Beginner Night Scuba Diving Guide


Scuba diving in itself is great fun. You get closer to marine animals and appreciate the sights of the oceans and seas in a whole different light.

But if you thought that scuba diving during the day was fun, try diving when the sunsets. The oceans and seas take a whole new look that will leave you thrilled. And the idea of endless water all around you surrounded by complete darkness just adds to the experience

Make sure that your scuba gear package is stored safely in a dive bag before you take it out on your night diving. You will also need to have a dry suit on.

You are exposed to surprises even when night diving in places you are familiar with. You are going to view the marine world in a whole new way. The colors on the animals and the corals seem different, more stunning, and vibrant.

Then there is the stillness when night diving that has really no other comparison. Not only will you be captivated by the sights, but you will feel relaxed and calm as you explore this new underwater world. In fact, many reef animals come out during the night after spending the whole day hidden away in caves, holes, and crevices.

May fish will hide away during the day in small holes. Crabs, lobsters, and shrimp will also come out during the night. You might get a surprise visit from a shark as it glides nearby.

One of the most stunning works of nature is bioluminescence. This is where marine animals and plankton give off light. This can only be appreciated when it gets dark. To be able to see this type of natural light, you will need to bring down the light from your flashlight.

Then try and move your arms in the water and you will notice tiny flashes all around you caused by the plankton. However, make sure you don’t turn off your flashlight completely as this is not recommended. Instead, cover the light with your stomach or hand.

Rules for night diving

You should do proper planning when night scuba diving. There are some factors that you will need to consider.

The first thing that you want to ensure is that you choose a sight that you are familiar with. This will make it easier for you to navigate around it. You are also going to notice a huge difference from what you are used to during the day.

The last thing you want is any uncontrolled events happening in the dark. Check the current and pick a night scuba dive spot that has very little current. There should also be no surf to ensure that the dive is relaxed, successful, and uninterrupted. Also, the scuba BCD will play a huge role in ensuring that you gradually and easily transverse this watery world.

Another thing you should take note of is that your chosen dive spot should be easy to access in the dark. It’s important to easily get in and get out of the water.

Night diving equipment

Before you take the plunge in the night, make sure to inspect and set up all the gear that you are going to need. This should be done during the day or in a room with sufficient light. In this way, you are less likely to forget an important piece of gear when you get into the water.

One of the most important pieces of gear to have is a dive light. It should have a strong illumination and a long battery life. Check the depth rating, the beam, and the battery life of the dive torch when buying one.

It’s important to have an extra flashlight just in case the first one dies out. Also, a chemical light stick placed on the tanks can help others recognize you. You can attach this light to a boat or a buoy for easy navigation and find your way back.

It would help to mark your way home. If you are night diving from shore, you can leave a light on which will help guide you home when you resurface.

Avoid using new scuba gear packages on your night dive. Instead, use the equipment that you are used to having every day.

Night dive with a buddy

You should never go night scuba diving when you are alone.  Always have a dive buddy with you for mental support and you both need to watch each other’s back. After all, you can easily lose your way in the dark.

To ensure that both of you remain close to each other you can make use of a buddy line. If there are other divers around, always ensure that you use proper technique when shining your flashlight so as not to cast the beam in their eyes. Always shine the light facing the seafloor.

If on the odd chance you and your buddy get separated, the first thing you should do is to switch off your light. You should also be able to see the strobe light on their scuba tank. Brief each other on the best course of action if you two get separated.

One very effective method is to top point your flashlight at an angle away from you and then swim in a full circle. If both of you know to do this when you get separated, it’s going to be much easier to find each other again.

However, the rules are similar to any scuba dive. If you find that you still can’t find each other, you will have to abort the dive and head to the surface.

Pick the right time for night diving

The best time to go night diving is at twilight. It allows your eyes to gradually adjust to the dark. Another great time for night scuba diving is just before dawn as this is when some of the daytime marine life is waking up.

For understandable safety reasons, you should always dive for shorter durations during the night compared to during the day.

You need to know about scuba diving with sharks. If you spot sharks, chances are you will notice that they are behaving differently. This is due to the simple fact that sharks hunt at night which causes them to exhibit their predatory mode.

Do not worry, as long as you give the sharks a wide birth, you should be safe. They are usually not interested in divers and are actively hunting their usual prey.

Using signals

One of the most important parts of night diving is learning how to do light signals. If you want to get the attention of your dive buddy, you will need to move the light up and down.

If there is something wrong, then you can move the flashlight from side to side. Performing a circular motion with your flashlight shows that everything is okay.

Other than flashlight signals, you will benefit from carrying a sound signaling device. This can help alert the boat skipper to your situation.

Other factors to consider when night diving


Your first-night diving experience should be in the company of your dive instructor. The course where you will learn to dive will be in different sections depending on the training agency. After you’ve had your experience with your instructor you can take your dive buddy in your next night’s dive.

