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Friday Fun - What’s Your Preference? Warm or Cold

Friday Fun is P.M. Info Systems' weekly blog post on everything SCUBA!

Here is my opinion on warm water vs. cold water diving. I experienced my first warm water dive in Cozumel, Mexico in May 2010.

First let me say, warm water diving – love it! Cozumel, Mexico has great warm water diving in May. The water was 85 degrees. The visibility was unbelievable. The blue water and colorful coral reefs were a sight to see. Not to mention all the colorful fish, which made the experience priceless.

What I like about warm water vs. cold water, is the fact you do not need a hood and gloves like you do in cold water. When getting geared up for diving in cold water putting on the hood is somewhat of a pain. Once in the cold water though you are happy to have the hood on. Same goes for the gloves, it takes some getting used to when reaching for your dive gear with the gloves on, but you are glad you have them mid-way through the dive, because the water gets colder and colder the longer you are in the water.

As much as I love warm water diving, I do have to say, I still like cold water diving too. When I invest in my dry suit, I know my cold-water dives will be just as good as the warm water dives because you don’t get wet in a dry suit. What a concept! Being in water and not getting wet. l love diving.

You need to be just as safe in warm water as you do in cold water when it comes to hypothermia. Depending on your preference, you should wear at least a one to three mil wet suit when diving in warm water. Yes, I mean hypothermia in warm water! As stated in the NOAA Diving Manual: "Divers also must be wary of hypothermia in warm environments. A phenomenon called ‘warm water hypothermia’ can occur even in the tropics, especially during long dives and repetitive dives made without adequate re-warming between dives. In warm water hypothermia, long slow cooling can take place in water temperatures as warm as 82 degrees F – 91 degrees F. Although warm water hypothermia is not easily recognized as its cold-water counterpart, it warrants attention."

When I dive in cold water I can tell when I’m ready to get out of the water, I start to shiver. Not so much in warm water. I wasn’t aware of my body getting cold. I only did two dives a day for five days in Cozumel. I guess if I had done more than two dives a day, I might have gotten cold in warm water.

In conclusion, since experiencing both cold and warm water diving my consensus is I like both! I would recommend getting certified to dive in cold water rather than warm though, because if you fall in love with warm water while doing your certification you may never experience the beauty of cold-water diving.

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