DOG TRICKS: How to keep your cool when the heat is on
Written by Kathy Long, Diver & DUI Web Systems Manager
Drysuit diving on a cold winter day is so warm and cozy. Those fuzzy undergarments just beckon to be worn. Now that spring has arrived, and the warmer summer months are just around the corner, getting into the drysuit on a hot day isn’t as appealing. Overheat on the surface or freeze under the thermocline. What’s a diver to do?
Keeping your cool is an important step in your summer dive planning. Here are a few tips to keep the heat away.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. On the way to the dive site? Research in New Zealand suggests drinking an ice slushie drink before exercise can help keep the body cool. Might be worth picking up a Slurpee on the way to the dive site. You might also consider sport drinks that contain electrolytes.
You want to keep as cool as possible before donning your drysuit. Get your gear all set-up, and make any necessary adjustments prior to donning your undergarments and drysuit. Wear loose, light colored clothing. Hang in the shade. Wear a hat. Dial it back a little and make adjustments to your pace. The water will wait for you and you’ll be that much more comfortable.
Ready to don your drysuit? If shade is available, take advantage and dress in the shade. Leave your drysuit zipper open until the last possible moment. Remind your dive buddy to remind you to zip up. YES – this does happen. And while it’s a great way to cool off fast, it’s not the best way to dive ;).
Does the dive site have a shower or can you easily get into the water and cool off for a few minutes? If yes, take a moment to hop in the water. Besides feeling good, if there is a breeze the water evaporation on the drysuit will offer cooling. You can always bring a few gallons of water in your vehicle and pour over you and your drysuit. It will make a difference.
If you can’t submerse yourself in a shower or in the water, get your hair and drysuit hood good and wet before putting on. This will help cool your head as you get the last of your dive gear on.
Diving with wet gloves? If you feel comfortable, leave these off until you are in the water.
Adjust your drysuit insulation. Drysuit diving is so awesome because you can adjust your insulation needs. In the summer, the outside temperatures are warmer, and this will mean your base temperature is warmer. You might not need those winter weight undergarments. Rent lighter weight insulation and see if that meets your summer diving insulation needs.
Remember heat exhaustion and heat stroke is a serious issue. Have a great tip to share? Let us know.