Do You Know How A Wetsuit Keeps A Scuba Diver Warm When They’re Underwater?
No one really enjoys squeezing themselves into a black rubber suit in any circumstances, but doing it under the hot sun burning up the tropics is even worse. Many people heading to the Caribbean to go diving for the first time don’t like the idea of putting on a wetsuit. The water is so warm, how can someone possibly get cold while diving?
The fact of the matter is that water will suck heat out of the human body 20 times quicker than atmosphere will. For instance, room temperature air is generally 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit and considered comfortable. However, water at that temperature is going to make a driver shiver after a while if they’re not using a wetsuit. In fact, any water with a lower temperature than the normal human body (high 90s F) can eventually cool a diver down, possibly even to the condition of hypothermia.
Wetsuits help keep a scuba diver warm because they entrap a tiny layer of water up against the body of the diver. The diver obviously still gets wet, of course. However, his or her body will heat up that thin layer of water that gets trapped, eventually to the point of it matching their body temperature. With a properly fitting suit, that warmed-up layer of water won’t get swished away.
The heat loss is slowed because most wetsuits have a layer of rubber, specifically neoprene, that is thick and filled with air bubbles. The mixture or bubbles and rubber has insulating properties that retain heat. Thicker wetsuits have more insulation, thus less heat gets lost.
It should be noted that wetsuits will still let a diver get chilled after a while on long dives or in cold temperatures. Drysuits might be better choices on such dives.
Another thing to take note of is the fact that while wetsuits do provide some protection against physical contact with wildlife and coral reef underwater, divers wearing them shouldn’t feel so safe that they seek out such contact deliberately.