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Night diving without a light?

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba Discussions' started by swimmer_spe, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. g1138

    g1138 Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Charleston, SC
    In a full moon, full water clarity, and shallow, yes it is very possible to have a visible safe dive. However as soon as you hit your light to charge your gauged to glow, your night vision is toast. So it doesn't make a ton of logistical sense to aim for that.
    There are also safety issues such as buddy awareness; you will not be able to see your buddy's eyes or tell tale panic signs even in full moon light underwater and clear silicone masks. So between safety and logistics, I do not recommend doing this.

    Even if you were to adjust to full night vision (which takes a very long time), moon light doesn't have enough intensity to add color, so you will still see dark silhouettes. The only difference is you'll see more definition between the silhouettes with better night vision VS worse night vision. Keep in mind this is all in very VERY shallow water w/ absolute clear clarity.

    Getting a very low lumen light would be the better alternative. But then again, you'd now have to wait for perfect conditions to utilize it as intended.
    You could zip tie a tiny glow stick to your gauges, but even a tiny necklace glow stick will corrupt your night vision.
    Our eyes easily adjust to light; much quicker than it adjusts back to dark.
  2. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    I always turn my light off for awhile, even if for no other reason than to get the blood worms to leave me be for a bit. (and as some of the previous posters have pointed out, there are a number of other good and cool reasons to turn your light off).
  3. clownfishsydney

    clownfishsydney Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Sydney Australia
    I have done two dives that were almost 100% in total darkness. The first was on the wreck of the Coral Queen in Madang, Papua New Guinea. These second was on the SS President Coolidge in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. These dives were done without the aid of a torch so that we could see the flashlight fish. Once they came out, it was easy to navigate and see other things as well. A quick flash of the torch on the gauges (careful that no light spilt out) and you could see your air and bottom time etc.

    On most dives I turn off my torch for a while, there is sometimes so much bioluminescence that it can be amazing.
  4. Scuba_Noob

    Scuba_Noob Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Victoria, BC
    Bring a light, turn it off if you want. Just as long as you have your primary light (and I'd recommend a backup light) in case of problems. Keep good track of your gauges and be extra cautious - especially make sure you have decent contact with your buddy.

    I wouldn't recommend it off for the entire dive, unless it's shallow with a strong moon.
  5. swimmer_spe

    swimmer_spe Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sudbury, Ontario
    So, from what I have been reading here, in ideal conditions, it might be worth it.

    If I ever do it, I would still have my dive light on me.
  6. DCBC

    DCBC Banned

    As to safety, this is dependent upon your training (and boat traffic). In the Navy, our training included shallow water night operations (without lights). I think that this was a leftover section of Diver training from WWII. At this time, an oxygen rebreather was used (greatly limiting depth) and mines were required to be attached to ships (or inserted in harbor channels and approaches). In practical terms, light doesn't usually present much of a detection problem below 20 feet (depending on water clarity and surface conditions of course).

    Before you try this, gain some additional diving experience; then I'd encourage you to do a navigation exercise in deep water during daylight. I'd pick a location free of current, with deep water (no navigation aids). While I had a Dive Shop/Charter operation in the Vancouver area, one location I liked was Chilliwack Lake. This location is exceptionally deep and drops down quickly (you can be in over 100 FFW, 30 feet from shore). Establish neutral buoyancy at say 20 FSW (and stay there) and shoot some transits (coming back to your starting location). Step 2 is doing the same exercise with a blacked-out face mask with a small opening that allows you to monitor your depth/direction (do this with a Buddy wearing a clear mask and equipped with a redundant air source). When you've got it down, try it at night (be sure to carry lights in case). Good luck and enjoy!

  7. Rhone Man

    Rhone Man Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: British Virgin Islands
    Reminds me of a story from a long time ago when I was a young Rhone Boy diving on the eponymous wreck of the RMS Rhone on a night dive. The instructor leading the dive told us that at an appropriate point we would all kneel down in a ring and turn our lights off so we could experience the moonlight underwater and see how our hands created phosphorescence moving through the water.

    All went well during the period of "light's out" until a 600 lb Goliath grouper which resided on the wreck in those days got curious and barged unannounced into the ring of divers from behind. You wouldn't think you would be able to hear someone scream through a regulator underwater, but you can!
    BenjaminF, swimmer_spe and DCBC like this.
  8. Diver0001

    Diver0001 Instructor, Scuba

    I've done a couple of night dives without lights (actually light turned off) under a full moon in Egypt. It's an interesting experience and I really enjoyed it. Around your area if you turn off the lights at night I suspect it would just be pitch black.

    ---------- Post added April 17th, 2013 at 04:04 PM ----------


  9. Herb-alaska

    Herb-alaska Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Alaska
    On any night dive you should have a primary and a secondary light but if you are going turn off your primary under water you definitely should have a secondary light as most failures happen during the on and off cycle. So you are actually increasing your risk of a primary light failure. I cover my light often but have had occasion that I turned it off. Each time I know where my secondary is and that I can get to it.
  10. paulw

    paulw Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Austin, Texas
    I did it almost every night in Bonaire. At first I was hiding my light because the tarpon would charge through hunting in the light so I was holding my light to my chest and noticed how well I could see, it was really enjoyable.

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