The views here are gained from many years of both making and wearing drysuits. However, they are in many cases personal opinions, ask some else and you may get a different answer. I have tried to give balanced and honest answers. I am afraid they are in completely random order.

If you have a question or would like to offer an alternative answer to those given below, email us: info@seaskin.co.uk

  • You may consider yourself pretty average a size and have always bought everything off the peg but a drysuit is pretty unique in garment terms. No other item of clothing has to fit (and fit well) in so many different places. So you may be average height with an average chest size and think that a stock medium suit will fine but will the boots be the correct size the seals fit snugly without being to tight, is you body length to leg length ratio match the stock suits? If you think of all the possible variables then you will probably consider made to measure a benefit.

  • We now offer the fitting of YKK plastic dryzips into our Nova membrane diving drysuit and Delta surface drysuit. Some people prefer their lighter weight, easy closing and greater flexibility. They accept that they may not be as reliable at keeping the water out. On back zip neoprene suits any advantages they have are not nearly as great due to the position of the zip so we do not feel at this stage of their technical development that it is wise to fit them in our neoprene suits.

  • The most difficult question of all! The reason is because there is not a right or wrong answer. My personal and I stress its personal, is that when I actually in the water compressed feels best. The squeeze comes on in a less severe way and a think (or is imagined) that I move through the water more easily. However when I come out the convenience of a front loader membrane is immediately apparent, I can get the top half of the suit of quickly and with out effort or assistance so I stay cool and relaxed. Other factors are the ease of repair as I would judge both types equally durable the compressed neoprene is maybe more easily holed but it easier to repair with a dab of Aquaseal.

  • Second most asked question. Neoprene seals are more comfortable to wear, warmer and less prone to catastrophic failure. They are also more difficult to pull on and off the neck seal needs to be inverted and great care taken in getting the rubber side flat to your skin with at least a 60mm overlap with no creases or folds, failure to do this will result in a leak during the dive. As you move your head fully forward or backwards the seal does not extend much in length so water can creep down. I believe users of neoprene necks subconsciously adjust their movement in the water to avoid these potential leak causing positions. Neo seals can often be repaired at the dive site with Aquaseal.
    Latex seals are easily pulled on and off and are very reliable at keeping the water out due to the necks bellows design they can keep sealed no mater what the head position. Prolonged use can cause irritation of the skin in some people particularly on the neck. Some people have a full allergy to latex these have no option but to use neoprene seals. Latex seals can be ripped if care is not taken. The are also prone to environmental damage caused by ozone, UV, skin and hair care products, oil and fuel on the waters surface and even the natural oils from some skin types. These factors can cause the seals to dry and crack or to start to turn to a chewing gum consistency. Look to having your seals replaced about every two years, some last ten years some 8 months. Keeping them well talced between dive trips does help. Standard weight seals give the best seal and most comfort, heavy duty are harder to dress with but more resistant to environmental damage. Neoprene covers over latex seals can reduce the chances of being punctured and damage from UV light.

    A note about neoprene seals and small necks.
    People with slim necks, 33cm and below and a head size of 53cm or bigger will really struggle to get a diving type neoprene seal over their heads. This is made even more difficult with longer hair. A latex neck seal or Necktite system would be a much better option.

  • It’s about fabric usage. All single colour drysuits are more efficient to make. We use less fabric on a suit that we cut from a single piece of fabric or neoprene than when we have to use two different pieces or sheets. Plus we have to make two separate files on our cad system and have to reload the cutting machine. All this takes time, so we feel it is necessary to charge supplement that reflects the additional cost involved in manufacture.

  • Latex seals are available in two different shapes (as well as standard and heavy duty thickness).Bottle seals have a 40mm parallel section at the end which sit comfortably on the wrist. We have fitted bottle wrists as the nom for many years and when correctly sized to the wearer, they offer a good balance between comfort, wrist sealing and ease of dressing. There are some people who prefer the cone type as they feel that the tapered end “bites” more firmly into the skin of the wrist giving a better seal this high fitting up the wrist also can reduce any interference from under suit sleeve ends. The smaller sealing area of cone seals can avoid the channels caused by wrist tendons that can cause leaks with some divers. Cone wrist have ring trimming guides to further adjust the fit. The shoulder section of bottles seals makes the fitting of any dryglove ring system much easier.

    If you are unsure which to go for the safe bet is go with the bottle type.

  • Cordura advantages: better abrasion resistance than our standard fabric, however drysuits very rarely fail because the fabric itself is worn out. What happens is boots go, zips fail, seals rip, and we all seem to get fatter! These are the reasons for changing suits. More importantly is the resistance to puncture of the butyl membrane (the bit that actually keeps the water out) and in this respect they are very similar. Our standard membrane fabric gives a suit that is quicker drying, lighter in weight easier to repair and most importantly comfortable and flexible to wear.

