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Wetsuit thickness

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Feb 7, 2005
I live on the Gulf Coast of Fl and want to get some exercise by doing some snorkling and maybe spear a fish or two at shallow depths. Years ago I did a lot of diving in the summer, but never in the winter. At this time of the year the water temperature is around 65 deg F. Can I get some suggestions for proper wet suit thickness for water around 65 deg F? I don't want to buy a bunch of suits that are not suitable.

Better yet, is there a schedule posted somewhere that shows recomendations for wetsuit thickness at different temperatures?

I have noticed very thin suits sold for use by kids on body boards. It seems those suits are very thin and very flexible. Are those suits suitable for temperatures around 65 deg F?

I like the freedom of hunting in just a swimming suit and I do not like the restrictions of thick scuba wetsuits. But 65 deg F is just too cold for this Florida cracker.

Any advice?


FWIW I found this schedule on the net. Does this look about right? 5mm seems awful thick!

Exposure Suit Comfort Zones

Water temp Thickness Material
75-85F 1/16" (1.6mm) neoprene, Lycra, Polar Tec
70-85F 1/8" (3mm) neoprene
65-75F 3/16" (5mm) neoprene
50-70F 1/4" (6.5mm) neoprene
35-65F 3/8" (9.5mm) neoprene, dry suit


Suit thickness would really depend on your tolerance to tempreature and how easily you build up heat through exercise. I tend to build up heat quickly but I also loose it easily. If you are all right with cooler water, you could use a 3/5/3 mm suit with the 5 mm for the chest region and also have a 5mm hood and good warm gloves.

If you want to use a 3/5/3 mm suit, choose something without a zipper, a high pants/jacket combination with some kind of warmer lining or coating. You could add a inner vest if needed or you could use a 3/5/5 mm with the 5mm on both the legs and chest region.
I haven't tried out Elios suits yet but I'm getting 2 suits and they come very highly recommended.

this might not help you out too much, but i wear a 3mm omer apnea suit in 60-70 degree water and i'm fine. So i would say that a 3mm should be ok, or maybe a 3mm legs and 5 mm chest. This is all in an apnea suit of course, they are much warmer for the thickness then many other suits
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65F is as warm as it will get up here in Canada during the summer, and a 3mm Apnea suit is good for 3 hours+ in the water. I get cold easily too, so I don't think you'll need more than that.
A zippered 3mm surf/dive suit will not be the same. Don't bother. Do yourself a huge favour and be comfortable. If you don't get a custom suit, at least get a good OMER/Picasso 'off the rack' suit.
Erik Y.
I dived this winter with a Lycra in Southern Florida. I appreciated the freedom but after one hour of efforts a little bit chilly. So now I wear a 2/3 neopren SEAQUEST. Good stuff. I lost some freedom of course, but I can spend days in water, with or without sunny weather. 5 mm is much too hot for Southern Fl in my opinion, even in winter. In summertime, 1 mm is ok.
But it depends on your effort too: if you intend to really swim, especially if you use your arms, don't go thick ! The shape of the suit is important too.
Freedive suits are substantially warmer and more comfortable than the double-lined surf suits that you see kids wearing.
the open cell inside sticks the suit to your body allowing minimal flushing.The single lining also makes the suits superflexible maybe not as comfortable as diving nude! but not too far off;)
as stated above a good Omer or picasso in 3mm will probably do you well, think about a 3mm jacket and pants and a 5mm jacket for the really cold weather.......In Florida.
There are a number of factors to consider when you want to stay comfortable in a given water temperature. The first being the thickness of the Apnea suit, how well the suit fits you, thickness of your socks and gloves, and how well you tolerate different temperatures. I've spent 2 to 3 hours in temperatures of 40 degrees in a 5 ml with no problem but have been in 70 degrees water with the same suit and have been too warm. My biggest problem so far has been the thickness of the gloves in the really cold water. It's best to invest in a little bit more money for good gloves and socks and it will make your time in the water a lot more fun.
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