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Drysuit Seals

After the zip, the seals are the next important part of a drysuit. They create a seal between your neck, wrists (and possibly your ankles) and the suit, preventing water getting inside. Why not order a set of spare drysuit seals that can be fitted yourself, or make up a dry suit repair kit for those longer dive trips.

For the neck and wrist seals there are three options, either Silicone, Latex or Neoprene. Seals are best considered as consumables and are likley to require replacing during the life of the dry suit.

Latex Drysuit Seals

Latex Seals offer the most waterproof seal when compared to neoprene, especially for the neck. Latex seals are cheap and simple. If you know your size it's pretty easy to swap them over yourself. Latex seals are soft and give a reliable seal, they come in a few thicknesses, the thicker they are the tougher they are but thinner ones give a softer seal so you don't loose circulation.

Latex stretches over time so your neck and cuffs feel really tight when you first fit them, to the point of cutting off circulation, so you have to stretch them over a cylinder for a few hours so they're more comfortable. You can cut them down to make the seal larger but if you do it too early and they continue to stretch you'll end up with a loose seal that leaks.

Silicone Drysuit Seals

Silicone seals have all of the best features of latex with very few of the drawbacks. Silicone is thin and flexible so you can don and doff your suit more comfortably. It's hypoallergenic so people who suffer from latex allergies are fine to use silicone seals. Silicone is more flexible and stretchy than latex, but some find them to be more fragile than similar latex seals.

Because very little sticks to silicone once it's set you need to use a ring system around your wrists and neck. While they first looked uncomfortable, the rings are now comfortable and practical thanks to newer more flexible and ergonomic designs.

Silicone seals are sandwiched between a hard internal ring and a softer external ring glued to your drysuit so you can change broken seals in minutes not days. Carrying spare seals in your bag is easy and can save a dive even when you're off shore on a boat as you only need a simple tool to swap seals over.

More and more divers are using dryglove systems that fit almost any drysuit, which is an added benefit of rings. The design of some neck seals adds a bellow so you can move your head around without breaking the seal. Silicone can also come in a range of shapes and colours instead of standard black. Bright colours are a great way to personalise your suit and stand out of the crowd.

Neoprene Drysuit Seals

Neoprene seals are warmer to wear compared to latex seals and are sometimes considered more comfortable. They also have a tendancy to last longer. Neoprene is good at spreading the pressure over a wide area so you don't end up with Latex love bites, but getting the right size can be tricky.

Neoprene does stretch, but nowhere near as much as Latex or Silicone so they can be harder to put on and the glideskin sticks to your skin so you need to lubricate to get them on. The glideskin is great at sealing against your skin but is quite fragile so you have to be careful pulling it on or it can tear. Ripped neoprene cuffs can be easily fixed if the rip isn't too catastrophic.


Wreck Dive Wreck Dive | Shore access Shore access

Ideal For Snorkelling Inside Port Phillip Open Water Rated Spearfishing Site Wreck Dive Site

Three-Masted Wooden Clipper Ship | Max Depth: 5 m (16 ft)

Lightning Painting
Lightning Painting
Source: State Library Victoria

Level: Open Water and beyond.

The Lightning shipwreck, which lies in Corio Bay, Geelong, is historically significant for being one of the fastest wooden ships ever built, the first clipper built in the USA for British owners and being the worst shipping disaster in Geelong's history. It spent its whole career carrying cargo and immigrants from England to Australia.

Protected from southerly and westerly winds. See WillyWeather (Cunningham Pier) as a guide for the tide times and the height of the tide.

Lightning Deck Plans
Lightning Deck Plans | Source: Heritage Victoria

Lightning Shipwreck History — Built in 1854

Lightning Under Sail
Lightning Under Sail
Source: State Library Victoria

The Lightning was a three-masted wooden clipper ship of 2,084 l-ton (2,117 t), built in 1854, by Donald McKay, of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, on a length of 243 ft (74 m), a breadth of 42 ft (13 m) and a depth of 23 m (75 ft). It was the first clipper built in the USA for a British firm. At the time of its loss the vessel was owned by T Harrison and registered in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Her poop was 92 feet long and her saloon 86 feet, while she had 8 feet under her beams tween decks a most unusual height for those days. Her stem raked boldly forward, The lines of the bow gradually becoming convex and blending with the sheer line and cut-water, while the only ornament was a full length figure of a beautiful young women holding a golden thunderbolt in her out stretched hand.

