Since 2001, my business, Otter Bay Wetsuits has been supporting our local marine science students by giving a custom made suit to a lucky student winner.
In the fall I send out applications to the instructors at our local educational facilities, and they are to select their most deserving student. Someone who studies and works hard with interest, someone who has future goals in marine science, and to top it off, someone who needs and would appreciate a custom wetsuit, making it easier to concentrate on their studies.
The instructor has a month or two to pick the appropriate student, and the selected has until Christmas to send in their application, which asks for their area of studies and where they plan to take that knowledge in the future.
We usually get four or five applications back, and have the painstaking job of selecting one of the recommended students. It’s not an easy job, and we wish we could give them all a suit, but it’s just not in the budget, at least not without help. Occasionally, we’ll get a donation, surprising our second place winner.
Recently, at the suggestion of a friend, we opened up a GoFundMe page, hoping that there are others out there who would like to support these students. All donations go towards materials and labor put into the suits.
All of our suits are custom made from scratch to 60 measurements provided. We begin by making a pattern, then the material is cut, the suit is put together, and then sewn. When the students come in to try the suits on, we make sure that they fit perfectly, with the purpose of keeping them warm. We have gotten a lot of comments telling us that the are able to remain in the water for a longer period of time, concentrating on their studies rather than on their body temperature.
If you’d like to learn more and see photos of our previous winners, take a look at