Staying Alive In Freezing Waters: What Is An Immersion Suit?

Staying Alive In Freezing Waters: What Is An Immersion Suit?

If you are an avid performer of water activities, it is likely that you are well-accustomed to buying gear that is made specifically for use in your favorite element. There are so many different things that can help you out depending on the activity that you are participating in, and some can even save your life.

When it comes to clothes that are made specifically for water, you have a few categories, and each of them has their pros and cons. For example, the most common form of clothing that is made to protect you from water is a wetsuit, that will maintain your body temperature in cold water.

Wetsuits are so-named because they are a tight body glove that fits you and insulates you from the surrounding water though they will still soak up enough water to get wet. Wearing a wetsuit for the first time is often a strange experience, and trying to get it on can be downright unpleasant.

Two people in immersion suits.

On the other hand, you have drysuits which use the same principle as wetsuits, but they are made of water-repellent materials, so they don't even get wet in the first place. Drysuits are often an excellent choice for areas where the water is freezing and a wetsuit wouldn't be able to maintain your body temperature.

Finally, there is a specific form of drysuit that is made for the most intensive of survival situations, and it is known as an immersion suit or a survival suit. You will find that these are often specialized pieces of equipment that are carried by ships which venture out into the north pole and other exceptionally cold areas.

What Is A Rescue, Survival, Or Flotation Suit?

All of the above terms are used to refer to these suits, and it can get confusing when you are comparing them to other forms of clothing that are meant to keep you safe in the water. Of course, there are even more names for suits of these types, such as the rescue suit, often worn by rescue swimmers or divers.

Of course, we have provided you with quite a bit of terminology without describing exactly what this kind of suit can do for you. A cold water survival suit is designed to do exactly what it sounds like; these outfits are a form of a dry suit that is designed to keep you alive in cold and dangerous waters.

There are many different kinds of survival suits, and their capabilities depend on the cost of the suit and the intended application. For example, some suits are meant to be worn at all times, but these models are usually reserved for high-risk jobs where the user is often at risk of being swept overboard or other issues.

Most of these suits are meant to allow you to float on your own while keeping you warm enough to prevent hypothermia, even in the coldest of water. These suits are often colored bright orange or other attention-grabbing colors to make it easier for rescue crews to spot you in the water.

What Are They Designed For?

You may be wondering exactly why you would need a survival suit, as these seem like rather serious pieces of gear, and that would not be a wrong assumption. There are a few different applications for these suits, so let’s take a look at why you would need to use one of them.

Not To Be Confused With Baby Flotation Suits

A baby flotation suit is a device that may be initially similar to a standard flotation suit, but they are really quite different. Flotation suits for babies are meant to act as portable flotation devices for them because it would be too easy for a standard life vest to slip off of a toddler or an infant.

A girl in a float suit.

For example, if you want to take your baby on a boat, you should certainly invest in a baby flotation device for them, as it can save their life. Keep in mind that these baby flotation devices are not designed for use in cold water like survival suits, though some of them will provide minimal insulation.

Ice Fishing

On the other hand, you have the ice fishing flotation suit which is meant to be used while you are performing that very activity. Most of the time, these suits will not be as resistant to the cold as specialized models that are meant for use in the Arctic or other exceptionally cold regions.

Keep in mind that it is often challenging to get your hands on an ice fishing immersion suit because of the cost and availability of these suits. Many people don’t realize how dangerous ice fishing can be, as you can end up suffering from hypothermia in moments after falling into freezing water.

Ship Survival Situations

Perhaps the most common use for the immersion suit is in ships that go through dangerous areas such as the North Sea. It is for this reason that many immersion suits are made under government contract for navy ships and submarines so that the sailors can survive and potentially hazardous situations or shipwrecks.

Open Neck Vs. Closed Neck Designs

When it comes to survival suits, there are two main variations, and it has to do with how the neck is sealed off.

Some models will feature a neck that needs to be zipped up, which is often more uncomfortable (open neck) other models will have a form-fitting seal that leads to a hood and is easier to wear for long periods (closed neck).

Can You Buy These Suits As A Civilian?

You may be wondering if suits like these are accessible to civilians since they are such heavy-duty pieces of gear.

While it is possible to acquire one of these suits, you will find that they are quite expensive, with some of the most affordable models setting you back over 400 dollars.

A man in an immersion suit on a white background.


We appreciate you taking the time to read this article on the immersion suit. We hope that we have been able to teach you about how these suits work. Go ahead and leave a comment down below so that we can read what you think.

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