Unique Challenges for Women Tech Divers

Posted on 08/16/09 No Comments

While women have firmly established themselves in recreational diving, the fairer sex’s profile past the 40-meter mark is considerably smaller. As Lady Divers magazine’s Misty A. Martin points out in an article published this week, tech is still “an all boys club.”

Not only have equipment manufacturers not offered the same range of tech gear designed for the female physique as they’ve done in recreational diving, the entire mindset and impact on physiology are different.

For a guy, her insights both make you go “ewww” and make you go “hmmm.” For example, she points out that being wrapped up in a steamy wetsuit for long periods of time tends to result in yucky yeast infections. She also offers a tip to the sisters out there that taking “the pill” for a few more days might avoid other messy problems.

Blood and bacteria aside, she also notes there are some real challenges specific to tech.

Harnesses aren’t meant for the 32 in. / 81.3 cm. chest size if it’s accompanied by a 24 in. / 64 cm. waist.

Extra training and practice must go into learning how to clip and unclip a cummerbund, crotch strap, weight belt, deco bottles, reels and basically anything that sits below your chest while visually impaired or outright blocked by your breasts. Add the bulk of counter-lungs over them for rebreather diving, and vision limitations are second only to the possible feelings of suffocation that accompany literally being unable to look down. While this doesn’t apply to everyone, the variation in female shape makes it much more likely that your technical kit will not be ready to wear without a lot of customization and adjustment…

…From here, things only become more embarrassing of a struggle. Without the luxury of P-valves in the female dry suit, cold water diving is decidedly in the male’s favor. … As bottom times increase, the trend has turned towards catheter use. For what is no more difficult than slipping on a condom for men, it involves hair removal, leakage protection and adhesive for women.

Read the full article here.

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