View Full Version : Need some info from the ladies out thier

09-03-2007, 14:26
My wife and I are new to diving and my wife is less then comfortable diving at this point. We just got back from a dive out in Monterey and my wife was over weighted, could barely breath and all in all had a horrible time. We have taken the next step and puchased the Oceanic Hera BC for her in hopes that the females bc will aid in the reduction of breathing issues. Has anyone else encountered this type of problem and if so how can we remedy this as well as get her to be more comfortable in the water? We were using rental 7mm farmer jons with vest inflate bc's and they had her weighted heavily, about 26lbs and she only weighs 130lbs. Thanx in advance.

09-03-2007, 14:54
Cold water diving is more difficult than warm water diving. It is very easy to get a claustrophobic feeling when wearing over 7mm of neopren covering your entire body and having to breath underwater. It's not for everybody...
Not sure who decided to put 26lbs on your wife, but it seems way too much. I am 220 lbs and use 16lbs with my 7mm suit. seems that 6-10lbs should be about right for her (most of my female diver friends use 6lbs with a 7mil.).
I doubt that the BC was the problem, it might be the suit. She might want to try a one piece 7mil suit instead, if she is afraid to be cold, then a semi dry would be perfect. I use a Mares Isotherm semi-dry in low 50's water and have yet to get cold or wet. I would stay away from the farmer jons. they are ususally the most uncomfortable suit and not the warmest either...

09-03-2007, 15:32
Not sure I can be of much help, but I did have a similar situation happen to me. We went diving in Oronogo, Missouri. I hadn't dove in cold water yet, and had only been certified for three weeks. I was wearing a 6.5 mm farmer John, and had 20 pounds of weight. I was very overweighted, and we knew it, but if we took weight out, then I couldn't get down. As I was descending I would get to about 20-25 feet, and then all of sudden start really sinking, and I had a horrible time trying to fin back up. Which was also bad for my ears, for some reason I was having trouble clearing them. I don't know if it was because of the cold water or the hood. All in all, it was a horrible dive experience. It's very deep there, and very cold. I couldn't get my bouyancy under control, no matter what I did, and was constantly worried I would just sink down into oblivion....

Ultimately, we finally called the dive. We tried a second time, and had better luck going down on the rope, but I called the dive after the vis went to about 1-2 feet, and couldn't stay horizontal anyway. I was very disappointed, but the bottom line was I didn't have enough experience to deal with the conditions I was diving in. We decided I need a lot more practice in warm water, then someday when I have a handle on my bouyancy we will try cold water again. If all you have to dive there is cold water, then maybe you could get her weighting figured out in a pool with the 7 mm on. That might help some.

I have also heard it's better to go with a full suit, rather than a farmer John, so I will be getting a full 6.5, or a semi-dry pretty soon.

09-03-2007, 16:13
6 lbs seems awfully little, though. I dive in a 7 mil wetsuit plus a 2 mil vest and need 18 lbs in AL80s and 15 lbs in a steel tank in salt water. (And I'm about 140 lbs) I hope as I get better to drop weight, but if your wife is a new diver I wouldn't expect 6 lbs to be enough to get her under. Maybe have her try about 15 and see if that's enough.

I'm going to bet on the farmer john at least contributing to the problem. That is a lot of neoprene around right where you are trying to breathe. If she can get by with just a 7 mil jumpsuit, that would likely help. Also, making sure it fits properly and isn't too tight at the neck might help.

09-03-2007, 16:55
This suggestion might be way out there but if she is new to diving I would suggest a warm water diving vacation.You can really rack up the dives that way and it will take at least 20 dives before you begin to get comfortable. And the more relaxed you are the less weight you will need etc. Getting comfortable under easier conditions is the way to go if possible and then the cold water stuff will come alot easier.

09-03-2007, 18:24
I can relate to that. I did my certification in cold water, low visibility, rented wetsuit that was too big and sooooo overweighted and it was the first time I did a dive from a boat. All of these made me uncomfortable, but I did my certification and after I bought a wetsuit that fit well (I use a 5mm Bare velocity + 5mm vest in cold water. For me the two 7mm felt too bulky. Then I drop weight, and that helped me to have a better control. When I was not too sure, I used to close my eyes for a few seconds, take deep breath and relax. That also helped me.
Maybe doing some exercices in a pool will help her gain confidence. Or diving from the coast instead of from a charter. Of course, if you can spend a vacation in clear warm water, that would be great.

