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  1. #1
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    Default Swiftwater Rescue Wetsuit?

    Any suggestions for swifwater rescue wetsuits? How thick?
    Developer and Sr. Presenter, Team Xtreme
    BIG RIG RESCUE


  2. #2
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    To steal a line from Austin Powers, "Swiftwater ain't my bag baby". But what training I do have I have found that dry suits are the way to go. They are a little harder to swim in (no additional floatation), but they provide unbelievable range of motion compared to a wet suit. NRS is probably one of the top places to buy.

    I have used a 6.5 mil farmer john. I liked the farmer john style, but the 6.5 gave me 13 mil in the chest. It restricted my movement and was extremely hot.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber cowtown's Avatar
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    What part of the country? In Texas I would recommend a 3 mil. We have looked at those swiftwater immersion suits but I haven't tried them yet.

  4. #4
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    I have little experience in swift water rescue. However I have worn and worked in a dry suit for 3 winters for the Coast Guard. I was using a Cocatat (I think that is how it is spelled) dry suit. I have been in the water several times for training. Excellent movement ability however we still needed a PFD. as far as staying warm under movement they work and the water stayed out. However we were not in swift water. The nice thing about the ones we had is that they still allowed us to wear law enforcement gear. (Or a rescue harness) Have fun and in this business stay safe and also warm.

  5. #5
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    I am with a Technical Rescue service in the Northeast. We are currently using custom 5mm wetsuits made by Wetwear out of Florida. All the team members love them so far. We have had them about a year with zero complaints. We use the 5mm due to the chilly waters that we have up here. We also just purchased a swiftwater dry suit for every member on the team. We looked at Kokatats, Mustangs, and Whites. We went with the Mustang MSD575 due to it being durable, breathable, and having a drawstring neck seal instead of the gasket type seal.

    Here is a link to see the Wetwear wet suits:
    http://www.wetwear.com/rescuedivers.htm

    C.....

  6. #6
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    Default Swiftwater Wetsuits

    I use a drysuit most of the time especially when the might be a chemical in the water. When it is really warm out I use a 3 mm wet suit. I really donít see any reason to go with anything thicker. But everyone has there opinion on equipment. We use wetsuits from Northwest River Supplies and have had good results them and there there extreme drysuits as well. There not the heaviest suit out there but very easy to pull on. NRS web site is www.nrsweb.com.

  7. #7
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    I am on a swift water team in NC, I have used both wet and dry suits, I agree with PAH2ORSQ that 3mm is the way to go in wet suit unless you are in colder cliamates, much lower than 38 degree water temp, but dry is the way to go, I use the NRS Extreme but kokatat makes some of the best (price tho), and in flood situations it keeps the bad stuff out of all but your face and hands

  8. #8
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    Default Variables

    Where you are would seemingly help decide between 3 or 6 mil wetsuits...I have a 6 mil which I use in the colder months and a three mil for the warmer. If the water is REALLY cookin' I will opt for the 6 also because of the extra bouancy it provides in highly aeriated waters. Our rivers here in western North Carolina usually stay about 45 to 55 F year round. And if I can get my hands on a swiftwater drysuit I USE it (with a wooly in colder months) because there is a lot of bad, nasty crap in even "clean" rivers.







    Pray for the dead, fight like hell for the living! - Mother Jones

  9. #9

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    Default wet vs dry

    It's a lot easier to swim in a well-fitting wetsuit (less drag than a drysuit plus neoprene adds floatation). I have my own wetsuits that I use for surfing (5 mil and 3 mil depending on time of year) and for rescue work. If the suit is for everybody to use, the drysuit will fit a wider range of people, so it you only buy one suit, it should probably be dry.

  10. #10
    fmc204
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    Default

    In the northeast when we teach we require students to bring their own dry suits. We don't allow wet suits due to possible hypothermia during class. I just can't remember if we have Stearns or Mustang at the moment, but they are light enough for full mobility with aggressive swims, however offer little flotation, so we supply PFD's for each student. I have worn the thermal underwear that came with my diving dry suit under the swift water rescue dry suit without a problem, kept me warm enough for a day long class.

  11. #11
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    Another vote for the dry suit. After several hours in a drysuit for classes or flood situations, the last thing you want is to be continually wet. I guess if you deal with swift water in some nice mountain streams it would be ok to go wet. Our situations revolve around dirty streams that are true swift water only when flooded and standing flood waters that have all sorts of biological material in them. (poop) I don't want that water trapped between a suit and me or my guys.
    A PFD is a must wet or dry. Be careful about being in a suit with too much bouyancy, our firefighters will do flood rescues in a Mustang ice commander but have no ability to swim if they are in swift water.
    You can do Ice rescue in a swift water drysuit but you can't do swift water rescue in a ice commander. So be careful about who gets in what suit. A good wetsuit costs close to what some swift water drysuits do. Sure you can spend $1200 on a swift water drysuit but we have suits (kokatat) for a third of that and they work fine.

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