What You Need
About Warm Water Diving
Generally, the definition of warm water diving is when the water is 75ºF/24ºC or more. Places considered warm water diving include: Mexico, Carribean, Hawaii, Red Sea, Great Barrier Reef, Roatan, etc.
Less is more. Less bulk, less to pack, less to wear. More streamlined with less gear. Lighter weight. Less thermal and physical protection.
What do you need
- BCD's, Buoyancy control devices are now made smaller and of light weight materials and dimensions that travel well and take less space
- Fins, full foot paddle and full foot split fins are great options for warm water. They do not require booties to be worn. They are usually not adjustable so if fit is an issue - you may need to add a fin strap or fin sock to optimize the fit. If your warm water location has a long walk or over sharp reefs or rocks you might want to tote a pair of booties or short top booties or dive socks.
- Wetsuits come in variety of thicknesses, and styles. From skins and rash guards to 1m to 3m and even some 5m's, it all comes down to the individual's capacity for heat tolerance. You can find full wetsuits to shorties to vests to shorts and more. While some individuals don't wear wetsuits, the vast majority do. Considerations here are either being overheated or getting cold. Without full suit protection, sun exposure as well as accidental bumps with the reef or potential microscopic stings may be an issue for some individuals.
- Gloves are available in 1 to 3 to 5m thicknesses. Like all exposure materials, they can make a difference in your ability to keep you warm or protect you from outside elements. Some destinations or dive operators require clients to not wear gloves to disuade them from touching the reef.
- Warm water and travel bags & boxes are critically important pieces of equipment for all diving. Special bags and boxes are made for the durability and security of air travel; others are made for light weight handling and ease of washing. Others feature dry pockets and multi use properties.
- Other - hoods, beanies, fin socks, fin straps, etc are all things that should be considered for fit and comfort
Not every warm water destination means warm water. You can find cold water and conditions in warm water destinations that warrant different considerations. It pays to find out the local recommendations of what to bring to a warm water destination from your tour leader or the local dive operator who you will be diving with. Conditions can change, so plan to be prepared in case a cold snap in weather arrives. Layering with a vest or bringing an extra wetsuit that is thicker or packing a beanie are all good options.
It's important to be comfortable with your scuba gear. If it's been awhile or you have purchase new gear for warm water diving, get in the pool to assure it works for you. A fin that fits in the store, may be too big or small in the water. You don't want to find this out 1000's of miles away. Also, you should be comfortable with how gear performs and not learning or trying it for the first time on vacation. Can you do a remove and replace your BCD underwater or on the surface with your new BCD? How you do you know? Practicing dive skills with new gear is highly recommended with a professional scuba diver to confirm your ability - this is why we recommend Scuba Tune-ups / Scuba reviews before you go.