Good luck!

09-03-2007, 21:03
A good fitting wet suit could help your wife as much if not more then a good fitting bc, because a bad fitting wet suit will make you uncomfortable, claustrophobic, and not to mention cold! If you can, I'd invest in a wetsuit that fits your wife well along with that new bcd. Taking her to the caribbean or another warm water spot is also an excellent idea. If she's at all into diving, that will get her hooked for life for sure.

09-03-2007, 21:29
When I wear my 7mm wet suit, my hooded vest, boots and gloves I have to use 14lbs of weight. But when I'm diving in warm water, I was wearing 8lbs.

But another thing my boyfriend and I noticed, was that he wore a lot more weight in the beginning and as he got more comfortable he started dropping a lot of weight.

I'm sure having a good fitting wetsuit and a female BC would make her much more comfortable! My mom has a horrible time diving in cold water gear, but she did much better in warm water gear. I think it takes a different amount of time for people to get use to diving. Good luck!!

09-04-2007, 11:06
Great advice about the wetsuit...when I got certified I was in a very poor fitting farmer jane and couldn't catch my breath due to the squeeze of the suit. It really set me up to be nervous about diving for awhile because I was concerned I wouldn't be able to get a full breath, but getting my own gear really helped with that.

The other thing I would suggest you consider is to hire a DM next time you dive. Ask them to help you with a weight check and take as much time as you need to get both of you properly weighted. Having a professional in the water with you may help your wife feel more confident and relax, giving her a better dive experience.

Charlotte Smith
09-04-2007, 11:14
My suit is a 5-4-3 and if I get cold ...I put a skin on underneath...it is a excel ultra-stretch and it doesn't "squeeze" me like my henderson does....but thats just me....I don't get cold that easy.

09-05-2007, 20:28
I'm new to diving also and less than comfortable while husband and son are fishes!
I could barely breath and the stupid wetsuit was too small. However, practice is the only thing that will ever make one comfortable (at least that is what everyone we know keeps telling me). We are hoping to go diving this weekend at Martha's where I will not need a wetsuit and I can stay shallow. Try something like that with her. Also it sounds like she had way too much weight. In a 5 mil I weigh a lot more than she does (169 lbs) and I use only 16 lbs. My husband who weighs 350 lbs in a 5 mil only uses 20 lbs. Good luck. Tell her that she can email me anytime for moral support!

09-05-2007, 20:43
Wow, I agree way over weighted for a 7mm. in my 7mm with my 5mm hooded vest and gloves I carry about 14#. BUT when I started I carried 34#...I could barely walk out of the water with all that weight on. I would suggest she use a Back inflate. It made a Ton of difference in how comfy I was

09-05-2007, 20:46
Thanx to all replies. She is going to read them and we will try again.

09-08-2007, 22:29
She should try a Henderson Hyperstretch full suit or one of the other brands with similar fabric. I hate farmer johns, they smash my everything and are not comfortable. Also, anxiety will cause that "can't breath" feeling. I liked the suggestion of taking her to a warm water location for a week to get more comfortable with diving before taking on the rigors of Monterey, which from what I've read can be rather challenging.

09-10-2007, 15:21
I have read this with interest and would share a couple of things we have learned in the past year regarding weight and bouyancy... The first is that with the thick wetsuits you are all wearing you have to remember that it will become less bouyant as you descend so if you are overweighted to get down 25 ffw the situation will be compounded the deeper you go... Secondly, as for breathing, the more you relax in the water the better your breathing will be... Also, we have found that a GIANT EXHALE as you try and descend will empty your lungs and make you less bouyant... as you start to descend you can begin sipping air...

Try these tricks and see if either helps...:smiley20:

Anne Eastwell
09-12-2007, 02:02
I had a bad diving experience on one of my training dives... too much weight / steel tank combination. Dropped like a lead weight and then had problems finning to the surface again at the end of the dive after having heaps of air in the BC. Terrified the hell out of me! I thought I was going to drown.

But - I have never dived without a DM and their experience has always been important to my comfort levels.

I wouldn't want to invest in gear until I knew exactly what worked for me and what didn't. Could be a costly experiment. I'd suggest renting different gear till you find the right stuff. And the warmer diving suggestions from everyone else might make her feel better.

Good luck.

