A dry suit is an essential piece of equipment for all water sports enthusiasts. A drysuit can only function as intended if it is in perfect condition and is worn/used appropriately and as instructed by the manufacturer. Continuous maintenance of the drysuit and small repair manouvers are necessary in order to keep the suit in good condition and guarantee the suit's characteristic performance.
The instructions below are universal basic instructions that can be applied to both dry-/rescue- /immersion suits intended for water sports and boating, as well as dry suits intended for diving, specifically in terms of material and use.
Dress correctly: Before donning on a dry suit, make sure that you have clothes suitable for the conditions and warm enough underneath. The dry suit itself does not provide warmth, but provides protection between you and the water (+ other natural forces, such as rain, wind and gusts).
Before each use, check the seams, seals and zippers of the drysuit to make sure there are no tears or damage.
Check that the zipper is in proper condition and clean. In the case of a metal zipper, make sure that it has the proper waxing so that the cleat slides well along the length of the zipper and closes properly. Correspondingly, in a plastic zipper, it is considered that the "horseshoe lock" at the end of the zipper is thinly treated with silicone, so that the zipper locks properly and watertight. Always make sure that there is no debris or dust between the "teeth" of the zipper - a freshly lubricated chain is apt to collect all kinds of forest debris. If necessary, you can brush between the teeth with a soft toothbrush!
Avoid sharp objects: Be careful with sharp objects such as branches and rocks to avoid damaging the dry suit. If you wear neoprene or membrane fabric socks in your drysuit instead of rigid footwear, it is definitely worth using separate footwear with the suit, so that the pins and other pebbles do not damage the sock part.
Check that the cuff- and neck seals are properly tight and intact. Appropriately tight means that the seals well to your skin. Please note, however, that if the blood does not circulate properly, or if the neck cuff is tight, the color of the face starts to change or otherwise become pale, then the cuff is helplessly too tight and possibly using it during action is a significant health risk.
> When putting on the suit correctly, it is therefore taken into account that the suit is maybe, the cuffs are tight directly on the skin (not rolled up) and the suit is closed (usually with a zipper) properly. If the suit isn't worn properly, you can't expect it to perform as intended.
Store the dry suit in a dry and cool place away from direct sunlight.
Do not fold or wrinkle the suit during long storage.
Talcum powder: If your suit has latex seals, remember to use enough talcum powder (preferably unscented!) on them during storage. The talcum powder helps to absorb the grease/other impurities that have stuck to the skin and extends the life of the latex seals and prevents the material from vulcanizing into a gumball. There is no harm in using talcum powder with neoprene seals. Talcum powder can also be used in silicone seals, in which case the reason is mainly the ease of wearing the next time when the skin does not get stuck on the frictional surface of the silicone material.
Cleaning: rinse the drysuit thoroughly with fresh water after each use to remove salt, sand, dirt, algae and any other organic residue. Brush off all loose material from the socks/boots. If necessary, the drysuit can be washed inside and outside with a mild detergent, even with a very diluted dishwashing liquid - you can use a soft brush or sponge for washing. Especially if you have sweated a lot and for a long time/many times in a dry suit, the aromas can be quite strong if you never wash the suit - besides: dirty fabric wears out faster than clean fabric.
> However, always follow the manufacturer's instructions, as long as they have specific instructions for their own products.
Check from time to time that the dry suit is keeping you dry. Divers can experience this during every dive, but if you haven't been in the water for a long time in your rescue-/ immersion- /life suit, it's worth checking out the situation once in a while.
Holes and tears: Small holes and tears can be repaired with dry suit glue, patches or seam tape. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for repairs. If you need help determining or fixing an appointment, we will be happy to help you. Often, outsourcing the repair of even small defects can be faster and more affordable than getting all the supplies yourself and starting crafting.
Directional guidance on what should be done yourself, and where it is good to turn to a professional:
What you can easily do yourself
• Cleaning and proper storage of the suit
• Always keep the (latex) seals in talcum powder, there is no harm in using talcum powders on neoprene- or silicone seals as well
• Maintenance of the zipper: keep the chain clean and use a zipper lube (paraffin/beeswax based on metallic zippers) that protects the metal chains all over, and with plastic zippers, use a silk-thin, beautiful layer of silicone on the horse shoe -shaped lock part of the bottom of the plastic zipper.
• Repairs of clear, small leakage points, such as punctures, with the appropriate patch kit according to the instructions.
Let a professional handle these
• Larger repairs, large tears or leaking seams
• Renewal of seals
• Renewing the zipper
• Renewal of boots/socks
• (In a diving suit) servicing valves. Though, replacing the valves with new ones is usually the best solution