  • It saves a lot of potential confusion if the two suits are done on two separate orders. It otherwise can be difficult for us to tell which option or pocket is going on which suit. Both suits will still be made and despatched at the same time. I know this means filling in two separate sets of details and going through the payment process twice on your part but experience tells us that errors can occur otherwise.

  • The PU (polyurethane) film we laminate on to the knees is fantastically durable and tough, the Kevlar knee option offers this durability and a degree of padding which is appreciated by instructors who spend more that fair share of time kneeling on the bottom rocky quarries. They are stiffer when new than the standard PU pads but do soften with time as they flex as the knee.

  • In spec and option terms all of the suits we do with what ever combination can perform all the tasks that are under taken in normal diving so no mater what you choose you will all ways be comfortable in the suit. However tweaking the suit to your particular needs gives an even more rewarding dive.

    As for the measuring process we examine the numbers submitted and cross reference them against each other, this process usually shows up fundamental mistakes in the measuring (using the wrong end of the tape) or imputing errors. In borderline cases sometimes we have to make an embarrassing phone call to ask “is your neck really that small” or “your calves seem rather large” only to get the reply “yes”.

  • Obviously many of the most critical measurements will not change, your height, inside leg, shoe size and arm for example. The main area (for men at least) where the size reduces is around the waist. This area in diving almost always is being held in by a weight belt or the waist band/strap on the BC or harness. The effects for moderate weight loss are not normally noticeable when actually diving. For more dramatic reductions (well done by the way!) then an alteration to the suit maybe necessary. This is not too complex a job on a neoprene suit without pockets as we can reduce the size by cutting out material from the side seam, normally from elbow to knee. If the suit has pockets mounted on the outside seam then these will need to come off and be refitted. Things get more complex on a membrane suit due to the entry zip running into the side seam. We can reduce it by some, all be it asymmetrically. Again if the suit has pockets mounted on the outside seam then these will need to come off and be refitted. Usually it is better to get a new “slim line” suit too show off your new physic and consign the old one to a back up and a reminder of what too many cakes/pies/pints can do.

    We think as a very rough guide that losing 0-10 Kg no problem, 10-20 Kg would benefit from an alteration over 20Kg a new suit will be needed.

  • We often get requests from parents to “allow room for growth” in a drysuit they what to order for their child. From experience this does not work, we can not guess how much or when your kids are going to grow. So we now have a policy of only making suits to the measurements supplied.

  • What you have to look at (in my opinion) is what breaks zips. The main culprits are bad maintenance and lack of lube, catching you undersuit in the zip causing a miss alignment or bad storage/hanging which again snaps the elements out of line. There is no excuse for lack of maintenance and this will cause a failure in a medium or heavy weight zip. With a front zip it is you zipping it up so BE CAREFUL if your suit does catch then gently reverse to clear it. When you hang a front zip suit up the shoulder end of the zip does go over the shoulder (if does not, it is very difficult to get your head in and out) so a suitably wide hanger should be used and the zip not done up (this reduces the stress).

    Now the reason we fit a medium weight (no it’s not cost!) if you notice from the pictures of the Nova the zip is gently curved across the body. The idea of this is to get the bottom end of the zip to finish on or above the hip. This means that the zip is not bent when you sit down and it lays flat against your torso. This curving is not possible with a heavy duty. In summary zips do not normally wear out by abrasion they are broken/start to leak by miss use or over stressed by placement on the suit. The tapes that are pushed together to form the seal are slightly thicker on the HD (0.75mm apposed to 0.6mm) it is degradation of these of time (typically 5-6 years) that causes a well loved zip to start to weep. There may be a slightly longer life to the heavy duty in this aspect but we figure that the extra flexibility, lighter weight and the ability to get the zip in to the position we want are worth while trade offs.

    The Ultra’s back zip is also curved very slightly to wrap up over to the outside of the arm however the bend is well within the capacity of the Heavy duty zipper. It does not restrict the overall arm movement possible but is noticeably stiffer to swing your arms about. This is why we offer a Heavy duty zip as an option on compressed suits.

  • We do not do not produce a catalogue but put all our diving products on our web site instead. It has the added benefit of as soon as we have an improvement in design or new option/product we can almost instantly make it available to our customers. Sorry if your access to the web is limited or are simply not a fan of the medium, but we are trying to keep costs to a minimum so we can produce the suits at the best value we can. Much can be done on the phone so you call me on the number on the contact page if you want to go through our products.

