Dive Lights Tips

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How can I prepare for a night dive?

Prepare During the Day for Night Dives

Make your night dive enjoyable by doing advance preparation. The prep work ensures your dive party's safety and allows you to focus on the adventure itself. The better you plan the more prepared you are for unexpected problems, whether it is foul weather or a piece of equipment that fails.

  • Pack your primary scuba light, a backup light and marker light, which should illuminate your ascent line. Bring fresh batteries.
  • Organize your diving equipment during daylight hours. Make sure all safety equipment is on board the dive boat.
  • Check weather and current conditions ahead of time. Make sure your dive buddy is outfitted and ready to go.
  • When diving, don't shine your strobe in your buddy's face. It will temporarily blind and disorient the diver.
  • Don't switch your dive light off and on frequently. Equipment failure usually happens with the switch.
  • Try to dim your light by covering it with your hands, so you do not over brighten the underwater area you are viewing.
  • Learn light signals that divers use at night. Waving your light up and down means "Help!" Making a big circle with your light signals "OK."
  • If you surface far from the boat, shine the light on it to get attention. Then shine the scuba light on your head, so the dive boat can get to you. If you keep the light on the boat, no one will be able to see and find you.

What kinds of dive lights do I need for night diving?

Night Diving Requires Primary, Marker, and Backup Lights

Night diving is a form of recreational diving that is growing in popularity. Divers enjoy nocturnal adventures because many sea creatures are most active at night.

But night diving has a lot of risks. Scuba light failure can be the most dangerous, because the diver can lose his or her bearings and cannot monitor gauges. The diver can become separated from a diving group, a dive boat or drift farther from shore.

The protocol for night diving is to carry three dive lights -- a primary light, backup light and marker. Divers use a larger light with a broader beam as their primary light. They have a flashlight or smaller pocket light as their backup. A marker light is attached to the diver - usually near the tank valve - so he can be spotted when floating at the surface.

Although not required, divers may also carry a strobe light, which is used for a signaling device. Strobe lights can very helpful to a diver lost at sea.

Should I use rechargeable or disposable dive light batteries?

Rechargeable or Disposable Batteries Work for Dive Lights

Whether you should power your dive lights with rechargeable or disposable batteries depends on how careful you are at maintaining your equipment.

Diving lights that use disposable batteries burn longer and are cheaper to buy. But they aren't as convenient and are wasteful.

Rechargeable batteries cost more, and require you to perform the extra task of recharging after a dive. You also will want to be extra careful with your rechargeable batteries and not lose track of them.

A benefit of rechargeable batteries is that they pay for themselves over time. Divers who frequently use underwater lights and take good care of their gear may prefer rechargeable batteries. If you are a beginner or don't want the extra task of recharging batteries, then stick with disposable ones.

What kind of light should I use for underwater photography?

External Strobe Lights Illuminate Underwater Photography

External strobe lights can bring out vivid colors in your underwater digital photography. External strobes can be mounted on an arm away from the camera body. While flash cameras are more convenient, they can create a phenomenon called backscatter. While illuminating the fish or coral you are trying to photograph, built-in flashes can cause the background to look underexposed or shadowy. An external strobe creates an even field of light.

An alternative underwater light that works well for closeup images or movies is a video light. Video lights can bring out the underwater world's natural colors.

Of course, you can shoot underwater photos without any artificial light. Your photos will look fine, but they might not be the quality you expected. The background tends to look blue in the natural light underwater. Your best option is to invest in an external strobe light that you can attach to your camera or hold to shoot photos worth framing.

Is there a safety protocol for cave diving?

Backup Lights, Air Management Make Cave Diving Safer

Cave diving is considered one of the most dangerous forms of scuba diving, though devotees would disagree. They say the level of expertise, training and experience required for cave diving draws only the most skilled people to the sport.

Cave divers follow strict guidelines that are considered the five commandments for safe passage.

  1. Cave divers undergo training in segments that become progressively more complex. Each segment is followed by a dive to practice what was taught in the classroom. These dives are supposed to build on the diver's real world experience to become familiar with cave diving and understand the problems that can arise.
  2. Cave divers practice air management. They use a third of their air to travel into the cave and a third to leave the cave. A third is held in reserve for emergencies.
  3. The dive leader maintains a continuous guide line that is secured at a fixed point outside the cave entrance.
  4. No cave diver exceeds the depth of the dive plan or the maximum operating depth, or MOD, of the gas mixture used


Night Diving Requires Primary, Marker, and Backup Lights

Dive lights are not just for remaining safe while night diving. They can be used for cave diving, wreck diving, peering into holes, or illuminating the brilliance of reef fish. Consider different styles of dive lights. UK lights like the Mini Q40 UK dive light are so compact, you can carry them in your BC pocket.

What are some tips for an enjoying a night dive?

Strap Your Dive Light to Your Wrist for Safekeeping

Plan your night dive to start at twilight. Not only do you get to watch the transition from dusk to darkness, you can orient yourself and rely more on natural light to see the underwater world around you.

Jarring can damage underwater lights. So when you leave the dive boat, ask someone to hand the strobe light down to you.

Make sure you strap your scuba light to your wrist. The last thing you want to do is drop it. Dive lights sink and in the panic of the moment you are unlikely to find them. Of course, you will be carrying a backup light, but just use that to navigate your way back to the boat.

Understand that it is easier to get disoriented during a night dive. You may not realize how quickly you descended or how far you have drifted from the dive party. Stay close to your buddy and do not attempt deep-water dives at night.

Try switching off your light to gauge the ambient light around you. The stars and moonlight may provide enough glow to illuminate the underwater theater of fish and sealife.

What are the different kinds of dive lights on the market?

Variety of Scuba Lights Illuminate Your Dive Trips

There are a variety of lights for illuminating dives, and they serve a lot of different purposes. Consider the dive light's shape and size as well as its switches and grip. Bulb types include xenon, argon, krypton, HID and LED.

Look for popular name brands like Pelican, Nemo and Princeton, which have a reputation for quality and reliability in diving lights.

Here are several kinds of dive lights you may want to add to your shopping or wish list:

  • Compact rechargeable diving torch with a xenon bulb and an hour of burn time.
  • Pen lights that take AAA batteries and work well for finding stuff in your dive bag.
  • Strobe lights that use HID technology and beam a bright, white light.
  • Dual lamp light that is compact, serving as your primary or backup light.
  • Non-breakable six-watt LED lights.
  • Strobe lights that take C batteries and have burn times of 3, 4 and 5 hours.
  • Strobe lights submersible to 500 feet.
  • Personal locator lights.


Backup Lights, Air Management Make Cave Diving Safer

Cave divers carry three lights -- a primary dive light and two backup scuba lights. If one underwater light fails, the backup light is used to leave the cave, and the remainder of the expedition is immediately called off. When shopping for dive lights, check the burn time, beam width, bulb and depth rating. There are many variations of lights to choose from, depending on your diving needs.

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Joe Wallace