Night diving, everything you need to know. A practical guide.

Night diving has a completely different character than day diving. Night diving has a taste of mystery and anxiety. Lets get to know the night life of the reservoir, often much richer than during the day. Often, night dives are much more attractive than those in the light of day.

At night, we only see what we light with a flashlight, the field of view narrows and we see a lot more details, the night world is beautiful, its mystery is compelling.

Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to be in the forest after dark knows that the forest never sleeps. Sunset, which ends the period of activity of some animals, is for many others a signal to its beginning.

The roaring of an owl, the crack of broken branches under the paws of hunting predators, or accompanying, especially summer nights, concerts of crickets. It is no different underwater and although many may be surprised, it is night dives are among the most interesting.

Night diving is by definition a dive between sunset and sunrise. However, if we really want to see how the world changes under water, let’s wait at least 2 hours after sunset.

Where can you dive at night?

The rule is that we do night dives in places we already know and mark the entry point with light visible from under the water. A different type of lighting makes the place change beyond recognition, which on the one hand can be a certain inconvenience, but on the other it is a great variety.

It is often hard to believe that we are in a place that we know so well, because everything seems new and completely different. Of course, not every place guarantees equally interesting impressions. Many of them, especially at sea, are only accessible from a dive boat, and their location is known only to guides.

Night diving – everything you need to know

Therefore, usually such night escapades are additional services provided by diving bases. However, it is not worth giving up on them, because often it is night diving that can remain the one we will remember the most after returning from departure.

The most important rule of night diving

One of the most important things when performing all types of dives is to plan and prepare them properly. In the case of night dives, we must take into account several additional elements. First of all, the darkness both on the surface and under water will hinder orientation, and folding and unfolding the equipment may be very inconvenient.

Therefore, it is necessary to use the appropriate underwater flashlights, and on the surface good lighting of the place where you mount the equipment will be useful. The most important rule related to night diving – satisfaction with night diving, increases in direct proportion to the amount of light you have.

Try to explore the forest at night, using only candles to light, and then do it with a good flashlight. You will see that the difference is fundamental. The same will be underwater, good light is the basis for a successful dive.

What does good light mean?

In my opinion, the pleasure of diving begins when we have at least 20W in halogen light. If our light is LEDs, the real power of the flashlight should be multiplied by 3-4 times to convert it to the power of a halogen flashlight.

If we have a 3W LED flashlight, we multiply it by 4 times and get 12W – it’s comparable power to a 12W halogen flashlight. We can compare the power of a HID torch with a halogen lamp using a 4 converter.

Currently, you can buy LED and HID flashlights with a power exceeding 50W, but their disadvantage is a significant price.

Required amount of lighting during a night dive

Night diving requires the use of additional lighting. Divers commonly use halogen, LED or HID torches. Currently, LED flashlights are most commonly used because of the price / quality ratio.

You should have with you during the night dive:

The main light – should provide adequate lighting power and adequate lighting time. Appropriate power is a light bulb at least 5W, of course it is much brighter when we have 10, 20, 35, 50 or 100W. The main light should operate continuously throughout the entire dive. The flashlight must operate throughout the entire dive, so if you plan to dive longer, we must have a sufficiently durable flashlight. The flashlight can be powered by batteries or accumulators.

Night diving - everything you need to know
Night diving – everything you need to know

Spare light – may have much lower parameters compared to the main light, its task is to enable safe ascent in the event of a failure of the main light. The spare light source should not be too big, it is good if it fits easily in a BCD pocket.

Permanent backlight – is an additional light source that is turned on throughout the dive and allows you to determine the position of each diver. This is a great way to increase safety during night dives. There are many solutions on the market, and the most popular are special lamps or chemical lights.

How do you use the flashlight during night dives?

