Diving in cold water for the first time

Diving in cold water can be a thrilling experience, but it can also be daunting, especially if you’re planning to dive in the frigid waters of Toronto for the first time. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your safety and comfort.

Firstly, it’s crucial to be prepared for the cold. Even experienced divers can find cold water shocking. Consider using a drysuit instead of a wetsuit for your first dive in Toronto’s cold waters. Drysuits are specially designed to provide insulation by keeping water out, while allowing you to wear warm undergarments underneath.

When selecting undergarments for your drysuit, avoid cotton as it traps moisture and quickly becomes cold. Instead, choose synthetic materials like fleece or wool that wick moisture away from your skin and provide insulation even when wet.

It’s also essential to pay attention to the thickness of your undergarments, hoods, and gloves. We recommend wearing 400g undergarments with 7 to 8mm thickness hoods. What you wear under your gloves should be thick enough to keep you warm without preventing you from using your hands underwater. Investing in a heated vest and gloves is a plus, but there are some negatives that we’ll discuss in a future post.

When you’re in the water, take your time to acclimate to the temperature. Don’t rush into deep water or start swimming immediately. Instead, stay close to the surface for a few minutes and allow your body to adjust to the temperature. Remember to take slow, deep breaths and focus on relaxing your body.

As you dive, be aware of the temperature changes at different depths. The temperature can drop quickly as you descend. If you start to feel uncomfortable, consider returning to shallower water or ending your dive.

Diving in cold water offers the chance to see unique marine life that can’t be found in warmer waters. Toronto’s cold waters are home to a variety of aquatic creatures, including fish, crabs, and lobsters. Take your time to explore and appreciate the diversity of life that can be found beneath the surface.

Remember that safety should always be your top priority when diving. Run the GUE EDGE (pre-dive checks) before starting your dive and ensure you have a trained teammate who is prepared for cold water diving. Keep a close eye on your gas supply and depth, and never take unnecessary risks.

In summary, diving in cold water can be a memorable and rewarding experience, but it’s crucial to be prepared and take necessary precautions. Using a drysuit with proper undergarments can be a great option for diving in Toronto’s cold waters. However, ensure you have the right training and practice buoyancy control and other skills before attempting a cold water dive. Consider signing up for a GUE Drysuit Primer or GUE Fundamentals class to get ready for diving in the cold waters of Canada.

Alain EID

GUE Instructor

Alain began his diving journey in 2010 and is now a highly qualified instructor, certified by GUE (Global Underwater Explorers) in both Fundamentals and Recreational diving. He has been teaching with GUE since 2018 and is experienced in Cave, CCR, and Technical diving. Alain finds great joy in sharing his knowledge and passion for diving through transformative courses that empower divers to reach their full potential.

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