIRB cuz he's inconvenienced.
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Old 28-01-2014, 06:17   #53
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Re: Wet Suit

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I am a diver and prefer a dry suit. They are less restrictive and you don't get wet. A shell suit will roll up and take less space than a 6 mm suit and about the same as a 3/5 mm suit. Much easier to don and doff. Also, if it is cold you can alter what is underneath. In the panhandle of FL, it can get quite cold in the winter with wind and spray.
I cave dive, and only do so dry. I have a decent dry suit, not great, but great ones are at least twice as expensive as mine. I believe a dry suit is outside the logical budget here, and they take up a LOT of room in a boat. Link to my drysuit.

Pinnacle 4mm Black Ice Merino Neoprene Front-Entry Drysuit DS19UBK with reviews at scuba.com
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Old 28-01-2014, 07:03   #54
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Re: Wet Suit

How do you rinse your wetsuits off on board, or do you dry them out salty? I go through a few gallons every time I rinse my suits after surfing and can imagine that this would rapidly deplete fresh water stores. Or are they not used frequently enough for it to be a problem?
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Old 28-01-2014, 07:48   #55
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Re: Wet Suit

Rinse?
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Old 28-01-2014, 07:50   #56
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Re: Wet Suit

Yup - I always give my suits a fresh water rinse after use. Otherwise, I've found they get stiff and can be a pain to get on, and eventually get pretty smelly. Just wondering how that works out on a boat
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Old 28-01-2014, 08:10   #57
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Re: Wet Suit

I think blue crab was kidding.
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Old 28-01-2014, 08:15   #58
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Re: Wet Suit

Ha! Maybe that is the answer as well as the joke - don't rinse them!
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Old 28-01-2014, 08:25   #59
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Re: Wet Suit

I was kidding in general. But on a boat with limited fresh water, like mine, I wouldn't bother til It was raining or I could use shore facilities.
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Old 28-01-2014, 21:56   #60
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Re: Wet Suit

Another problem with using a dry suit for boat work is that it'll squeeze uncomfortably if you have to spend any time on or just below the surface. You need a lot of weight to compensate for the air that keeps the suit comfortable.

In 50 deg SF Bay waters, I use a wetsuit to do boat work. It leaves me numb afterwards, but it's easier to maneuver around. I used to have a neoprene dry suit that was quite similar to a wet suit, but still it would squeeze on the surface. All other cold water dives I do dry. I hate being cold.

As far as rinsing goes, put wetsuit de-stink solution in a bucket of 1-2 gal of fresh water and slosh the suit around. Then dry well before storing. That's still a goodly amount of water if you're limited, but I can't imagine needing to use the suit that often.
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