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Peeing in your wetsuit? - The definitive guide!

diver scared because of holding pee

We have all experienced it, that sudden, distracting and very annoying urge to pee while scuba diving. But aside from the obvious lingering odour, the ridicule from your dive buddies, and the extra care needed for your wetsuit, it is far better for your health to pee in your wetsuit.

Let’s look at the pro’s and cons of peeing in your wetsuit and then you can decide for yourself, to pee or not to pee?

Why do I need to pee when scuba diving?

You are all prepared for the dive, you go to the bathroom for a final loo break before you put on your wetsuit and everything is perfect. But then, ten minutes into the dive you need to pee again! What’s up with that?

Don’t worry, the urge to pee when scuba diving is a normal bodily response. There is actually a scientific term for what is happening. It is called immersion diuresis. 

Immersion diuresis literally translates to ”water loss due to immersion.” Even if the water is warm, when you are submerged your core body temperature will decrease. This decrease in temperature triggers our body to draw blood from our extremities and move blood to our heart and other internal organs, which in turn increases our blood pressure. Our body senses the increase in blood pressure near our internal organs and believes this is because we have too much blood or water in our system. Because of this signal, our kidneys are then in charge of removing this excess water from our body resulting in a sooner-than-expected urge to pee.

So should you give in to social stigmas and resist the urge? Or should you let nature takes its call?

Is peeing in your wetsuit a good idea?

happy after peeing in wetsuit


1. It makes you colder

It is a common misconception that peeing in your wetsuit makes you warmer. However the warm sensation you experience is temporary, and peeing in your wetsuit will only make you colder.

  • When you pee in your wetsuit, the warm urine fools your body to believe that you are currently in a warm environment.
  • This reduces the body’s response to cold water.
  • Now, when fresh cold water enters your wetsuit, your body must expend extra energy to warm up the cold water.

2. It can cause a rash

When our body has prolonged direct contact with urine, the uric acid can cause a rash (similar to a nappy rash) and in extreme consequences a burn.

Urine can also cause a build up of bacteria in your pores, which in turn can cause spots and dermatitis.

3. Pee can be harmful to the environment

Urine is 95% water, so in a large body of water, urine will not cause any direct damage to the environment. However there are some specific environments where peeing in your wetsuit is detrimental to the delicately balanced ecosystem.

  • The nitrogen found in your urine can cause growth in algae. This algae growth has a negative effect on the health of Coral.
  • Chemicals that are found in urine can also damage coral reefs by altering the balance of microbes.

4. If your wetsuit is rented your dive center may not be too happy


When choosing to pee or not pee, take into consideration the thickness of your wetsuit. If you are diving in Thailand in a 3-millimetre shortie you will probably get away with it. Especially if you pee at the start of the dive, as most of the urine will be flushed out before the end of the dive (handy to know!) 

But if you are diving with us here in Gran Canaria, we often use 7-millimetre wetsuits. The pee will probably stay in your suit leading to an unpleasant cleaning experience for the team. The van trip home may also have a slight whiff of something unpleasant! 


1.It is an indication that you are hydrated

dont panic peeing sign
Dehydration is a major concern for scuba divers. Drinking less fluid in an attempt to avoid peeing in your wetsuit can cause a number of problems for divers, including a higher risk of decompression sickness. Although it can be tempting to save yourself from embarrassment, it is a bad idea to purposely dehydrate yourself prior to your dive.

2.It is a bad idea to hold in your pee when scuba diving

Prolonging the delay in peeing can cause a number of issues. A few of the issues include:

  • Discomfort
  • Bladder stretching
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Kidney stones
  • Pain

Doctors state that you should empty your bladder regularly. Because of the health implications, scuba divers should be aware of the long term damage that delaying nature’s call can cause.

3. An empty bladder means no distractions

An uncomfortably full bladder can be a dangerous distraction. Instead of focusing on completing a fun and safe dive, all you can think about is that relentless urge to pee! By emptying your bladder you will be able to focus on all the safety aspects of the dive and enjoy your diving experience.

How do i get a urine smell out of a wetsuit?

If the inevitable does happen don’t worry. You know there are only two types of divers right? Those that pee in their wetsuit and those that lie. 

If you do have a funky-smelling wetsuit:

  • Make sure to rinse the wetsuit in a large container of fresh water as soon as possible. 
  • Adding normal cleaning detergent can boost that sweet-smelling fragrance
  • Make sure to dry your suit inside out afterwards.
  • And you can even go one step further and buy a specific wetsuit cleaning detergent such as Sink the stink linked here.

So there you have it the pros and cons of peeing in your wetsuit! By resisting the urge to pee you will be warmer and smell much nicer, but for your health and safety, it is advisable to pee in your wetsuit and deal with the consequences afterwards!

Author: Sophie Keningale

Sophie Keningale works hard to share her passion for scuba diving through her blog posts and hopes to offer useful information for scuba divers and those holidaying in Gran Canaria. Sophie owns and operates Leagues Ahead Diving with her partner James and the center has been open since 2017.

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