BRING IT ON – LET THERE BE LIGHT

SEEING IN THE UNDERWATER WORLD – DIVE LIGHTS

New Diver? Experienced Diver? Never needed or used a dive light before?

Let’s look into dive lights and their uses. Most new divers see other divers carrying a light on day dives, wondering why? In the tropical ocean and even in the colder Canadian oceans it makes sense to carry a light on a day dive to see the colors. However there is more to having a dive light or two on a dive. Dive lights can be used for day and night dives and they can also be sued to supplement lighting for your video or still cameras.

Using a dive light on a day dive provides many advantages. You can use the light to see the actual colours at depth, and yes, there are colours in Saskatchewan Lakes. Dive lights also help when exploring under objects such as rocks, trees and dive site training areas. Communication is also another use for a dive light as you can get your buddies attention and can signal “OK” etc. On dives where the sunlight is not as good you can also charge your depth, pressure and compass gauges so the “glow” feature is enhanced.

On night dives the dive light performs the same functions as on a day dive and more. During a night dive almost all of our communication is completed with the use of a dive light whether it is by moving the light in a certain way (circular motion for OK) or move your light beam across where your buddy is shinning their beam to get their attention. Remember you are always looking/focusing on where your light is shinning. SO if you shine your light at your dive buddies body they wont see it. One important piece of light etiquette on a night dive is to not shine your light in your buddies eyes. This is not only uncomfortable but it takes their night vision away.

Lets look at the lights themselves. What  you would use as a man light in the clear waters of the tropics would be used here as a backup light. I have never heard anyone complain about not having a dive light that is too bright. With the advent of LED, dive lights have become smaller, brighter, and more efficient. For example, my first main dive light was made by Dacor UL750, and it had a utility light, a car-type sealed beam headlight bulb. It had a rechargeable battery the same size as a pound of butter and lasted only two hours. We thought it was bright. Today, everything is smaller and brighter; for example, the Sea Life – Sea Dragon Mini 900 has more lumen s than the large Dacor light and lasts up to 8 hours. The Sea Life – Sea Dragon Mini 1300 can be the main light here in Saskatchewan. However, you can always go brighter. For example, you can combine the Sea Life – Sea Dragon 3000F (3000 Lumen s) video light with your Go-pro or one of the Sea Life Camera options. Using your camera video light works great as your main dive light.

When looking at dive lights, compare Lumen’s, and Beam Angle (a wider beam is good for low visibility conditions and video/pictures). Don’t forget to look at the depth rating; a rule of thumb is to have your equipment rated twice the depth you are taking it to. This is because if the light is rated for 200 feet and you take it on a dive to 60 feet, then you mistakenly bang it against something (apply pressure/stress), it is less likely to fail (i.e., leak).

As with all your dive gear take care of your dive light.

  • Keep the batteries fresh and remove when not in use.
  • Keep the o’rings clean and lubricated
  • Don’t forget to keep the o’ring matting surfaces clean as well
  • When in salt water wash thoroughly in fresh water to prevent corrosion.

As with everything, there is a cost; always go with your budget. However, also look at value: can the light expand with you? Can the light be used for other purposes? Etc. The Advanced Open Water Diver course is a great way to experience different types of dives where dive lights are used.

Let us know if you have any questions or would like to talk about options.

Get in touch with us at www.edsscuba.com

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