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If you have not yet experienced theocean at night, we highly recommend it. You can see creatures and behaviors not normally seen during the day. The whole experience is fantastic. There are some special considerations for diving at night, including equipment selection, buddy proximity, and navigation techniques. However, everyone can enjoy these special dives with a little attention to proper preparation.
If you have not yet experienced theocean at night, we highly recommend it. You can see creatures and behaviors not normally seen during the day. The whole experience is fantastic. There are some special considerations for diving at night, including equipment selection, buddy proximity, and navigation techniques. However, everyone can enjoy these special dives with a little attention to proper preparation.Firstt, have a tank light. That’s a light you attach to your tank to make yourself more visible. These can be any color. Some flash, some look like luminous pencils. Anything will work, but it needs to be battery powered. Those sticks are an absolute terror on the environment above and below water. In addition, you need to have at least two dive lights with you. Have two good lights, and check the power level of each before the dive. Debbie and I make certain to each have two functioning and well-charged lights on every night dive, and even that precaution is no guarantee. On a night dive off of Statia a few years back we entered with two lights apiece. We checked them all, they had new batteries. Within ten minutes, for whatever reason, we were down to one. Redundancy is key. So is having quality equip. Be aware of other divers and control the beam of your dive lights. Don’t shine your light in other people’s eyes. Work out signals with your light- circle it for “ok”, side to side for distress, and other signals. But keep the light beams out or other people’s field of vision.
On every night dive ( in fact on every dive) you should have a compass, know how to use it, and use it. Let’s face it, in good visibility with plenty of light, navigation is usually not an issue. At night it is always an issue. Knowing where you are is important to your safety and is a courtesy to those who will have to come and find you in the dark if you get lost. If you and your buddy are not comfortable on your own on a night dive, then join up with someone with more experience and better skills, and stay very close to them. Many resorts offer guided night dives for those new to this kind of diving. If you are in a group, stay with the group and close to the group. Always. If there is a designated leader, and there should be, follow the leader. Buddy proximity and group proximity are very important on night dives. Don’t wander off.
Night diving from shore suggests using either a shore party with a signaling device for indicating your point of entry or exit, or if everyone on the outing in getting in the water, placement of a distinctive light or beacon to reference as point of entry and exit. When diving from a boat, suspension of a strobe of other light fulfills the same function. In fact, I have been on night dives in which a sequence of lights or beacons have been placed to mark the “trail home,” though that is a bit unusual.
Remember your dive flag when diving at night, and illuminate it with a small light. Daytime diving and safety rules apply at night, including dive flag rules.
Let people who are not on your dive know where you are diving, when you are diving, and when you will be back. This is an important rule for all dives, but especially important for night dives. If you are diving from shore, make sure someone knows where you are going, when you are diving, and when you expect to be back. The same thing holds true if you are diving from a live aboard or private boat. Check out properly. Tell people when you leave and tell them when you get back. Most people are pretty good about the first part of the rule, but don’t always remember to report back when the dive is done. Be sure after you return from your night dive that you tell people you are back. Tell all the people you told about the dive before it began. Those people who took the time to note your absence are entitled to know when they are off duty. It is not fair for them to be searching frantically for you only to find that you are snug in your boat cabin or decided to stop off on the way home for a drink or snack.
If you get the chance, try diving at night. If you want a little more training before trying it, consider a night dive specialty class through your local dive center. But don’t be afraid of the dark- there is a whole new world of wonder in the sea after the sun goes down.