SOME MIGHT SAY that Sean and Marcus are a little naïve when it comes to a business plan. Instead of the more common short-term accountancy and quick returns for investors, they set about producing a high-quality product that would be in the best interest of their customers.
The straight-talking, good-sense manual written by Sean and now supplied with all O’Three’s latest suits sums it up.
Sean even likes to point out that the book is ring-bound, so that if he finds he’s made a mistake or needs to add something, alterations and substitutions can easily be made.
This honest approach to the company’s relationship with its customers has paid dividends. It can now rightly claim to be among brand leaders in the British drysuit market.
We’ve all experienced the pain of having a drysuit that was wonderfully made but woeful when it came to use, because it didn’t fit properly. With functional clothing such as a drysuit, the fit can be everything.
Sean and Marcus make drysuits that are not only made extremely well but they insist on fitting them to their customers perfectly.
This is why I’ve driven down to O’Three’s factory in the lee of Chesil Beach so often. It was never going to stick a suit in the post to me and hope that it fitted. As Sean said the first time he took my measurements: “If we don’t get it right, you’re going to trash us in print, and quite rightly so!”
Not only that, but Sean proves that you can teach an old dog new tricks, and he’s shown me the easiest way to get into and out of an O’Three drysuit and with no risk to the seals or the zip.
The lads have transferred this philosophy of customer care to their younger staff, too, a fact to which my wife can testify as she too was recently measured up for a new drysuit.
She’ll be reporting on that experience, and the resulting MSF500 suit, from a woman’s perspective at a later date.
So it needs a bit of commitment on the part of the customer as well as the supplier when it comes to acquiring an O’Three drysuit but I’ve yet to meet anyone who did it and said it wasn’t worth it. There’s something satisfying about climbing into any suit, whether it be pin-striped and tailored in Savile Row or neoprene and finished in Portland, when it fits you like a glove.

O’Three drysuits have always scored top marks with me apart from the fact that they are inevitably pricey. The pain of payment may be outlived by the pleasure of owning something good, but in the present economic climate some of us simply no longer have the money.
Aware of this, Sean and Marcus have developed a no-nonsense yet high-quality suit that will appeal to the newly qualified diver, the commercial diver and those of us who simply cannot afford to go the extra mile for a top-end product.

The Design
Called the Port 10, this conventional neoprene drysuit has a cross-shoulder zip, externally Armatex lined and with fixed rubber boots. It’s manufactured to O’Three’s high standards but with fewer additional features, and is available only in a restricted range of off-the-peg sizes.
Unfortunately, too, it’s supplied only in a shape to fit a man.
After getting used to the rather sleek but more expensive lightweight neoprene suits O’Three makes, this one felt a little heavy, almost like the traditional neoprene suits of old.
I didn’t need much in the way of insulation even when I gave it an initial test for watertightness in Wraysbury lake in late April. There are no braces, so a proper fit was going to be important. I didn’t want the crotch of the suit hanging down near my knees.
O’Three can make small adjustments to leg length, to the size of wrist- and neck-seals and, of course, can supply the suit with one of a range of standard boot sizes, but this is not a made-to-measure suit.
If that is what you need, you’ll need to spend the extra money either on a more expensive MTM suit or a gym membership.

In The Water
Slipping into the suit easily the way the guys at O’Three had demonstrated, aided by a helping of slippery Jollop around the inside of the neoprene wrist-seals, I felt very comfortable. Naturally, I had to ask for help in closing the cross-shoulder zip.
The wrist-seals were clingy but I didn’t find that my thumb went numb, as is often the case when seals are too tight. The material in the arms was long enough to allow me to fold it down, covering the wrist-seals.
The neoprene neck-seal was turned in on itself like an inverted polo-neck, and this effectively stopped any air leaking out and, more noticeably, any water trickling back in.
Because the suit was such a perfect fit, I felt I could spend all day in it, and the lined boots were nice enough that I could have gone without socks.
The advantage of a close-fitting neoprene suit is immediately apparent once you are submerged, because it swims like a wetsuit. Only the heavy and inflexible knee pads made it less sleek than I would have liked.
O’Three recommends layering its PBB garments according to the amount of insulation demanded of the ambient water temperature. One layer was more than enough for me in British water temperatures, and I am prone to complain about getting cold.
With the minimum amount of lead used as ballast, I didn’t need to add much air and hardly more than I would have needed to add to a BC when using a thick wetsuit, as I went deeper.
The revolving Apeks inflation valve made routeing of the hose conveniently close to my body, and when it came to dumping air during the ascent, I took my time and the auto-dump mounted on the shoulder proved efficient.
When the time came to get out of the suit later, I followed Sean’s instructions without drama. This is a suit that will appeal to those who like the advertising slogan of tinned wood varnish. It does exactly what it says it does.
Sean commented, while I was there, that it must be very difficult to write something new about a drysuit. There’s little I can say by way of criticism of this well-made but conventional suit, other than that you must be of a size covered by the range available, and try before you buy.
It’s a less expensive drysuit but it lives up to the reputation of the label.

Seac Overdry 350, £475
Scubapro Everdry 4, £649
Typhoon Neo, £679

PRICE £595
MATERIAL 4.5mm neoprene
ZIP Cross-shoulder medium-duty BDM
SEALS Neoprene
BOOTS Heavy-duty, attached
EXTRA Bag, changing mat, hose, vented semi-dry hood included
DIVER GUIDE width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%