Personal Equipment - PWC


Syllabus: Personal Equipment - wet/drysuit; personal buoyancy; foot and eye protection

Key Points: What they are? How do they work? Why do we wear them? Correct fitting?

Wet / Dry Suit:

Why wearing a wet / dry suit is so very, VERY important when on a PWC?

News articles describing some of the horrific things that can happen when appropriate clothing it not worn are at the bottom of this web page, we do not for a minute condone 'scare mongering' of students but as an instructor reading these news articles may assist you in understanding the importance of insisting your students wear appropriate clothing regardless of the weather / sea temperature. 

How does a wetsuit work?

A wetsuit's function is to keep you warm in the water and they are made out of a synthetic rubber called neoprene. A wetsuit keeps you warm by trapping a thin layer of water between your skin and the neoprene. This thin layer of water is heated up by your body and therefore keeps you warm. It’s important to get a wetsuit that has a close and comfortable fit, otherwise cold water will constantly flush the warm water out.

Wetsuit thickness options?

Choosing the right thickness of wetsuit for the conditions you're going out in. 

How does a drysuit work?

Drysuits work by enclosing the wearer in a layer that is 100% watertight with rubber seals around the neck and wrists. Drysuits DO NOT keep your warm as they are no insulated, they instead rely on what clothes you choose to wear underneath, the drysuit will simply keep you dry so it is important to choose suitable under garments. If it is cold in or on the water a 'woolly bear' suit, thermals etc under your drysuit will work perfectly. 

As the drysuit 'feet' are rubber you will need appropriate footwear (wetsuit boots or similar) to stop the rubber feet getting damaged. 

PWC Personal Buoyancy

Important Points: 

Not all impact vests are the same.. a standard impact vest has very little integral buoyancy, so make sure you make it clear that the correct buoyancy aid for PWC riders is an impact buoyancy vest /aid. This will offer the following two benefit: 

  • Buoyancy: 50 Newtons (providing floatation when in the water) 
  • Impact Protection (protects your vital organs) 
  • Approval: CE / EN393 or USCG Type III
  • Buoyancy Aids DO NOT keep a person upright / nor roll them onto their back if they are unconscious unlike a lifejacket. 

Front Entry

Ensure it has multiple belts / straps (usually 3-4) as this is what stops the buoyancy aid opening in an impact situation. 

Side Entry

Usually 2-3 straps on the side

PWC Foot & Eye Protection:

Enable clearer vision in spray, protect's eye from UV damage and glare. 

PWC Googles

PWC glasses / sunglasses

PWC Foot Protection:

Wetsuit Shoes

Perfect for summer use worn with a shortie wetsuit or similar and have thinner neoprene (i.e. 1-3mm)

Wetsuit Boots

Perfect for spring/ autumn / winter use as they are generally thicker neoprene (i.e. 5-7mm). 

PWC Incident news articles related to inappropriate clothing: