Amazing rock formations while scuba diving in warm water Lombok Indonesia
Warm water scuba diving. Photo courtesy of Shannon Durrant

Heading somewhere tropical and going scuba diving? Then you are probably trying to figure out what to wear scuba diving in warm water! Well, as an instructor in tropical Thailand, we know exactly what to wear, and what not to wear when getting into the warm water!

What to Wear Scuba Diving in Warm Water

Warm water in scuba diving, would be anything from 25°C (77°F) and up. This might seem too warm for some people, but since we lose body heat so fast in the water, anything below this temperature will be considered cold during a long dive.

In warm water, such as when diving in Thailand, Indonesia, or Malaysia, where the countries are close to the equator, you can dive in minimal exposure protection.

Swimsuit / Board shorts

If the water is nice and warm, you might choose to just wear your usual swimwear for scuba diving. You won’t feel restricted by a tight wetsuit, so this gives you greater flexibility.

Rash Guard

A thin rash guard won’t give you too much extra warmth. This makes it perfect for scuba diving in warm water. It also gives you protection from harmful UV sun rays, rubbing from the scuba diving equipment, and sea-lice that might make your skin itchy.

O’Neill Men’s Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Rash Guard

Simple Joys by Carter’s Assorted Rashguard Set


You might opt for leggings and pair this with your bikini top, or a rash guard. Leggings are great for protecting against the sea lice. From experience, I know wearing leggings is also great for protecting your modesty if you are frog-kicking in a tiny bikini bottom or loose board shorts!

Scubapro T-Flex Leggings

Men’s Swim Compression Leggings

Shorty Wetsuit

If you are doing multiple dives in warm water, you may feel colder as the day progresses. A 3mm shorty wetsuit is perfect for this. It protects you from UV rays, potential scrapes from rocks and coral, stops the BCD from rubbing on your skin, and also keeps your torso warmer.

Read More: How Do Wetsuits Work?

What Not to Wear Scuba Diving in Warm Water

We recommend not wearing anything too thick or warm when diving in warm water. It is very easy to overheat on the surface, which can lead to more serious heatstroke. You won’t need a semi-dry or drysuit in warm temperatures. You can add a hood or gloves for scuba diving, but remember to remove them once you are out of the water, and to keep constantly hydrated with water.

We also don’t recommend piling on the sunscreen before scuba diving in warm water. Sunscreen can be toxic to coral and marine life, and it is thought that 14,000 tons of sunscreen is washed into the ocean each year. Try to use sunscreen an hour before jumping into the water to give it a proper chance to sink into your skin and to give you the ultimate sun protection. And always choose a reef-safe sunscreen.

Read More: Our Favorite Reef-Safe Sunscreens!

What to know what to wear when scuba diving in different temperatures? Check out our handy guide!

Infographic on wetsuit temperature guide scuba, snorkel, surf & more