Night diving is one of the most magical experiences you can have as a diver. But diving in the dark does require a little extra preparation to stay safe. Here are five tips to get you ready.
1. Be Gear Savvy
Night dives include equipment you might not use during the day, such as underwater flashlights and tank strobes. Be sure to install the batteries, check the bulbs and familiarize yourself with how these items work beforehand so you’re not fumbling in the dark.
2. Give Yourself A Hand
Hand signals are hard to see at night, so night divers use their flashlights for modified signals. For example, wave the beam of your flashlight on the bottom in front of your buddy (never in the eyes) to get her attention.
3. Dive It During The Day
The best way to prepare for a night dive is to explore the site during the day beforehand. You’ll know the layout of the reef, your entry and exit points, and exactly which sections of the dive site you want to see.
4. Brush Up On Compass Skills
During the day, it’s easy to navigate by underwater landmarks in good visibility. At night, you’ll only see the patch of reef illuminated by your flashlight, so your compass is the most reliable way to get around.
5. Practice Going Slowly
Slower is always better underwater. You breathe less air and see more when you take your time. That goes double for night diving. Not to mention that getting lost or having to make a long surface swim can quickly turn from frustrating to dangerous in the dark.