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7 Helpful Tips to Improve Your Night Dives
Have you ever wondered what a coral reef looks like against a dark backdrop, or been curious about the underwater creatures you could explore after dark? Night diving is an exhilarating way to experience the world beneath the surface.
It’s not uncommon to be intimidated by the thought of diving into the dark ocean, but if given the chance, night diving is often one of the most peaceful and beautiful experiences a diver can have. If you’re looking to book a night dive, these 7 tips can help make sure you’re adventure is safe and enjoyable:
1. Dive in a familiar spot
If you’re night diving for the first time, pick a location you’ve been to before, or dive there during the day beforehand. This helps ensure you won’t run into too many unexpected surprises after dark. It also keeps you from getting lost.
2. Go at sunset
To be extra safe, make your way out when there’s still a little bit of sunlight left in the day. This can be helpful when you’re trying to get your equipment set up, as well as help you get a feel for your location before you take the plunge. Even if you start just before sunset, you’ll still have plenty of time to dive in the dark.
3. Get the right gear
There is a wide variety of scuba gear on the market. While certain scuba accessories are considered optional during the day, you’ll need to buy some equipment specific to night dive conditions. Reflective tape and dive lights, for instance, are necessary for a safe night dive. You use them to let others know where you are and to explore. If you feel comfortable, try turning off your light temporarily and let your eyes adjust to the dark. You may be surprised how well you can see underwater.
4. Always bring a buddy
Everything looks different at night and it can be easy to get lost. Make sure you have at least one other person with you while night diving. If you got caught in an emergency situation, you wouldn’t want to be stuck alone in the dark. If you lose track of your diving buddy, look for the glow of their light by turning off your own, or catch them in your beam by making a full rotation with your dive light pointed outward.
5. Keep an eye on your gauges
When you’re diving in dark water, you may go too deep or stay underwater too long without even noticing. Your gauges or dive computer will be the key to watching your depth, timing and oxygen supply when you’re on a night dive. Check them often to make sure you’re still at a safe depth and have plenty of air.
6. Be aware
You can never be too safe when diving at night, and first-time night divers tend to focus only on what their light can illuminate directly in front of them. Be aware of what’s going on around you by making intentional 360 degree turns every so often. Also, make sure you know all the major diving hand signals, and note the enter and exit points of your dive.
7. Take your time
Finally, take your time while you’re diving in the dark. This is to ensure that you’re being safe, but also to enhance your experience. The ocean is a completely different world at night, with a lot to see and explore. Take advantage of the time you have to discover caves, vibrant coral reefs, sunken ships and marine life you wouldn’t otherwise see during the day.
If you feel nervous to dive in the dark but still want to give night diving a try, talk to your local surf shop or scuba instructor for more insight. With their help and these tips, you’ll be able to explore a whole new world and savor every moment of your night dive.