Why Does My Wetsuit Fill Up with Water?

Why Does My Wetsuit Fill Up With Water?

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Why does my wetsuit fill up with water? This is a question many water sports enthusiasts might have asked. That’s because this diving outfit is designed to get you wet, not to isolate your body from the water. However, too much water can be a sign of a faulty wetsuit.

In this article, we’ll discuss three reasons that cause your wetsuit to fill up with water. We’ll also provide solutions to tackle each problem. Keep reading to find out!

Should a Wetsuit Fill Up with Water?

Yes! The whole idea of wetsuits is to trap water to keep you warm. It sounds confusing, so let’s explain how this suit works.

Generally, wetsuits are made of multiple layers. Out of those layers, neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber, is the most vital. Why?

Well, that’s because neoprene traps a thin layer of water between your skin and the suit. That helps keep you warm since heat naturally transfers from hot objects to cold ones.

Consequently, your body temperature will heat the trapped water, making it warm. One perk about water molecules is that they’re close to each other. So, the entire layer will carry heat away from your body quickly.

Now, how does the trapped water remain warm? The short answer is multiple layerings! Those thin layers act as insulators, preventing the water from getting cold.

Why Does My Wetsuit Fill Up with Water?

Several reasons can cause your wetsuit to fill up with too much water. Those include simple problems like improper sizing or a lack of proper maintenance.

Wear and tear, like damaged seals, will probably require professional help—even worse, you might need to replace your wetsuit!

Let’s discuss each problem in further detail.

1.   Poor Fit

If you’ve ever gone wetsuit shopping, you probably know the struggles of finding the right fit. The problem with an improper fit is that it allows a lot of water to seep in and out of the suit. That takes away from the whole point of wetsuits.

For the diving outfit to work well, the trapped water should be thin to heat quickly. The small thickness also won’t restrict your movement. Additionally, the suit shouldn’t allow cold seawater to enter and replace warm water—that’s just like not wearing anything at all.

So, how do you get the right wetsuit size?

For starters, you should take your measurements. That includes your height, weight, chest, and waist. Then, compare your measurements with the size chart to determine the appropriate fit.

Once you try on the suit, check for the following:


A perfectly fitting wetsuit shouldn’t contain folds around the wrist, ankles, and knees. It shouldn’t be too short that it feels uncomfortable around the neck and groin.

Excess material

You can try the pulling test to check for excess material. The suit is likely too big if you can grab a handful of material from the shoulders or underarms. As for the lower back, a little extra material is normal, but it shouldn’t exceed a small pinch.

2.   Damaged Seams

Wetsuit seams can get the most wear and tear from all that diving movement. Torn seams can also happen from improper use and storage. Either way, water will flush into the wetsuit once the seals and stitches are damaged.

Because damaged seams are hard to fix and usually need a professional’s help, it’s best to get a sturdy suit in the first place.

How to Choose a Durable Wetsuit Seam

In general, wetsuits can have three types of stitches: overlock, flatlock, and blind stitch seams.

Overlock is a stitch that folds the materials up to sew them together. So, you get a ridge inside the wetsuit, which can be quite painful. Plus, it’s not that durable. The former stitch also allows a lot of water to penetrate the seam, making it the least effective.

Flatlock stitches are common in most entry suits. That stitch joins the two ends together, like a butt joint, and secures them by putting a mirrored stitch on both sides. Flatlock stitching is highly durable; however, it comes at the cost of creating thousands of pinholes.

Consequently, water can seep through those holes into the suit, filling it up with too much water.

As for blind stitches, you’ll usually find them in competition wetsuits. They offer the highest performance.

Unlike flatlock, blind stitches don’t penetrate the neoprene all the way through. That means they don’t create pinholes, allowing no excess water to enter.

Additionally, a layer of glue usually joins the remaining part of the material to make the seam more heavy-duty.

3.   Poor Wetsuit Maintenance

Now, it’s safe to say that we’re all guilty of not washing the diving outfit enough. After all, you spend the entire time wearing the suit in the water, so does it need cleaning? Unless you go scuba diving in fresh water and don’t sweat, then the answer is yes.

You see, seawater contains salt, grime, dirt, and many other contaminants. That debris can accumulate if you don’t rinse your wetsuit after each diving session.

Not only does that create an unpleasant smell, but the dirt can cause wear and tear to the suit. Consequently, too much water will enter the wetsuit.

Even if you wash your diving outfit frequently, improper cleaning techniques can still damage it. That’s especially true if you use harsh chemicals or hot water. The former damages neoprene, creating openings in the wetsuit.

As for the latter, it causes the rubber to expand, which also wears out the diving outfit. To tackle that issue, only use mild soap or baby shampoo to clean the neoprene.


So, why does my wetsuit fill up with water?

Incorrect wetsuit sizing, poor maintenance, and wear and tear can all cause your wetsuit to fill up with more water than necessary.

The first two issues are simple to work out. Simply take your measurements before buying a suit to get the right fit. Additionally, soak the diving outfit in mild soap mixed with cold water to remove debris that deteriorates it in the long run.

As for the latter, you’ll probably need to get a new suit or repair it with a professional’s help. Once you address the above issues, you can rest assured that the wetsuit will keep you warm while you venture into the ocean!

Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson, a scuba diving enthusiast from San Diego, has spent over a decade exploring the underwater world across the globe. Sharing his passion through captivating stories and informative articles, Jack aims to inspire others to embark on their own scuba diving adventures and uncover the ocean's hidden treasures. Follow Jack on Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, and Facebook or email him at Jack@diving-info.com

5 thoughts on “Why Does My Wetsuit Fill Up with Water?

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