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Sign up for free immersion suits courtesy of Kenai's Challenger Learning Center.

Coast Guard, Canada

The Challenger Learning Center in Kenai recently caught a windfall of 1,400 high quality immersion suits and they're giving them away.

About half of them have already gone to private vessel owners, EMS teams and outdoor recreators on the Peninsula, but there are still over 700 to distribute.

Greg Alcott conducts cold water survival training through the Challenger Learning Center.
He spoke with KBBI's Kathleen Gustafson and said the only issue with the suits is that they won't pass a US Coast Guard inspection. They are certified by the Canadian Coast Guard, not the US Coast Guard.

Olcott says many people do give a donation to fund the educational programs at the Center when they get their suits, which run from double extra small to 4 extra large.
Once a week, Olcott and some volunteers sort through the suits and get them ready for pick up at the Challenger Learning Center at 9711 Kenai Spur Highway.

To put your name on the list for an immersion suit, call them at (907) 283-2000.


These suits were leftover from a project that happened up North a few years back, The suits do not have a US Coast Guard rating, It's an immersion suit with a Canadian Coast Guard rating.

There are wrist gaskets. They have lined boots.

As far as exposure time goes, over a six hour time period in the suit, you're going to experience a core temperature drop of somewhere between two and three degrees. So it's a very effective suit in cold water. It's not the most comfortable suit to be in for prolonged periods, but it's definitely a good tool to have in the toolbox. These suits, when they were being manufactured, probably cost between $1,700 and $2,500 a piece.

Although they don't have a US Coast Guard rating, it does everything that an immersion suit is supposed to do. It's equipped with a inflatable pillow, a whistle, a strobe light, a buddy line, which is aligned to attach yourself to other people, once you're in the water,

It doesn't have the lobster claws. You have a little more mobility in your hands.

Correct. It has neoprene wrist seals. The hood fully seals. These suits could have, probably would have,
gone to the landfill and they're perfectly functional suits I mean, a free suit that could potentially be a lifesaver.


Local News Challenger Learning Center
Kathleen Gustafson came to Homer in 1999 and has been involved with KBBI since 2003