Compliance of dry suits and wet suits
Dry suits protect the user against cold water so that the user can get out of the water. These suits must comply with the requirements of the PPE legislation. Dry suits made of waterproof materials, such as Goretex, are worn by canoeists, yachtsmen and tour skaters in particular. Dry suit enables the user to stay dry and warm longer when in water. Staying functional longer helps in getting out of the water.
Wet suits are used in surface water sports, such as windsurfing, standup paddleboarding (SUP), swimming and water skiing. Wet suits that protect the user against cold water and air must also comply with the requirements for personal protective equipment.
Dry suits and wet suits are risk category II PPE. Information on the requirements for PPE can be found on page Requirements for personal protective equipment.
European view of dry suits and wet suits
The EU Commission and the Member State's notified bodies have discussed the classification of dry suits in several meetings since 2011. In 2012, the PPE Working Group on issues relating to the application of the Personal Protective Equipment Directive considered dry suits that protect against cold water as PPE category II. This was endorsed in accordance with the proposal drawn up by the Commission at the Group meeting in 18 November 2015.
In 2013, the group mentioned above classified surface water sports wet suits that protect against cold as PPE category II. This was endorsed at the group meeting in 25 April 2013.
The approved minutes of the PPE Working Group meetings can be found on the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) page.
More information on the application of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulation and PPE classification can be found in the PPE Guidelines, guide to application of the PPE Regulation drawn up by the European Commission in co-operation with the Member States responsible for Personal Protective Equipment and stakeholders.
Products that do not constitute personal protective equipment
Products designed and manufactured for private use to protect against atmospheric conditions that are not of an extreme nature, are not considered PPE. Such products include, for example, headwear, seasonal clothing and footwear. Furthermore, items of clothing designed to protect, for example, canoeists against rain do not constitute personal protective equipment, unless consumers are given an impression that they would protect against cold if the user accidentally falls in water.
There are suits intended for consumer use on the market that are marketed as dry suits but that do not fulfil the requirements for PPE. If a product does not fulfil the requirements for PPE, consumers must not be given the false impression that the product in question would constitute PPE. In order to avoid false impressions, products that do not constitute dry suits considered PPE must not be marketed as dry suits, and claims must not be made about their protective characteristics.