  • Custom made means exactly that, if we can do it for you we will. If you want a suit without logos then we don’t have a problem with that.

  • To find out what shipping costs will be for goods delivered outside the UK simply add the items you are interested in to your “cart” and then “checkout”. Select the country from the drop down menu and click “next”. The shipping charge is then added to the “Total £”. The system automatically will take of the 20% UK VAT when you put in your non EU address, but you may be liable to pay import duty to customs your end.

  • If you would like to make payments for items/postage/extra costs to non UK locations or for non standard repair items, if you send an email to sales@seaskin.co.uk to confirm your intentions and then make a Paypal payment to sales@seaskin.co.uk we can supply the required items to you.

  • You need to examine what you carry during dives and would it be better stowed in pockets, also what type of diving you might want to do in the future. We would recommend that a pocket on the outside of each thigh is enough with maybe the addition of flat/slate pockets facing forward. With double pockets on a neoprene suit remember to order the suit with braces (standard on Nova suits) as when loaded with equipment the weight will the suit down your legs. The outside seam position gives the best access and stay out of the way when sitting down and when getting back on board a RIB. Front of thigh position may be better when diving with twin side-slung cylinders being easier to see what you are doing, when on the outside seam then it may be easier to unclip the cylinder from the rear dee ring to gain access. Personally if I can get away without carrying anything I my pockets I will, fining seems easier when kit is clip of my rig and attached in a way that the “dangles” does not become a problem, however sometimes this is not an option so I like pocket which go flat when nothing is in them. Do not assume that you need pockets, they also can be retro fitted to both membrane and neoprene suits if required at a later date.

    A note to persons with short/thin legs ordering neoprene suits: If you select pockets on both legs combined with say Kevlar knees and PU bum reinforcement the amount of neoprene that is able to stretch and give you the leg movement required is greatly reduced so giving a less flexible fit than we would like. So look at the components on the leg and if you need two pockets and Kevlar knees, consider not going for further reinforcement or calf mounted knife attachment points. Inside leg measurements of 75cm and above should be ok.

  • A convenience/pee zips are handy especially with back zip suits (we thought this was just for male users but we have fitted them to several ladies suits too). Others consider them to be a potential failure point of the suit, but we find that due to there placement a relative lack of use that they rarely need replacing. If you order without and in the future decide that one would be good then retro fitting them is relatively easy. Others prefer the pee valve for in water relief!

  • The internal braces on the Nova membrane suit are part of the extending back section design, the crutch strap pulling the top half down which is countered by the braces pulling the lower section up. On the Ultra compressed neoprene because the suit has been cut to the correct body length you do not need braces to pull the crutch up (unless you have loaded up your thigh pockets). Braces fitted to the Ultra are useful between dives when the top half of the suit is taken off to keep cool and can hang of the braces.

  • The extra row of stitching is hidden in the fold of the seam, which means if the two you can see are cut by abrasion then the seam will still hold with no problem. This added stitching not only gives extra strength but increased security.

  • The 8mm suit would certainly be warmer on the surface but at 10mts when we calculate the 3mm and 8mm will be about the same thickness and have similar thermal insulation properties. The key is that you are wearing the additional thermal protection under the 3mm, commonly a 150gsm Thinsulate suit or equivalent. The main benefit from this is the reduction in volume change at various depths where as the 8mm will give a dramatic change in positive buoyancy as the water pressure reduces on assent and the neoprene expands from about 2mm to 8mm giving potential hazardous control issues.

    This is why we make our neoprene suits as thin as possible and rely on the undersuit to give the majority of thermal protection as even a 5mm compressed suit can give these unwanted buoyancy changes near the surface.

  • When connected they do the exactly same job and seem equally reliable. The Seatec coupling you will be familiar with from the LP hose on your BC or wing, the knelled collar must the pulled back to both fit and release the hose. The hose can only be pushed on when correctly aligned, when it is pressurized and you wearing gloves this can be a bit awkward. With the CNEJ fitting from Apeks the collar only has to be pulled back when disconnecting the hose and being thicker and having a chamfered edge does not have to lined up so accurately good news with cold hands. So the choice is ease of use against compatibility with existing hoses and hence a degree redundancy (although I am not aware of anyone actually using this during a dive). The Apeks CENJ hose is more expensive than the Seatec hose. SiTech valve systems we supply are always the Seatec type.

