The purpose of this research is to investigate the effects of cold water diving on both vital functions and coldness perception of the human body. The subjects in this research were aged between 21 and 30 with at least three years diving experience, and have undergone a minimum of fifty independent dives.
During the experiment the subjects were exposed to an environment five meters below the surface of a diving pool where the temperature was 11 degrees Celsius. The subjects were tested both with a wetsuit and a drysuit for a period of 30 minutes, and then vital signs were measured.
SPSS 12.0 statistical analysis program was used to generate both average and standard deviation of the data. In addition, matched pair sample t-tests and One Way ANOVA were conducted yielding the result of p<.05. Cold perception analysis showed similar differences in both cases. Evaluations measured discomfort, cold, extremity temperatures and shivering.
Results indicated that subjects wearing wetsuit experienced an average body temperature decrease of 2.2 degrees Celsius. Subjects wearing drysuits experienced an average body temperature decrease of 1.3 degrees Celsius. The One Way ANOVA tests showed that, in both cases, a similar pattern.
In breathing respiration volume comparison, the subjects wearing drysuits consumed on average, 3.99 sq. feet less air. The t-tests showed a similar pattern of p<.05. However, in the cases of blood pressure and pulse
comparison, different patterns were noticed on drysuit and wetsuit subject comparison.
Analysis of temperature awareness tests showed values of .007 for discomfort .005 for cold, .001 for extremity temperatures and .003 for shivering(p<.05). The results indicate that in cold water diving temperatures, changes that occur in respiration volume, temperature, and cold perception are exacerbated by longer exposures and colder temperatures. It is suggested that further researches are required to study harmful effects of cold water diving.