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Posted : January 26, 2007
I was hoping to ask a question about the best way to deal with the problem of dive time reduction because of urine. I definately do not wish to do anything drastic (so minor surgery is not an option), but was hoping for some ways to extend dive time without causing discomfort. To be honest I can't see something like an adult nappy working too well, and i've also heard tales of people designing and constructing their own pee valves. Do these ever work? What would you recommend buying/making, and what problems/things to look for, if any, are associated with this area?

Posted : January 26, 2007
Yes an interesting question and one i'm asked about a lot on boats and courses.

The answer is not the one your expected..

[1] It is crucial that you do not allow your body to become dehydrated prior to, during and post diving - You are considerably more likely to Bend.

[2] It is definately a serious problem to be bursting for a pee on a stop as that can cause serious Renal problems - and also increase your risk of Bending.

[3] On long dives (runtime over 90mins) you must make provision on open circuit diving to rehydrate in water - do not try this without running through the procedures for this with your instructor - Post me another question on this and i'll run through the very crucial issues of this.

[4] When you want to pee you must - no debate - even if that is filling your suit - hey it could have been the zip couldn't it ;-) But don't put your undersuit on the bunkhouse radiator - you'll get chucked overboard in an hour or two...

[5] Many commerical divers swear by nappies - I don't - wet things next to your skin even if they have a small hydrophobic membrane is not a good idea in my way of thinking. It is cruical during deco you remain warm - all over- and that your undergraments have considerable wicking properties to keep your body perspiration away from you..

[6] Pee Valves are available in two general forms (we'll talk about sexes in a mo) - Ballanced and unballanced. Basically the Ballanced takes care of good old Boyles Law, and the unballanced causes your body bits discomfort if you don't have good control :-)

[7] Males - wear a sheath which is like a condom with glue. These are sized though and order them without your so called mates around (unless you want to boast), you must get the right size when your all limp otherwise you will pee everywhere but through the valve! Make sure you go for the ballanced system in my opinion and also make sure the manufacturer is one that this system is not massively long as the tube will down to your knee! Cut a small hole in your drysuit on the outer edge of your thigh but down from your groin - the manufacturers have a good guide if not email me from my website and i'll send you a photo and instructions. Then abou 75mm to 100mm down from this cut a hole and stitch it like a button hole to get the tube into your leg and hence up to your privates. With the ballanced system open the valve have fun diving and pee when you need! Unballanced you will need to start peeing building up pressure open valve, when finishing close valve..If you don't build up pressure your bits will feel the cold water big time when you open the valve!!

[8] Female versions are on the market and we have yet to see uptake in earnest - essentially a catherter - you must be very careful with self catherterisation - clean hands and sterile catherters are crucial and the suppliers have this well sorted. The same proceedure for peeing is as per above.

Hope that answers it fully. Don't homebrew make these - buy and your local dive shop can order this in for you. We do a regular trade on these. Make sure you take care where you put the valve on your drysuit leg; A fellow instructor rolled off the rib and left his valve behind along with a bit of his suit and it very amuzingly pulled the sheath off too - we were all in stitches and so was the coastguard for the medical cover needed when we got back in!!!
Answer provided by ADM Diving

Andrew Dawson-Maddocks
The views expressed by the author are their own and the publishers accept no liability for the advice and views expressed by the author, or other users, which are provided as a general service to divers. Users are warned that secondary posts are the views of other users and may not be technically correct.
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