  • We have been making drysuits for over twenty years for industrial, commercial, military uses and under contract for major dive brands. When the diving companies moved to the Far East to source their drysuits then we lost the OEM business. With the move China for manufacturing large volumes of suits at cheap prices there was a sharp decline in the availability of made to measure suits. This is where we saw a gap in the market, that if we supplied the customer direct then we could offer this service at a very reasonable price. As we were building each suit individually from scratch then we could offer a full customisation service and so Seaskin Custom Divewear was born. The brand has only been going for four years and has only ever been available on the web, so its profile has never been high, but we are getting better known simple because the suits are seen at dive site by people actually diving them.

  • No not that much really, they are both excellent in both performance build quality and durability. They SiTech inflation does rotate the full 360° so if you change configuration regularly this may help. The Sitec hose is easier to connect than the Apeks with the Seatec nipple but slightly more difficult to disconnect. The reason we fit the Apeks as standard is that is easier to tighten or remove without the use of special tools and this is important during the first six months of use of neoprene suit especially.

  • I would never say never on exhibiting at Dive Shows, they are great events and I usually attend as a visitor, but the cost of stand space, accommodating staff and transportation expenses at the moment make it uneconomic.

  • What’s this about the old Apeks high profile dump being better than the low profile one?I think that this stems from the very early low profile designs being prone to leaking. However over the subsequent ten years Apeks have put a lot development work into the product and it is now a much better performer the old style. The school of though that follow the philosophy that if they have never had a problem with the old style why change, for this reason we still offer both.

  • We do try to keep the photographs on the website as up to date as possible, but with our continual effort to keep on improving our offering to divers we do change products as they develop on a regular basis. You have my personal promise that we would never replace what was shown with an inferior design or quality. The Ultra drysuit panel layout has evolved a lot over the years as we improve the made to measure fit.

  • If you have no strong preference then always go for an auto shoulder dump. Once you have the confidence that the valve will do its job it means that it you can concentrate on doing other things. Particularly on accents using a reel you can use your hands in any position and still be venting air from the suit at the correct rate. For it to work the position of the valve has to be right on the suit and your undersuit needs to the correct fit and constructed from air permeable fabrics and preferably have a vented section. Adjustment is pretty simple, start by fully opening it and then giving it a half turn back. It is always best to but some loading on the internal spring by turning a least a few clicks closed to prevent a leaks. We have fitted a few suits with both but it usually ends up with the user just relying on the shoulder dump.

  • For us one of the most exciting things about making the Seaskin range of diving products is that when we have a new product available to us, or we come up with an improved way of manufacture or a better design, straight after the test process we introduce into production suits. This means that the suits are in a constant state of evolution so new customers benefit straight away from the advancement. We feel that only adds to unique nature of each suit we produce.

  • The honest answer to this is that we have tried many time to make front entry compressed suits, but never been entirely happy with the results. We either get a suit that is great when you are wearing it but near impossible to get in and out of or put and extending torso system around the middle of it and end up with 9mm of neoprene around the hips kind of defeating the object of a compressed suit. We have a plan that may get round this but it is at the R+D stage and would not want to inflict it on to paying customers at this stage.Sorry to be negative on this one. The Nova and Ultra suits went through this process before we put them on the market.

  • Not really sure what these are about, is it meant to reflect heat back to the body? I can’t see it happening myself but hey ho it can’t do any harm.

  • When you click on the confirm payment button on the Seaskin website you are automatically transferred to the “Secure Hosting” website which handles the transaction in between your credit card company and our bank. 99% of the time this goes without a hitch however sometimes a payment is declined. This procedure for security reasons is out our control. Credit cards can be denied for several reasons. The most common reason is that the bank processing the card does not permit online transactions for security reasons. You may contact your bank to enable your card to be eligible for online transactions. Another reason is that a piece of information may not match when the payment solution checks the verification of the card. In this instance contacting the credit card solution to determine why the card was not allowed to pass is the quickest way to solve the problem. Credit cards from some countries may not be accepted and your country must be located in their permitted list in order to use the credit card merchant account service.

    If you have previously entered your credit card when attempting to open a Paypal account, they will not accept the card unless it is used through the original Paypal account. The card cannot be used independently through Paypal outside of the account for security reasons.

  • Aqualand is the name of our company which was incorporated twenty years ago. When we decided to launch our own range of drysuits instead of making them with other peoples names on the consensus was “Aqualand is a rubbish name, you can’t call them that” So we came up with Seaskin which sort of summed up what they are. Seaskin is a registered trade name of Aqualand Ltd.

  • We admit we also get confused by this! It depends on how are supplier sells them to us (mentioning no names *SiTech*). It keeps are stock keeping accurate if we sell in the quantities we buy in. We do try to make it as clear as we can which items are pairs and which are singles.

Any other questions? Get in touch!

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