Scuba Diving Rashis FAQ

1. What are rashies?

Originally rashies were invented to prevent a rash from contact from board or rubbing from wetsuit. Now the term is commonly used to for any sun shirt, stinger shirt, or vest to protect from a rash. If you take part in active watersports or spend a lot of time in the water then you could experience wetsuit rubbing.  Wetsuits very rarely fit perfectly and can move around and this can cause them to rub uncomfortably against areas such as your neck, shoulders and chest.  Rash vests (also known as rashies) can be worn underneath wetsuits to help protect your skin against friction caused by the wetsuit as you move around. 

2. What size rashie do I need?

Rashies are designed to be tight fitting, because they are made from lycra which is very stretchy, but not so tight that they inhibit your breathing or movement.  Rashies should not be too loose as otherwise they could ride up when you are in the water, the general rule is tighter rather than looser. They will need to be able to fit under your wetsuit so it is important that you try both of these on at the same time before you get in the water to make sure they fit together comfortably. You should check the manufacturer's sizing charts to help you choose the right size rashie as each make will be slightly different when it comes to fit.

3.  Do rashies provide UV protection?

Another benefit of rashies is that they provide an additional layer of protection against the sun.  This can be beneficial in sunny conditions when you are going to be spending a lot of time out on the water.  You can wear them over swim suits and lycras if it is warm enough not to wear a wetsuit and they will help to protect you from UV light.  It is important to consider sun protection as waterproof sunscreens and sun blocks are only effective for a while and you could burn if you spend a lot of time out on the water as there is no shade.

4. What types of rashies are there?

You can get long, short and sleeveless rashies.  This will very much be a personal choice. Long sleeve rashies can also help to prevent chafing around the arms and armpits and will provide more protection from UV light.  Short sleeve and sleeveless rashies can offer more freedom of movement and will protect your neck, shoulders and chest from chafing and still provide some additional solar protection for your wetsuit.

5.  What thickness of rashies is there?

Rashies are available in a range of thicknesses. However a rashie is made from a thin material called lycra/spandex which doesn’t give you any thermal protection.

6.  What are rashies made from?

Rashies are designed to be lightweight and close fitting so that you can wear them under your wetsuit comfortably.  This means they are typically made from stretchy, body fitting materials such as Lycra, polyester, nylon and spandex.  These materials also dry well and do not absorb too much water so they keep their shape if they get wet. 

7.  Can I wear rashies out of the water as well?

Rashies are very versatile and you can also wear them for land activities as well as water sports.  They provide additional warmth and protection against chafing for active sports such as running, cycling and football.  They can also help to keep moisture away from your skin to help keep you feeling dry and cool.

8.  What are Lycras used for?

Lycras are stretchy, form fitting suits that can be used for both wet and dry activities.  They provide additional protection against UV light and stinging creatures such as jelly fish.  Lycras are lightweight and flexible and provide comfortable suits for many water based activities such as surfing, swimming and snorkelling.  Lycras can also provide protection on land from UV light and can help to wick sweat away from your skin keeping you cool and dry.

9.  Do Lycras provide thermal insulation?

Lycras are not designed to provide much thermal insulation on their own.  The material is designed to be thin in order to provide the best flexibility and most comfortable fit.  However like rashies Lycras can be worn underneath wetsuits to make it easier to put the wetsuit on and take it off.  They will also help to prevent rubbing and chafing from wetsuits.

10.  What kind of sun protection can Lycras provide?

Lycras are treated to protect against UV light.  This can help keep you from getting burnt whilst you are out on the water. Lycras are available in a number of different UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings.  For example a Lycra suit that is labelled as a UPF of 20 will allow on 1/20th of the UV radiation to pass through the material.  Tests have shown that protection from the sun does not increase over a 50 UPF factor.  This means that a UPF protection of factor 50 is around the same as 50+.  So if you are swimming or diving in intense sunlight then a Lycra with a factor of 50 will provide the best protection against UV light.  You can also get some Lycras that have little UV light protection if your aim is to get a tan whilst you are out on the water.