Ice Diving? The Pros and Cons


If you’re a die-hard scuba diver who has dived all over, in all kinds of conditions, you might be looking for new way to challenge yourself. Have you considered ice diving?

No, that wasn’t a typo – ice diving is real! Ice cold weather is no excuse to stop plotting and planning your next scuba diving adventure, and if you’ve ever considered taking the plunge, the chilly winter weather might just serve as solid inspiration.

So What Are the Pros and Cons of Ice Diving?

Con: It’s Cold

This is a no brainer, but the biggest factor that dissuades scuba fans from ice diving is the simple fact that it’s cold. Depending on where you go, temperatures typically hover around 0 degrees C, and that’s just in the water. In most cases, you’ll be slipping through a hole that’s cut into a solid sheet of ice, or at least diving into a body of water that’s bordered by snowy beaches and shorelines. It’s a chilly trip both in and out of the water.

dry suit for cold water divingPro: But It’s Not That Cold

When it comes to ice diving, having the proper equipment makes all the difference. If you’re outfitted with a well-fitting suit that offers great protection such as a drysuit, as well as a hood and thick thermal undergarments, you might not even realize that you’re exploring freezing cold waters – especially if you encounter some incredible and colorful scenery.

McMurdo Sound in Antarctica is one such site. While topside is barren and desolate, the nutrient-rich waters are home to a myriad of interesting critters who have adapted to the harsh conditions. You might even encounter penguins, orcas, and aggressive leopard seals in visibility as good as 900′!

Con: It Might Be Hard to Get Your Dive Buddies to Join You on an Ice Diving Trip

See aforementioned “It’s Cold” section. And some of the best ice diving destinations are hard to reach.

Pro: You’ll Be Able to See Some Incredible Sites That Few Divers Experience

One of the big bonuses for thrill-seeking ice divers is the inherent exclusivity – not many divers are willing to try ice diving, which means that divers who do brave the chilly waters will be treated to some amazing landscapes and photo ops that can’t be found in any tropical locale.

Imagine looking up into a canopy of icicles, with crystal clear visibility that’s shadowed by upside-down mountains. There’s a reason why so many underwater photographers and videographers continually take the plunge.

Pro / Con: You’ll Need Extra Training

This is a con if you’re short on time, or can’t fit another scuba course into a busy schedule. But it’s definitely a pro if you love learning new things, want to further your diving education, or just want an excuse to enjoy more diving time. Check with your local dive shops or in the areas you’re interested in trying it and find a course.

Is Your Interest in Ice Diving Heating Up?

Then start by perusing the equipment you’ll need to get started, and then check into where to take a course.

With so many corners of the world that are simply brilliant in under the ice – such as the American Great Lakes, Canada, Alaska, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Antarctica – you’ll find a whole new world of scuba diving destinations!

Have you ever been or considered ice diving? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Ice Diving? The Pros and Cons
Ice diving is not for the wimpy but for those who brave it, they're rewarded with spectacular sites and interesting animals. Here are the pros & cons.

3 responses to “Ice Diving? The Pros and Cons”

  1. Bill says:

    sounds interesting, but I doubt I could get my wife to agree to this.

  2. Shane T. says:

    I think I’ll stick to the warm tropical waters.

  3. K. Marshall says:

    I had the opportunity to ice dive once and it was actually a pretty amazing experience. While my preference is warm water, I’d certainly go again.

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