Maintaining and protecting your sailing dry suit seals will add life to your dry suit.
We will show you how to:
- Prevent seal dry rot
- Reduce seal UV degradation from the sun
- Prevent seals from ‘melting’ during storage
- Reduce stress on seals when putting on a dry suit
Dry Suit Maintenance Products
These are the items you will want to keep in your gear bag:
UV Tech – This is a water-based protectant and re-plasticizer for latex rubber. The naturally occurring oils (an essential structural component of the material) in latex will migrate to the surface and evaporate away, this is called ‘off-gassing’. The material will weaken, which is called ‘dry rot’. UV Tech actually replaces these lost oils and seals–in existing oils which maintains the latex’s integrity. Additionally, it has a UV blocking sunscreen to reduce the destructive rays of sunlight, which latex is exceptionally vulnerable to. The seal surface will be left dry and non-glossy, and will not attract dirt.
Talcum Powder (unscented) – This is used as a dry lubricant when entering your suit and as a barrier for seals when storing your suit. It can be purchased cheaply from an auto parts store (tire change talcum powder) or from your pharmacist at the pharmacy counter. Do not use scented powder found in your grocery or pharmacy aisles, as the additives may damage seals. Filling an old sock (not too thick) with talcum powder and tying it off makes a good powder applicator.
Putting on a Dry Suit
To ease ‘sliding in’ to you suit and through your seals, apply talcum powder lightly to the inside of the legs and sleeves, and a medium dusting to the inside of your neck and wrist seals. Your arms and legs will slide through the suit much more easily. Seals will also slide over your hands and head more easily without sticking to your skin when stretching them open, over and on.
Cleaning and Conditioning Seals
It is best to fresh water rinse your suit after each use. This is especially true for the seals. Chemicals on the surface of the water you are sailing on can adhere to your seals when it sprays or washes over your suit. These chemicals can do irrevocable damage to seals. The easiest way to wash a suit is while you are still in it – wash down with a hose or step into a shower in the changing room.
Use UV Tech periodically to protect and maintain seals. Once seals are clean and dry, apply UV Tech inside and out, whipping it on with a clean cloth. Reapply periodically throughout the sailing season.
Treating Seals for Dry Suit Storage
When storing a suit for more than a few days, be sure seals are clean and conditioned. Then fully coat all seals surfaces (inside and out) with talcum powder. This creates a barrier between touching seal surfaces when they are stored. Even seals that have been rinsed can have residual contaminants on them. Contaminated latex seals can ‘melt’ together when stored touching and lead to sticky, ‘melted’ ruined seals.