If you love the water, you may think of it as your friend. But it really isn't. Not when it's so cold you're numbed and on the verge of hypothermia.
As caution is in order when making a tiger into a pet, your friendship and your health will have a better chance of thriving if you treat this friend with great care and protect yourself in its embrace.
Enter, the wetsuit. This suit is like a protective second skin. Its neoprene insulating material keeps you warm in cold water.
It comes between you and dangers in the water like jellyfish. It helps keep you afloat.
The wetsuit you buy should match the activity it's intended for. Wetsuits are used to scuba dive, surf, windsurf and do triathlons.
Will you be in cold water or warm? This will determine how much insulation you need.
Get enough insulation to keep you warm in cold water. Keep in mind that the more insulation there is in your suit, the less flexibility and mobility you will have.
The wetsuit may have a tag telling you the water temperature rating. It should keep in the heat and keep some water out.
Wetsuits that are meant for cold temperatures have thermal linings that wick water away from you and keep you warmer.
Do you want shorties or full lengths? Looking for Farmer Janes that resemble overalls?
For very cold temperatures you may want to have a vest or jacket to wear along with your wetsuit. Vests and jackets can be worn when temperatures are warmer.
Make sure the stitching is good and solid, to avoid holes in the material, and prevent leakage.
A fullsuit has full length arms legs and torso, and sometimes a hood. Full length is what you need for water that is less than 72 degrees F.
A full suit is best if you'll be around coral or sharp rocks. It may also be best for you if you burn easily in the sun.
Springsuits may have short sleeves and/or legs. Vest style springsuits come in a combination of long and short, and sometimes hoods.
Some wetsuits zip up with long zippers, some with short zippers, or no zipper at all. Suits with zippers are easier to put on and take off.