Night Diver

Wow. Talk about dropping the ball! It’s been a roller coaster of a week, and another shooting competition has come up for this weekend. I can’t blame the crown for wanting to pay me to shoot though, so it’ll be another weird weekend and late post for this week as I think this is technically last week’s post. Back on topic though!

Night diving is one of the more interesting and rewarding dive experiences you can have as a recreational diver. All the weird stuff comes out by night, and the regular fish go to sleep, bioluminescence trails you as you glide through the water; and depending on depth, weather and vis, your light and what it’s pointed at might be the only things you can see! Suffice to say, it can be a pretty amazing experience. This is a short post on how to do it safely and what you need to do to make it a safe dive!

First up, get the training for it or at least ensure your dive buddy has night diving experience, if not the actual specialty. On a night dive, the conventions of buddy diving that we take for granted in daylight diving environments. This is a short equipment list to consider before plunging in on a night dive:

  • a primary dive light (UK eLED C4 or larger style light)
  • a secondary dive light (UK Mini Q40 eLED Plus style light)
  • a “tank banger”
  • a tank mounted cyalume chemlight or battery powered tank light
  • a surface signal device (orange sausage types are best, as you can illuminate it by placing your light under it on the surface)
  • a compass
  • a computer with an illumination feature

Now, before you dive the site by night, do several (at least two) recce dives there during the day if at all possible. This is less important if you’re on a guided dive, but vital when you’re going out on your own with a buddy to explore. Get a lay of the “land”. Get to know prominent features and shoot some bearings with your compass and note them down. Another good idea is to consult tidal charts and locals about the conditions there; as some areas are great on slack tides, but can turn into flumes during flood or ebb tides. Once you have a good feel for the site, plan your dive.

Once you’re there, remember maintaining communications with your buddy is the real key here. If you’re taking down a photography nut, be ready for a slow moving dive. If you want to turn off your light to see the bioluminescence, let them know! Aside from that, a night dive differs little from a regular dive, save that it’s more limited vis and you are more dependent on navigation skills than usual. PRactice your navigation by compass before you hit the water!

Well, that’s it for this entry, it’s a bit short, but next week will be better!

About the author

Graeme is a professional diver, qualified as a PADI and SDI Divemaster, DCBC 40m Unrestricted Commercial Scuba Diver, 30m Restricted Surface Supply diver, and CAUS Scientific Diver Lv.2. Graeme has an Associate Degree of Arts in Environmental Studies, where he focused on archaeology and physical geography, and an Advanced GIS certificate.