You’ve been spending a lot of time at the beach lately and you’ve noticed something: a lot of people are wearing wetsuits. Now you’re wondering: what does a wetsuit do? What exactly is the purpose of a wetsuit?
Ask and ye’ shall receive. Below, we’re going to get into the specifics of wetsuits, discussing their benefits, their uses, and more. Let’s go!
What Does a Wetsuit Do?: The Benefits
Wetsuits come with a variety of benefits. We’ll discuss the most prominent of these benefits below.
It Provides Warmth
Wetsuits were made primarily to combat the second law of thermodynamics, a law essentially stating that heat always transfers from hot areas to cold areas. See, by being placed over the body before the body enters cold water, the wetsuit prevents body heat from transferring.
While wetsuits don’t keep bodies warm for the duration of their use, they do keep bodies warm for a longer time than if they hadn’t been worn at all. In short, wetsuits provide temporary warmth. This warmth makes cold water bearable, at least for a short period.
It Improves Buoyancy
Another benefit of wetsuits is that they improve buoyancy. Though they’re not lifejackets or anything of that caliber, they do allow for greater floating ability.
This can be hugely beneficial in a number of situations. For instance, let’s say you get carried out by the current and start to panic. Because your wetsuit is providing you with increased buoyancy, you don’t have to struggle as much, and you don’t waste as much energy.
A wetsuit essentially lightens your load while in the water. Because of this, you don’t have to work as hard to stay afloat or to get from place to place.
It Improves Swimming Speed
Hoping to swim as fast as possible? A wetsuit would be of huge benefit to you. Because they provide increased buoyancy, wetsuits allow for faster swimming speeds.
By using wetsuits over the course of a 100-meter swim, swimmers can shave full seconds off of their times. Note, however, that the better you are at swimming, the less effect a wetsuit will have on your speed. In other words, poor swimmers stand to benefit the most.
It Blocks the Sun
If you spend a great deal of time out by the ocean, you’re undoubtedly exposed to a substantial amount of sun. Over time, the rays of the sun can have a seismic negative effect on your body. In the short-term, it can lead to sunburn; In the long-term, it could lead to skin cancer.
While sunscreen helps to reduce UV ray damage, nothing blocks more rays than a layer of clothing. This is one of the many reasons that you might see an individual wearing a wetsuit in warm weather. The wetsuit allows said individual to stay out in the sun for the entirety of a day, all the while incurring only minimal amounts of sun damage.
It Acts as a Barrier Against Physical Trauma
Whether you’re swimming, surfing, wading, or otherwise, you could easily become subjected to physical trauma. An unforeseen rock or a particularly rough wave could have quite an impact on your body, resulting in pain and injury.
This is why it’s often wise to wear a wetsuit when going into the ocean. A wetsuit will not entirely protect one’s body from physical trauma. However, it will serve as a barrier against it, reducing the risk of serious pain and/or injury.
It Protects Users from Aquatic Wildlife
One last benefit of wetsuits is that they protect their users from aquatic wildlife. While they won’t stop the clamp-down bite of a great white shark, they can sometimes stave off the stings of jellyfish and other such creatures.
What are Wetsuits Used For?
While wetsuits can be used by anyone who’s spending time in the water, they are most commonly used for a few key activities. These activities include the following.
Perhaps the most common use for wetsuits is scuba diving. Because scuba divers go deep below the surface of the sea, they are exposed to particularly cold waters. Wetsuits ensure that they maintain their body temperature, keeping them safe and warm throughout the course of their explorations.
It’s rare that a person would go scuba diving without a wetsuit on. While it does occur, it’s not recommended, especially for newbie divers.
Note, in most cases, scuba diving wetsuits are thicker than the wetsuits used for other purposes. Looking for an example? Take a look at this womens scuba wetsuit now.
Another group of individuals who can often be seen sporting wetsuits is surfers. This is particularly true of surfers who live in colder areas such as the Pacific Northwest or New England. Wetsuits allow these individuals to surf both before summer begins and after summer ends.
Another reason that a surfer might wear a wetsuit is that it will provide him or her with protection from physical trauma. For instance, if he or she were to encounter a rock, his or her wetsuit would provide cushion, reducing the risk of serious injury.
You might also see canoeists wearing wetsuits, especially after the weather has cooled down. Wetsuits will not only keep canoeists warm in the event that their boats capsize but they will also protect them from physical trauma in the event that they encounter rocks or other hard objects.
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