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Scuba Diving at Night

Submitted by admin on 2009-02-25 | Last Modified on 2009-02-26

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The idea may seem to initially defeat the purpose of diving but undersea creatures have different habits at night and unimaginable experiences await to reveal a virtually new dive site to one you thought you knew.

Night diving is much like any addictive venture that precedes itself with a bit of trepidation. The early reticence will quickly be replaced by the feeling of wondering why you were anxious in the first place and once will never be enough.

The ability to explore the ocean at night as well as in the daytime with the equipment at your disposal makes for an irresistible experience. Lobsters and catfish are great examples of aquatic life that are nocturnal. Entire coral reefs change in their appearance as their inhabitants open to feed at night.

A daytime site that has lost its magic will be revived if visited at night, a great excuse to return to a familiar spot. Not to mention you get to do what you love, even if your daytime schedule doesn't allow for indulging in the passion of diving as often as you may wish.

Since the light is different colours retain their natural luminescence whereas in the daytime the filtering and absorption diffuses vibrance. Not to mention playing in the abundant phosphorus plankton like billions of tiny glow worms in the sea. Night lighting could not be more perfect for underwater photography capturing colour and nature rarely seen.

It's hard to compete with the thrill of combining wreck diving with night diving. Ensure your skills are honed to perfection as the added advantage of the natural light that may guide one out of a wreck falls away for the equation.


Aside your usual scuba diving day kit and the obvious torches, alternate air sources need to be brightly coloured and easily identifiable so your buddy's access remains easy. Compasses with illuminated markings and buoys and ascent/descent lines are recommended as well as whistles for communication.

Make sure you are well covered to avoid being harmed by anything you may not see and to avoid harming anything that cannot see you... and that you are well versed with your equipment. A night dive is not a good place to use new or unfamiliar gear.

Night diving stress

An environment like the ocean, already alien territory we are merely visiting can become psychologically daunting in the night time.

The general unfamiliarity, darkness and possible unpredictable encounters with things we don't know may result in a heightened arousal, in this case, stress.

Dealing with this is easy once you know what you are up against. It is always advisable to end a dive is an irresolvable problem arises, however if the dive is planned properly the rest should fall into place. Your training will assist in optimizing your experience without unnecessary interventions, the following are aspects you will prepare for:

There is a very specific reason for carrying back-up lights. In the event that yours goes out, signal and exit in accordance with your pre-dive discussion. Remember that when your emergency torch becomes your operative light - it's time to get another back-up.

Loosing your buddy may happen more easily than you think. This is where the planning comes in. Apart from the obvious concealing of your own torch to find the glow of your buddy's if you can't see their light, surfacing carefully and taking into consideration orienting yourself with the exit point are logical options, as long as they align with what you had planned. In the event of any disorientation follow bubbles to assist you in ascent timing.

Communication at Night

Common communication signals between divers at night include capturing your buddy's attention by slowly waving your torch up and down. A rapid side to side is indicative of an emergency. Convey hand signals without blinding your buddy.

Further technicalities such as navigation, ascents and descents will be studied in detail during official course qualification.


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