Clothing - Wet
A neoprene wetsuit protects against cold water and wind. It must be a near perfect fit to be effective. The seams, seals, zip and fit of the wetsuit determine how watertight it is. A winter wetsuit must be as watertight as possible if you are to stay warm. The thickness of the neoprene used in the wetsuit is also important. Usually 2-3mm for summer conditions and 4-6mm for winter conditions. Neoprene that has a shiny appearance on the outside offers more protection against the wind.
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Not watertight - for summer use only. This simple stitching method is used in the cheapest wetsuits.
Not watertight - for summer use only. Wetsuits with flatlock seams are more comfortable than overlock seams as the seams lie flat against the skin rather than pressing into it.
Watertight - for use all year around. The stitching doesn't actually penetrate the whole way through the neoprene and the seam is glued and sometimes taped too.
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A drysuit is made from waterproof material with latex neck, wrists and ankles. Drysuits are highly effective but can be expensive and may be uncomfortable in warmer weather. The zips can be either at the front or back. Choose a back zip for sports such as jet skiing.
Spray tops can be an ideal accompaniment to a wetsuit, offering varied degrees of wind and spray protection, and can be bought in separate tops or bottoms or as a one-piece suit. Look for spray tops that have pockets so that personal flares, whistle and a knife can be carried.
Marine gloves help protect the hands from abrasive modern ropes and any possible injuries. They will also keep out the cold.
Wetboots are strongly recommended. They will provide grip on slippery surfaces, protect your feet and ankles from injury while launching, and help to keep your feet warm.