Lightning did a brief stint as a troop ship, taking British soldiers from England to India (in 87 days) to fight the 1857 Indian Mutiny.

In 1862, returning to Liverpool, the Lightning struck an uncharted rock in The Rip. No water entered vessel but, on arrival at Liverpool, a rock 6 feet long was found sticking through its timbers and beginning to work loose.

Under Captain 'Bully' Forbes, the Lightning made its first voyage to Australia in 77 days, and on its return voyage made it in a record 64 days. It had the dubious distinction of carrying, free of charge, early consignments of introduced animals, including rabbits, sent to Thomas Austin of Barwon Park, Winchelsea. The Lightning's entire life was spent on the Australian run carrying immigrants and cargo.

Lightning Sinking — 31 October 1869

Lightning Burnt
Lightning Burnt
Source: State Library Victoria

The wreck of the Lightning caused by fire was the worst shipping calamity in Geelong's history. That a fire had broken out was discovered at about 1 a.m. on 31 October 1869. Water was pumped into lower hold in an attempt to douse it but the efforts of local volunteer fire brigades were unsuccessful. The blazing ship was towed away from the Yarra Street Wharf by James Deane's tug Resolute.

Attempts to scuttle the vessel by boring holes and cutting the outside planking also failed. The Volunteer Artillery had also been unsuccessful in attempts to sink the vessel to put out the fire. The wreck was finally removed with explosives. The Lighting finally sank at about 6 pm. Location about 200 yards from Wharf in 25 feet of water.

Geelong's Centenary celebrations included a re-enactment of burning of Lightning.

See also, Wikipedia: Lightning (clipper),
Heritage Council Victoria: Lightning, and
Australian National Shipwreck Database: Lightning.

Heritage Warning: Any shipwreck or shipwreck relic that is 75 years or older is protected by legislation. Other items of maritime heritage 75 years or older are also protected by legislation. Activities such as digging for bottles, coins or other artefacts that involve the disturbance of archaeological sites may be in breach of the legislation, and penalties may apply. The legislation requires the mandatory reporting to Heritage Victoria as soon as practicable of any archaeological site that is identified. See Maritime heritage. Anyone with information about looting or stolen artefacts should call Heritage Victoria on (03) 7022 6390, or send an email to

Corio Bay Map
Corio Bay Map | #169; Parks Victoria
Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) country
Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) country

Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) people of the Kulin Nation. This truly ancient Country includes the coastline of Port Phillip, from the Werribee River in the north-east, the Bellarine Peninsula, and down to Cape Otway in the south-west. We wish to acknowledge the Wathaurong as Traditional Owners. We pay respect to their Ancestors and their Elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Bunjil the Creator Spirit of this beautiful land, who travels as an eagle, and Waarn, who protects the waterways and travels as a crow, and thank them for continuing to watch over this Country today and beyond.


Lightning Location Map

Latitude: 38° 8.550′ S   (38.1425° S / 38° 8′ 33″ S)
Longitude: 144° 21.906′ E   (144.3651° E / 144° 21′ 54.36″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map | Get directions
Added: 2012-07-22 09:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2022-04-30 22:30:19 GMT
Source: GPS
Nearest Neighbour: Cunningham Pier, Geelong, 266 m, bearing 276°, W
Three-Masted Wooden Clipper Ship.
Built: Boston, Massachusetts, 1854.
Lost: 31 October 1869.
Bellarine Peninsula, Corio Bay.
Depth: 2 to 5 m.

DISCLAIMER: No claim is made by The Scuba Doctor as to the accuracy of the dive site coordinates listed here. Should anyone decide to use these GPS marks to locate and dive on a site, they do so entirely at their own risk. Always verify against other sources.

The marks come from numerous sources including commercial operators, independent dive clubs, reference works, and active divers. Some are known to be accurate, while others may not be. Some GPS marks may even have come from maps using the AGD66 datum, and thus may need be converted to the WGS84 datum. To distinguish between the possible accuracy of the dive site marks, we've tried to give each mark a source of GPS, Google Earth, or unknown.


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