Of course, the flashlight is used to shine, but during the dive it also has several other functions. The diving flashlight has several uses:

  • ambient lighting – and here one simple rule applies – the more light, the cooler the dive. Let’s make sure that the main light has the right power.
  • reading the indications of measuring instruments,
  • communication with a partner – light communication,
  • indicate underwater and surface locations.

It is very important to use the flashlight correctly.

  • Shine a flashlight in front of you and don’t wave nervously in all directions.
  • if we illuminate a partner, it should be lit up to the height of the chest, never in the eyes. Lighting above the chest causes dazzling of the partner.
  • if we show diving signs, we illuminate the hand so that it is visible to the partner

Dive signs at night

During night dives, we can use the usual dive signs, but of course we must illuminate them with a flashlight. The lighting method is very important. You can’t dazzle your partner, that’s why we’re pointing the flashlight towards you. The characters displayed must be legible to our partner, not to us.

Planning a night dive.

Night dives should be carefully planned. Very good if we know the place where we will dive. That’s why it’s best to get to know this place during a day dive before you decide to dive there at night.

It is best to arrive at the dive site before dusk, prepare and assemble the equipment before darkness falls, it will be much easier. Adequate light should be provided if the equipment is installed at night.

Night diving technique

In night diving, many techniques are identical to any other dive. We can enter the water from the shore or from a boat. If you are diving from a boat, be sure to provide good lighting inside the boat.

Night diving - everything you need to know
Night diving – everything you need to know

If you dive from the shore, the area where you prepare your equipment must also be well lit. Additional lighting will allow you to efficiently assemble diving equipment.

Each dive should be preceded by check-in. You and your partner must discuss the exact dive plan and all procedures that you will follow.

You must remember about:

  • checking partner’s equipment (security check)
  • checking buoyancy and the correct amount of ballast
  • remember to attach the lighting securely

Instrument lighting

Diving requires constant monitoring of dive time and depth. The dive computer or depth gauge and watch are perfect for this, but at night we need light to read information from these instruments.

The dive computer may not have backlight, it may have a fluorescent shield or it may have its own backlight. Make sure your equipment works before diving at night.

Navigation during night dive

At night we mainly use natural navigation, so it’s good to dive in a place you know. We can be very surprised how much it changed after dark.

Emergency procedures during night dive

Emergency procedures are essentially no different from daytime dives. The only difference is the use of light.

Losing a partner – look around for the light from your partner’s flashlight. If you don’t see the light, cover your flashlight with your hand, it will help you find the light from your partner’s flashlight. Remember not to extinguish your flashlight, but only cover it with your hand. If you still can’t find your partner, then ascend to the surface and follow the established procedures.

Main flashlight failure – these situations can happen and that’s why you have a spare flashlight. After your main light source fails, turn on the spare flashlight and signal to your partner that it’s time to finish the dive. Remember that the spare light source is only for ascent. Do not continue diving.

Backup flashlight failure – when the backup flashlight goes off, you should maintain physical contact with your partner. Hold hands or equipment. Finish your diving together.

Lack of air – we proceed in the same way as during the daytime, only we must additionally illuminate the partner’s chest.

Night diving – what to avoid?

When diving at night, avoid diving in the depths, it is easy then to lose orientation. Immerse while maintaining visual contact with the bottom or descent rope. Entering a wreck or a cave at night is also a bad idea. Holes that are clearly visible during the day can be difficult to find at night.

Night life under water

Many sea creatures lead a night life and you can only see them at night. Many of these species go hunting and night diving is a great opportunity to see these animals with their own eyes.

Night diving – summary

Hot water and the holiday period are conducive to organizing night dives. No wonder, the atmosphere during such a dive is very intimate and pleasant, especially if after all we plan a bonfire or a meeting with friends. In the evening, the water is usually warmer than the air, which means that you do not want to leave it.

The unforgettable impressions are provided by the extinction of the flashlights and – after getting used to the darkness – a look at the starry sky from under the surface of the water. Pictures from such diving remain in the memory for a long time.


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