A Newbie’s Guide to Night Diving
Nothing excites some divers more than donning a lantern and diving into the night to observe what aquatic life may emerge to play. While night diving can be a little unsettling for some people.
We'll explain why you should go, who can go, what equipment you'll need, and some advice to make sure your night dives are safe and fun for those of you who are new to night diving and may be a bit nervous.
Why go night diving?
Since the marine life awakens and emerges to feed at night, diving can be rather stunning. You won't know where to look because everything is a lot more busy because it is feeding time! And if you're very lucky, you could even get to see some marine life that glows at night because it is bioluminescent.
Who can go night diving?
Any diver who has earned their open water certification or higher is qualified to dive at night. You can enroll in a night diving specialty course offered by PADI or SSI either alone or as part of your Advanced Open Water Certification. You will learn about marine life at night, how to enter, exit, and navigate through the water in the dark, as well as how to communicate and handle lights in low visibility, when you do the PADI specialty course, which consists of three night dives. As part of the Advanced Open Water Certification, the fundamentals of the specialty course are taught over the course of one dive if you don't want to commit to three-night dives (if you choose night diving as one of your specialties).
Although we advise taking the courses to boost your confidence, doing so is not necessary in order to participate in a night dive. If you choose not to take the course, you should go on your first night dive with a guide. They can ensure that you have the proper equipment, teach you the fundamentals, and assist you find your way back to the shore or dive boat. Additionally, you should feel at ease diving during the day before doing a night dive; if not, take a couple more daytime dives before going.
What gear do you need?
All of the equipment you use during the day, plus lights, will be used for a night dive.
Two lights, a primary light and a backup light, should be carried by all divers (in case the primary light fails). Investing in a tank or BCD LED water actuated light, which will make you visible from above and below, is another smart move.
Additionally, lights are required to illuminate the path to the beach or to be installed aboard the boat so you can see your way home after you surface. If you travel with a diving guide, they will ensure that the appropriate lights have been purchased.
10 Tips for night diving
I hope these top ten suggestions will help you unwind and enjoy your dive as much as I do when I go night diving:
- Go diving with a guide. They will make sure that the appropriate equipment is prepared for the night dive in addition to the fact that they are familiar with the location and can guide the way. For instance, the dive boat's strobe lighting.
- Before entering the water, make sure your torch's batteries are in good condition. To prevent losing your lights, attach them to your BCD.
- Before you enter the water, turn on your light. Compared to having to adjust it underwater, it is simpler.
- Try diving at sunset and moving gently into low light as opposed to diving into the sea in the dead of night. It's lot less frightful now.
- The descent line is there for a reason; use it. Using it and taking your time are both acceptable.
- If you begin to feel anxious when diving, stop immediately, calm down, and slow your breathing.
- Dive calm, shallow areas that, ideally, you have already explored throughout the day.
- You might find it easy to become distracted at night because there is so much aquatic life there. Keep a close eye on your air intake and depth with extra diligence.
- Make sure to highlight your hands with your light when signaling underwater. Move the light in a circular pattern so that someone may see it, but never directly in their eyes, to draw their attention. The same principle applies to aquatic life—avoid shining a light directly into their eyes.
- As sight is poor at night and it is simple to lose your group, be close to your companion. As usual, spend one minute underwater scanning the area. You can continue the dive if you find your companion and they are fine. Nevertheless, if you have looked for your friend for one minute and have not found them, carefully and safely start to rise and do your safety stop before surfacing. But watch out for becoming too close to your friend. Just ask Dean, my husband. I was unaware of how near I was to him during one of our recent night dives, and as I was ascending, I unintentionally kicked the regulator out of his mouth.
Don't worry if you're feeling anxious about your first night dive; you're not alone. For my first night dive, I was quite frightened. I didn't like wading into the gloomy water, and I didn't want to be too far from anyone in case I got lost. The abundance of marine life I observed after I managed my breathing had me spellbound, and before I knew it, the dive was done. I actually felt more confidence in my diving skills after completing a night dive (and surviving without incident). And maybe applying the advice we've provided above will help you become a more adept night diver.
About the Author
Amanda and her husband Dean have been certified divers since 2009. Amanda has her advanced open water and Dean is a divemaster. They have travelled the world and dived many sites in Australia, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.
Amanda and Dean have a travel blog called Scatabout which details the fun and unique experiences they have had on their world travels. You can find them doing something adventurous like scuba diving, hiking or something strange like running down the side of a building.
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