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Ice Diving

Ice diving


The first thing which comes to mind with ice diving is “ WHY? “  ….

Why would any sane person want to immerse themselves in icy waters for the chance of onset hypothermia, possible frost bite and death? I guess it is this diversity which makes the world go round.

Ice diving is classed as advanced diving because of the risks that can ensue.

The list is lengthy of what is needed for this type of extreme diving. As you can imagine the safety precautions to be taken should not be ignored or taken for granted training is an absolute must.

Ice water normal ranges from 4°C and 0°C in fresh water  and approx. -1.9°C in salt water.

Equipment needed for ice diving :


Dry suit – a full face diving mask – gloves so your fingers don’t fall off – you don’t want to be like sir Ranulph Fiennes – thermal clothing for both under and above the water,  a harness and tether, tools to cut through the ice and in case of emergency, a weight belt with two buckles,  hood,  two  regulators that are suitable for extreme water temperature, a good communication system and a good team of fellow qualified people to ensure your safety and recovery if necessary …. shelter for you to regain your body temperature, a cup for your cocoa, as alcohol will just exacerbate your hypothermia and possibly a psychiatrist just to check your state of mind for doing it in the first place.

Knowing your equipment and the science of how freezing temperature effects your gear is vital ….Watch out for the regulator freezing!

What to watch out for when ice diving – orcas – snow leopards seals – penguins – natural ice sculptures – crystal visibility (the colours on some marine life exaggerated due to the reflection of the ice.)

Where to ice dive


Some suggestions could be  Antarctica – McMurdo sound where the waters can fall below -40* in the winter months so you will have to wait until the summer months which is September until Feb the water can be an eerily 300 metres clear.

Ice dive in Canada or Iceland,  Siberia’s Lake Baikal is jam-packed of natural ice sculptures – Feb and March is the best time for diving here. The White Sea in Russia is the only European sea to freeze annually. Sweden the Melln Marviken lake.  Denmark.  Switzerland Poland.  The Falkland’s or Finland.

Youtube the wonders of ice diving on the ‘interweb’. This video shows some fun aspects of ice diving with some Finnish divers at Lake Saarijärv in Finland.


This video plays tricks with your mind and if you find yourself turning your head upside down whilst watching trying to fathom out how …well so did I.


Ice diving is for well, let’s say for the brave and foolhardy who want an adventure and don’t  care if something falls off due to the extreme cold. The fabulous clear waters and the possibility of bumping into an orca has to excite even the most experienced divers. If you can cope with the cold then just about everything apart from hungry polar bears will make for a great experience. Oh and …take a extra hot water bottle!