Ever tried your safety gear?
I did today. After the tide swept the ice out of our harbor, I and a friend dressed up: ski underwear, long ski socks, Musto fleece (salopette & snug shirt), snug jacket and on top of all the Ursuit Gemino drysuit incl neoprene gloves. This combined with neoprene boots, a 270N Secumar automatic lifejacket without crutch strap and - for me - with the neoprene hood and the Gecko helmet. Objective was to see how long one can stay in cold water, and if the equipment works in combination (lifejacket with drysuit, lifejacket with helmet). The Gecko fits on top of the neoprene hood. Downside is, that I could barely hear anything with 3mm neoprene and the helmet over my ears.
Good thing is that this piece of haute couture still allows to move around pretty easily. Dressing up takes a while, however.
The water temperature was 4.2DegC, air temp maybe 2DegC. It was a sunny day with zero wind. So in the water we went. I was drifting face up on the buoyancy of the suit, the release mechanism of the lifejacket was not submerged. I turned around, and after a couple of seconds it inflated. I continued to drift face down, but with the face a couple of cm above the water. However, the lifejacket did not turn me around. One reason is, that the LJ slipped a few cm upwards along my body towards my head, as it did not have crutch straps on the LJ. The other reason maybe, that it was not tied as tight as should be to my body. So I turned around myself. The helmet fitted well with the collar of the lifejacket, I believe that the visor gives a good spray protection. The neoprene seals at neck and wrist kept tight, and I continued to drift around happily.
My friend started to complain after a couple of minutes because of cold feet, he was wearing socks made from cotton only. I felt the water trickling into the neoprene gloves. It was kinda suprise to me (not a diver), that they kept my hands warm. As I still did not feel any cold I abandoned the test after 20minutes.
Lesson learned: the combination of gear is working, it kept the water out and the warmth in. However, the lifejacket has to fit perfectly, and crutch straps are essential. After a 20minutes I abandoned the test, as I did not feel any cold (and the tide was falling).
What are other peoples eperiences, ever tried your gear and what are your lessons?