A bit of advice on buying a wetsuit in Florida.
As we get in to our colder seasons here in Florida, wearing a wetsuit while diving is necessary as water temperatures drop about 10 to 15 degrees. There are many different factors that go into buying a wetsuit including the style of suit, the thickness, and color.
A long sleeve full suit is the most common and highly recommended style of wetsuit because it covers the entire body from neck (or head if it is hooded) to ankle. The long sleeve full will keep you much warmer than a short sleeve full or spring suit that does not cover the entire body. Although the long sleeve full suit is highly recommended, some people do not get cold as easily and may go with a short sleeve full, spring suit, or even just a topper and boardshorts. Two-piece are also popular among divers because it allows you to take off the top, while still keeping the bottoms on.
Once you figure out the style of suit you want, thickness is another factor that comes into play. Thickness of your suit is really dependent on which region you live in and what kind of diving you will be doing, as well as how easily you get cold in the water. For most of Florida, a 3mm wetsuit will be a good choice all season long. For the northern region where water and air temperatures get much colder, a 5mm or possibly even a 7mm would be an ideal wetsuit. Also, the deeper you go, the colder the water gets, so a thicker wetsuit would be recommended for the deep-water divers. Keep in mind that a thicker wetsuit will be much harder to maneuver in than a thinner wetsuit such as a 3mm, so you may want to try on a suit and move around before you purchase it.
While the common wetsuit is black, newer diving suits have many different colors, as well as camouflage prints. It’s your preference when choosing a color, but consider the functionality of the camo print when choosing your suit. Divers claim that fish, turtles, and other marine life sometimes come up close to the seaweed camo wetsuits, which could be useful for the spearfisherman or diver who doesn’t want to be seen. If you aren’t worried about the marine life taking notice of you underwater, then the standard black or colored wetsuit will work for you.
By Scott Sanders