09-13-2007, 11:57
Maybe its not just teh wet suit. your opening staement that she is less than happyw ith diving might be a clue that she is not ready to dive as of yet.,
Many time we as wives do thing to please our husbands or mates and we are really not that comfortable at all doing it. It could be stress she is experiencing rather than the gear.

for me I encountered that problem and am working on advanced snorkeling techniques. Perhaps taking it back few notches and really talking with her or have her talk to someone she can trust about what her diving experience is like and if she really likes it might be a key to her enjoying diving of any sort.
I know I talked with my husband and my dive instructor and it was a wonderful way to learn that I am a snorkeler and eventual diver.

09-13-2007, 13:40
I too, didn't like it at first. I did a cold water, low vis open water cert and they way overweighted me (they put 32 pounds on me when I weighed < 125 and was in a 7 mil with aluminum tank). Plus, during open water you're doing all the crappy uncomfortable (but of course essential) skills like mask removal. So, even if you are well-geared, open water is not exactly a walk in the park.

I basically just slugged it out through my open water and advanced class trusting that eventually I would like diving because my husband loved it and I really enjoyed snorkeling (albeit snorkeling in the BVI).

Then we got to the Caribbean and I loved it. It was way easier - smaller exposure suit, less weight, and, this was probably the biggest thing for me, great visibility. So I second the recommendation - take a trip to somewhere nice and sunny with great visibility and lots of pretty things to look at. That might be just the thing that does it.

One big pitch I will make is that you sign up for a Peak Performance Buoyancy class - my husband said it made a huge difference for him once he took it (we're not in your area, so it's not a sales pitch). In that class, you work on getting properly weighted for your local conditions, plus you swim through hula hoops.

09-16-2007, 17:19
I agree with everyone else I think it was way too much weight. I weigh about the same and when I wear a 7 ml suit with hood, gloves, etc have about 12-14 lbs of weight. With about 8 lbs in my back pockets and 4 in my front. I also think that part of the problem was probably the farmer john and a good 7ml suit will make a difference. Another thing that greatly helped me control my breathing was a good regulator. Some of the rental ones can be very hard to breathe through. I have a very nice Oceanic and it breaths very easy and that really helps me control my breathing. I would also suggest practicing some more in a pool with some of the different suggestions.

Good luck!

09-18-2007, 20:13
I agree with scubaqua, I am a cold water trained diver too and the biggest difference for me as far as comfort was my own wet suit and bcd. I wear a 7mm wetsuit, vest, hood, 5 mm gloves a 5 mm boots. I weigh about the same as your wife and with all the gear, usually dive with 18-20 lbs depending on if I am shouldering a 63 or 80 tank..usually drop a couple of lbs if diving with the 80. From personal experience, if your wife isn't fighting with gear that is ill fitting, it will improve her comfort level and her breathing issues. Nothing worse than oversized gear!

09-29-2007, 18:30
I dove a dry suit for my open water I dives and I had 20 pounds with a drysuit, so it does sound like 26 is too much for a 7mm. The extra weight probably caused her to over fill her BCD a bit which would squeeze her too, and mess with her breathing. Possibly a tight fitting wetsuit, especially around the neck seal or upper chest would do the same.
I know the feeling I got it when I breathed my tank down to 400 psi on a rental a long time ago, very hard to breathe.
A great fix would be to go someplace with warm water and dive with just skins, way less weight to mess with.
Good luck

09-29-2007, 18:31
Also acid reflux could be a factor. If you guys had coffee, and breakfast then hopped on the boat.....

09-29-2007, 21:35
Sounds like there are several issues to sort through.
Breathing can be from the BC, the wet suit, excitement,
or just being overwhelmed by the situation.
Weighting seems to be a big stumbling point to getting comfortable.
Instructors tend to over weight as a training aid to them,
it's a hindrance to competent diving for your wife.
My wife & I dive Monterey regularly with friends.
We could help work out the gear issues if you care to join us.


10-01-2007, 18:45
I dive all the time in Monterey and I am approximately 5'4" 125lbs. I wear a 7mm suit with a 7mm core warmer (BARE SGS). I know it sounds excessive, but I never get cold. Before I got this wetsuit I was wearing either farmer john style, or one-piece with attached hood. It just didn't do it for me.

Secondly, I recently got a Zeagle Zena and I love it to death! Perfect fit, no squeeze, (back inflate), and even if I go somewhere tropical, it will still fit without the 14mm of neoprene.