The great thing with night diving is that it offers a whole different kind of experience. If you have been night diving before, you know that there will always be something new to see.

Be careful when swimming near the coral

The coral reef is a vulnerable habitat. You should always take care so as not to cause any kind of harm to it. This is especially so during the night when it’s harder to see.

Look into the dark

While what’s immediately in front of you can be captivating when you are on a night dive, it’s always good to shine your light a distance away. You want to also see what’s away from you and what’s out in the deep blue.

The fact that you are in a different environment in complete darkness means that you are out of your element. You’d be surprised at what could be swimming around you with you having no clue. You don’t want to get the scare of your life when you shine your torch on a shark just feet away from you.

The dangers of night diving

One of the main hazards of night scuba diving is other boats. This is not something that you may need to worry about when diving from a dive boat but it’s important to be aware of this danger.

You are at greater risk when you ascend a distance from your dive boat. You need to be careful when there are other boats in the area. This is where your glow sticks, strobe lights, and flashlight will help you to get noticed.

If for example you dived from shore but came up quite a distance away, night diving back down if you notice boats in the area may not be the best move. If you do that then come back up again, you will be in the same situation. So instead you should aim to shine your lights so that boats in the area can see you.

Don’t shine the light into the animal’s eyes

As much as you should not shine a light on other divers’ faces and eyes, you should also avoid shining the light into the eyes of marine animals. Due to the darkness, their pupils will be dilated and sudden bright light can be very shocking to the eyes.

Part of diving is respecting the underwater world and the creatures that live in it. Instead, shine your flashlight to the side so as not to blind them and make their lives uncomfortable.

Often your flashlight will feature two settings. When watching marine life, chose the dimmer of the two settings.

If you find animals sleeping, let them enjoy their rest. By shining a dimmer light on their sides, you can still view them without causing any disturbance.

Swim slowly

You want to make the most of your night dive. By swimming slowly, not only are you going to feel more relaxed but you will also be able to enjoy fewer distractions. You are going to view more sights from the reef and spot fish hiding in the wrecks.

The scuba regulator will help you maintain buoyancy and control of your breathing.

What if you spot manta rays?

Part of having an enhanced night dive experience is making the most of your surroundings and enjoying spending time with marine animals. If you were to spot a group of manta rays for example, why not turn it into a breathtaking and awe-inspiring experience.

Diving with manta rays at night is not the same as diving with them during the day. If you are looking forward to swimming with manta rays at night, a guide should help you identify their feeding locations.

Often you will find other divers at these spots. Don’t get turned off by this as it often means that more manta rays will be there.

One of the most important pieces of gear that you will need is your underwater dive light. Before getting into the water, ensure that it is charged fully. This dive light should be held close to your face and should point up. This will draw in the plankton which in turn will draw in the manta rays who will come to feed on the plankton.

The whole experience will require you to sit on the ocean floor and watch as the manta rays filter feed the plankton. Often such dives will last for an hour.

An hour-long of exposure to the cold water can be risky so always have a dry suit on and some dive gloves. Sometimes you may need is a wetsuit.

Wreck night dive

Another unique experience for night-time divers is exploring wrecks. Part of the reason why this is so interesting is that these man-made structures blend perfectly with the sea and natural surroundings so much so that they seem part of it.

There are plenty of marine mammals that make the wrecks their home. It is beneficial to understand the layout of the wreck. This allows you to navigate the wreck properly.

Fluo diving

Another great way to enjoy the underwater world at night is through fluorescent diving. Here lights are used to illuminate the surroundings allowing you to some unique views

When using fluorescent lights, you get a feel of diving into space with the stars all around you. The fluo lights can either be blue lights or ultraviolet lights.

Don’t forget your dive compass

The diving compass is among the most important pieces of gear to take with you on your night diving. It helps you stay oriented. You can strap your compass on your BCD or wear it on your wrist. Some dive computers come integrated with a compass.

The dive compass you need for night scuba diving should come with extra features such as lighting up and light absorption for readability.

Have fun

Remember why you are night diving in the first place and do your best to have fun. The last thing you want is to spend time in the deep blue when you are panicky or worried. Being relaxed is a very effective way of ensuring that you have fun as you explore what lies in the watery darkness.

It is understandable to be a little worried and a little anxious at first but once you get over this initial fear you will be able to make memories and have experienced when the rest of the world is asleep.

If photography at night is what you intend to do, you will need underwater strobes for the best illumination.

Globo Surf Overview

Night diving lets you see the oceans, seas, and lakes in a completely new light. There is a whole new world that sets up when the sun goes down. Granted, diving during the day is great but if you want to have a complete view of your favorite dive spots, you will need to scuba dive when it gets dark.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!