How to Choose an Immersion Suit

If you’re looking for an immersion suit, then it’s essential that you get it right first time.

Here’s what you need to consider.

1. Immersion suits are essential in some jobs and situations, so you might not be allowed to work without one. You might have to have enough immersion or survival suits on your plane or boat for each passenger.

2. Wearing an immersion or survival suit will increase the chance of survival if you’re in the water. Even though you’re highly unlikely to ever need to use it, it’s essential that you can rely on it, and know that you have more chance of living. It really might be a matter of life and death.

3. The suit you choose will need to have plenty of internal and external buoyancy, so that you can stay afloat. You might be in extremely rough conditions, or have suffered and injury, and so need all the help you can get to literally keep your head above water.

4. You’ll need additional insulation to keep you warm too. You’ll get very cold very quickly once in the water. You’ll probably also have shock to deal with as well. You might be in the water for just a few minutes or several hours before you are rescued, and so you’ll want to know that you’ll be reducing your risk of hypothermia.

5. Your survival suit will need to be a good fit. You don’t want to lose vital body heat, because it’s too big, or not be able to swim because it’s too tight on you. Remember that you’ll be wearing it over other layers too, so you’ll need to make sure that it will fit over your other clothing.


10 Tips For Choosing an Immersion Suit

If you need an immersion suit, then it’s essential that you get the right one, and that it meets your needs, even though you’ll hope that you never need it.

Here’s what you should look for.

1. An immersion suit is mandatory in many jobs, such as those who travel on or across water, such as pilots, sailors, and those on fishing vessels, gas and oil rigs. You’ll need to make sure that you have one that is going to be suitable for the type of conditions you’re going to be in.

2. It’s essential that your immersion suit is designed to increase the chances of you surviving in water. If you need to abandon a sinking vessel, or survive a plane crash then you’ll want to reduce the risk of hyperthermia.

3. It’s important that your survival suit has both internal and external buoyancy so that you can stay afloat for longer. You might be floating for several hours, and so you’ll need all the help you can get.

4. Having additional insulation to keep you warm is a good idea. As well as staying afloat, you’ll want to stay as warm as possible if you find yourself in the cold sea.

5. Your immersion suit needs to be a good fit, so that it gives you the support and protection you need in an emergency.

6. You’ll want a suit that has have gloves, a hood and booties to keep your extremities warm. You don’t want to lose the feeling in your hand or feet, and you don’t want to risk your head going underwater.

7. It’s a good idea to practice putting on your immersion suit in all conditions, and in the day and at night. You’ll need to be able to put it on very quickly, and you can’t afford to get it wrong when you need to wear it.

8. Even though you might never need to wear it, it’s essential that your immersion suit is stored where it can be easily accessed. A bulky suit will offer more thermal protection and buoyancy, but might be harder to store.

9. Although it’s highly unlikely you’ll need to abandon a vessel, or need to wear your immersion suit in an emergency, you’ll want to know that you’ve got the right one, and that you have the best chance of survival and being found.

10. Because you can’t put a cost on a life, it’s essential that you get the right immersion suit to meet your needs, and that is right for the industry you’re in, and the environment that you’re likely to find yourself in. You won’t want to be in a life or death situation where you regret your choice of survival suit.

Now you know what to look for, and why it so important you get it right, you’ll be able to buy the right immersion suit.

Why You Need an Immersion Suit

Immersion Suits, Immersion Survival Suits and Abandonment Suits are part of the essential and often mandatory survival gear for those who travel on or over cold or hypothermic water. Search and rescue services including lifeboats and coastguards, merchant ships, workers on fishing vessels or gas & oil rigs, helicopter and plane pilots are all legally bound to carry immersion suits.

An immersion suit is designed to increase the survival time in cold water. This means that in the event of abandoning a sinking or capsized vessel or escaping a stricken production platform, especially in the open ocean, there will be less chance of death by hypothermia and more chance of being rescued. The rapid effects of “Cold Shock” and the onset of hypothermia reduce your potential Survival time to matter of a few minutes if no immersion suit is worn.

It is important to distinguish between an immersion work suit and an immersion survival suit. Immersion survival suits have both thermal insulation and floatation built into the suit, typically extending a person’s survival time by several hours while waiting for rescue. Immersion work suits on the other hand typically require additional floatation devices and have no integral thermal insulation, and so do not guard against cold shock so reducing your potential survival time.

Recent SOLAS regulations for cargo ships in cold climates mean that there needs to be an immersion suit for the total number of people the ship is licensed to carry, as well as several more.

All Immersion suits need to be kept in good condition, and so regular inspection care and maintenance will extend the life of the suit, and possibly extend your life too. Routine inspections need to be made, and any damage reported.

An Abandonment immersion survival suit is often a large bulky one-size-fits-all design meant to fit a wide size range. They have large oversized booties and gloves built into the suit, which will let the wearer quickly don it on while fully clothed, and without having to remove work shoes. Transport Immersion suits are often more fitted and made from either neoprene rubber or coated nylon, often with attached shoes or boots. Such suits would be regularly worn by the Offshore Oil & Gas platform service workers moving between shore and platform.

Immersion survival suits typically have a waterproof front entry zip, a face flap, neck and wrist seals as well as a spray hood to protect against breaking waves. For any suit to be effective regular drills much like fire drills need to be performed periodically to ensure that everyone can get both to the survival suit storage quickly, and don the suit in the required time. It should be possible to put on a survival suit and abandon the vessel or platform in a matter of a few minutes.

Abandoning a sinking or capsized vessel or stricken production platform is a very rare event indeed. Maritime safety is by nature very heavily regulated to ensure maximum safety in what can be a very harsh environment. Making the right choice is a matter of simply following regulation requirement to the letter. If you feel the need to have a survival suit or that it’s a mandatory requirement then don’t cut corners. Choosing the cheapest isn’t necessarily the best option.

Can you afford not to have the right immersion suits? You don’t want to discover the failings of your immersion suit once you’re in the water. To get the best advice and equipment to suit your situation and needs, find SOLAS Approved, Aviation and NMD certified Immersion Suits and Survival Gear at, and really increase the chances of survival in your favour.