Lastly, I am not sure that your wife was over weighted. It may feel like it out of the water, but I generally wear around 20lbs. of weight if I am diving with a steel 80. Of course you have to take into consideration that I have 14mm neoprene over my core. Did you do a bouyancy check?

Good luck to you and tell her not to give up on the cold water diving. :smiley20:

10-03-2007, 22:10
fear makes everything worse. breathe slowly and carefully. 7 ml is a big suit to dive with when new to diving. do some warm water diving and practice practice practice. I struggled to get comefortable in the water. things that helped me were. I held my hubby's hand for 10 dives or so then I held his elbow for a few more dives. he knows I am the weaker diver so he follows my lead under water. also whenn ready to dive release ALL air from the bc point toes down and exhale. the first 5 -10 ft are the hardest and then it becomes easier to drop down. having my own equipment is also helpful. I KNOW my equipment. 1 less thing for me to learn each time. Hang in there girl!! it is truely amazing what yu can see underwater!!!! keep talking and try 1 new thing at a time don't change everything all at once that is scary too. hubby keep being supportive this can really make your marriage soar!!

10-03-2007, 22:41
I had trouble in Monterey myself. Even with a 1 piece 7 mil suit I needed extra weight. At Brekwater covere there you just cant get deep enough. I have to wear near 30 pounds to not fight to get down but when I dive from a boat I can drop to 20.

The best advice I can give is to lose the farmer john/jane and go with a one piece.

10-04-2007, 10:04
As others have said, your wife needs to evaluate her desire to dive. If she has little or none, you need to get comfortable with that and encourage her to discontinue the pursuit. Having your wife as your dive partner, too, is a great feeling! I really enjoy diving with my wife, but she really enjoys diving…PERIOD!

I agree with others that cold water diving does feel more confining in that the exposure suit is much thicker/bulkier and it is difficult to move around in it. If the suit does not fit well, it can be too cold when too loose and can restrict breathing if too tight. If your wife wants to dive, I would highly suggest a custom wetsuit, preferably in one of the "hyperstretch" neoprenes. With all due respect, wetsuit manufacturers don’t seem to have much clue about the variability in women’s body shapes. Laura managed to get an Aqualung 7mm AquaFlex suit that fits her well. It made all the difference in the world to her when she first started diving.

The one thing I do NOT agree with regarding other posters is the weight issue. What amount of weight anyone needs is a very personal thing and cannot be determined by any rule of thumb or relationship to anyone else in the group. It requires individual determination with a proper buoyancy check. Your instructor should be able to spend some time getting your wife’s weighting dialed in better.

By the way, at 6’2" and 250 pounds, I need 34 pounds of lead to get down in my 7mm XXL full suit. As I have said before, I have a waterline when I float in a pool. Others will tell you that that is way too much! However, with 32 pounds of lead, the safety stop becomes a bit of a chore.

What anyone else uses is absolutely worthless information to you. The ONLY number that matters is what YOU determine you need after a good weight check.

10-04-2007, 14:59
I agree with the weight issue, my hubby is taller and heavier than me and often uses less weight than me. I had a tough time with that because I thought I was doing something wrong. then one day we were at the pool at the YMCA and we both tried to go to the bottom of the pool as a free dive. he sunk like a rock and had to push off the bottom to get back to the top. I on the other hand had to hold on to the ladder to push myself down and i never did reach the bottom. women have a higher percentage of body fat than men simply because we have the ability to bear children. go figure. so ...weight is highly personal and don't measure your weight against anyone else.

10-04-2007, 19:20
I agree with the weight issue, my hubby is taller and heavier than me and often uses less weight than me. I had a tough time with that because I thought I was doing something wrong. then one day we were at the pool at the YMCA and we both tried to go to the bottom of the pool as a free dive. he sunk like a rock and had to push off the bottom to get back to the top. I on the other hand had to hold on to the ladder to push myself down and i never did reach the bottom. women have a higher percentage of body fat than men simply because we have the ability to bear children. go figure. so ...weight is highly personal and don't measure your weight against anyone else.

I can really relate to this. I started out needeing 8 pounds more then my husband and he outweighs me by 80lbs. I was really frustrated and annoyed but I eventually had to accept that I am just more naturally buoyant and be ok with using the amount of weight I need.