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What to Wear Under Your Wetsuit When Scuba Diving

Marine conservation oahu scuba diver in wetsuit on west side oahu

Scuba diving attire can make or break an experience. Think about what to wear under a wetsuit so you can have the best dive possible.

Most scuba divers will wear wetsuits because they help maintain body temperature and help protect the body against the sun and other hazards on the open sea. Even when the air temperature and surface temperature of the water are warm, it can get quite cold the deeper you dive. So wetsuits are standard attire.

But … what should you wear under your dive suit when scuba diving? For this, there are a number of schools of thought.

1. Board Shorts

Board shorts are the most common beach attire for men. However, they aren’t that practical for scuba diving since they are loose-fitting and can easily wrinkle and become bunched up under the wetsuit. This requiring divers to straighten them out once they have pulled their wetsuits on.

In some cases, they can even be hazardous. There have been some instances of bunched up board shorts cutting off circulation to a diver’s legs, causing decompression sickness. This is unlikely, but still provides a valid argument against board shorts.

2. Bikinis and One-Piece Women’s Swimsuits

Woman on beach in bathing suit to wear under a wetsuitFor female divers, bikinis and one-piece swimsuits are ideal because they hug the body tightly and don’t shift as the diver pulls on her wetsuit.

The simpler the swimsuit, the better. Wetsuits should be tight, which means they will press into knots, beads, wooden and metal decorations, and other elements, which can be annoying and even painful. Typically, athletic-style women’s swimsuits are best.

Here’s a tip: if you wear a string bikini, knot the string bikini tops to the side. This will prevent them from jamming the wetsuit’s zipper!

3. Speedos

man jumping into water off dock with speedo to wear under a wetsuit

Photo by Andrii Podilnyk on Unsplash

The standard Speedo swimsuit is perfect for male divers. It won’t bunch or shift when putting on or taking off your wetsuit. It is tight, and has little fabric, which is a perfect combination for diving!

Some men are a little embarrassed about wearing such a revealing swimsuit on the dive boat or at the dive shop. For modesty and comfort, it is normal to a pair of shorts over your suit until it’s time to put on the wetsuit.

4. Go Commando (No photo for this one!)

Wearing nothing at all eliminates a lot of problems when donning a wetsuit! However, this can cause other problems, primarily out of the water. Not ever dive site has a private of convenient place to change. Be cautious with this decision.

It’s really up to you!

And of course, what it comes down to is you. You want to be comfortable, so avoid dangly, overly decorated swim suits. Reduce the amount of fabric as much as possible (and as much as you are comfortable with.) Make sure it fits properly, and make sure you feel comfortable in it. Ultimately, what you wear under a wetsuit when scuba diving is whatever makes you feel best.