Wetsuit or Wet Suit

The other day I was thinking, what is correct to write, wetsuit (one word) or wet suit (two words)?

The history of compound words is filled with dispute. In general, words tend to follow a particular pattern. Let's take the word basketball as an example:

basket ball -> basket-ball -> basketball

Two words are used together so much that they eventually take on an identity of their own, beyond their constituent words.

Here's where things get tricky. Some people (probably young whipper-snappers) like to move briskly through the three stages. This happens often with tech words. For example, electronic mail became e-mail, and, as I prefer, is often now written email.

There are others (usually old purists who don't like change), however, that insist that a word "pay its dues" for a while in the first two stages before it becomes a new, compound word all on its own.

So where does this leave us with wet suit? My guess is that by now it can be considered a compound word, with no space necessary. After all, wetsuits have been around for quite some time.

What about some validation? My computer's dictionary has an entry for wetsuit, one word. On the other hand, Merriam-Webster online returns my search for "wetsuit" with a two-word entry, wet suit. Same with dictionary.com. Interesting.

Dictionaries aren't backing up my position (well, at least 2 / 3 aren't), so I'll seek social proof.

GoogleFight allows you to enter two search terms and tells you who has more search results. The results: wetsuit has 275,000 results while wet suit has 933,000, over 3 times as much. This isn't definitive, though. Searching for wet suit will find instances of the two words not necessarily together, artificially increasing results.

Going to Google directly reveals that the search engine actually substitutes wet suit for wetsuit, giving you a helpful "Did you mean wetsuit" link at the top. So who do you believe, Google or an online dictionary?

Lastly, it is worth noting that Wikipedia's entry is for wetsuit, one word. Take from that what you will.

Henceforth, I'm writing wetsuit unless someone offers a compelling argument against it. While I'm at it, let’s go a little crazy and say "ditto for drysuit".

Any passionate linguists out there care to convince me otherwise?

Tips on Avoiding Shark Attacks

Flightline recently posted a list of tips for avoiding shark attacks. It’s mostly common sense, but there are a few points I’m not sure I agree with. I’ll go over them one by one:

  • Swim in a group. The article claims sharks are less likely to attack a group of divers. This white shark research page claims that sharks target lone or small groups of seals, where “small” is defined is 6 or fewer. How often are divers in a group larger than 6? Besides specially trained divers, you should never be diving alone anyway.
  • Do not …

Gifts for Scuba Divers

This is a little contradictory to my last post, but nevertheless, sometimes we want to buy gifts for the divers in our lives.

Back in February I posted a list of Valentine's Day gifts for scuba divers. There's nothing holiday-specific to that list, so check it out if you're looking for quick ideas.

Certification is always a great gift, but if you're looking for something a little less committal for a non-diver, consider gifting a Discover Scuba Diving session. Most shops will set you up with one, and it allows your loved one to try out scuba diving in a …

Experiences, not Stuff

I've been seeing more articles discussing a shift in the public's thinking this year. A shift of spending money on experiences, not stuff. I whole-heartedly agree, and as a scuba diver, I imagine you do as well.

We should take a step back this holiday season and take a look at what we value. Ask yourself a few questions:

What did you get for Christmas five years ago? Two years ago? Last year?

You probably don't even remember. How about this one:

Where did you go on vacation five years ago? Two years ago? Last year?

Even if it takes …

Adventures of Scuba Jack

Naturally, this title caught my eye. Who is Scuba Jack? I had expected a fellow blogger who chronicled their underwater adventures through an appropriately named blog. Instead, I found that Adventures of Scuba Jack is a set of DVDs for pre-schoolers.

Scuba Jack is in the style of Blue’s Clues, for those familiar with the popular blue dog and her clueless custodian. In a series of episodes, Jack takes your children on various learning adventures that seems like a mashup of many other shows (Blue’s Clues, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, Dora the Explorer, etc.). It does, however, include …

What the New PADI Divemaster Program Means To You

Those that keep up-to-date with such things are already aware, but PADI has recently revamped their Divemaster course.

Looking at the changes can be confusing, and a tad daunting, so I’ve broken down what these changes mean for you, based on where you are in your dive career. Simply jump to the header that describes you.

No intention of becoming a divemaster

Let's get the easy one out of the way. If this describes you, then you don’t have to do anything. Keep diving like you always have been.

Want to become a divemaster

Want to start before …

Scuba and National Security

It's been popular lately talking about the TSA and the security theater around x-ray screenings. Well, why can't I talk about national security, too?

About 3 years ago, the FBI issued a scuba industry alert to instructors, to keep an eye on suspicious behavior.

The alert includes indicators considered red flags:

  • Requests to dive in murky water or sewer pipes
  • Inquires about procedure such as diver towing
  • Use of re-breathers and Diver Propulsion Vehicles
  • Deep diving
  • Conducting kick counts
  • Receiving extra navigation training
  • Paying cash for diving instruction
  • Refusal or reluctance to provide personal information

Of course, any one of …

Is Diving a Sport?

Articles often refer to scuba as a "recreational sport". PADI’s magazine is called Sport Diver. People often question whether cheerleading is a sport^1^, but what about scuba diving?

Also, like cheerleading, I believe I know where the confusion stems from. And if I learned anything from former U.S. president Bill Clinton, it's that when answering a question, it's important to define all terms involved. So how do we define "sport"? Straight from my computer’s dictionary:

An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

Well …

Why I Dive

Going underwater feels like entering another planet, yet it’s part of our own. We go from being in total control to feeling like a stranger in a world that is still somewhat familiar. We are no longer the lords of our environment, and it makes us uneasy. We want to know what will make us feel completely comfortable, what will make us at home in the sea, and it keeps us coming back. This is why I dive.

Photo by jurvetson

Emergency Assistance Plan Update (Call to Action)

The most popular post here on The Diving Blog is easily on writing an Emergency Assistance Plan. To date, this article, with the free templates, have helped hundreds of divers in one of the most unnecessarily confusing parts of the PADI Rescue Diver course.

In the process, I've received valuable feedback from many readers. First of all, to those of you who have commented or emailed constructive feedback on the EAP templates, thank you! Our post shows up as a top result when searching for emergency assistance plans, and your input helps to make it better, in turn helping many …