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Dry Suit Diver
Greg, Edmonds Underwater Park -- Picture by Peter Rothschild

To stay warm in Puget Sound you need a dry suit.  Diving in a dry suit makes Puget Sound a year round event, allowing you to dive in the winter when we commonly have 50-60 feet of visibility.  Dry suits also give you the required knowledge to experience colder dive sites worldwide like, Northern California, Galapagos, New Zealand and Canada to name a few.  During your Dry Suit course, I will not only cover the background knowledge related to dry suit diving, you'll get into confined water to put that theory into practice. Then, once you've mastered confined water, it's time for two open water dives and applying that knowledge, including dive planning, organization, techniques, problems and buoyancy control.

From the Instructor Manual:

Completion of a confined water dry suit training session is required of student divers never having used a dry suit prior to enrolling in a PADI Dry Suit Specialty course. This confined water training session must be completed prior to making the first open water training dive of this specialty course. Additional confined water training may be added at the discretion of the instructor conducting the specialty course. It is highly recommended, but not required, that students use the same type of dry suit on the open water dive as used during the confined water session. Upon completion of this session, students must be able to:

1. Put on and remove a dry suit with the aid of another diver if necessary for that model dry suit.
2. Demonstrate how to conduct a buoyancy check at the surface while wearing a dry suit with undergarments (when needed) and full scuba equipment.
3. Demonstrate neutral buoyancy by pivoting on the fin tips, or when appropriate, another point of contact for one minute.
4. Demonstrate neutral buoyancy by hovering (without kicking or sculling) near the bottom for one minute.
5. Disconnect and reconnect the low-pressure hose from the dry suit inflator valve while underwater.
6. Demonstrate the ability to maintain neutral buoyancy, near the bottom, while both the inflator and deflator mechanisms of the dry suit are depressed (opened).
7. Perform a neutrally buoyant ascent from the bottom, at a rate no faster then 18 metres/60 feet per minute.
8. Demonstrate one technique for recovering from excess gas in the feet.
9. Remove and replace both the scuba unit and weight system while on the surface.

For the purposes of training, a dry suit is defined as any exposure suit designed to exclude water from entering the garment and having the ability to add and release air from the suit.  The Dry Suit Diver course is to include two open water training dives.  After the training dives, student divers are required to log their dives in their personal log books.

This course covers the knowledge and techniques of dry suit diving. The minimum number of recommended hours is 12 with emphasis placed on the use of dry suits -- operation principles, care and diving techniques. To conduct a Dry Suit Diver course, the following is to be included:

1. the planning, organization, procedures, techniques, problems and hazards of dry suit diving.
2. proper procedures for buoyancy control.
3. ascent and descent technique training.
4. routine, user-level, preventative maintenance and performance checks on dry suits.