Night Dive: Rules, Recommendations and Fun Facts

Night Dive: Rules, Recommendations and Fun Facts
Paul Cowell

If you feel that scuba diving is a thrilling exercise, try night diving.

It is quite an interesting and mysterious experience. Once you descend into the water at night and discover a whole new world, you will definitely want more.

Surprises or Fun Facts

Night dives are always full of surprises. Let’s look at a few of them. Diving at night at a location which is very familiar to you will present you with a completely new experience. Night diving definitely changes the way we see marine life.  At night the marine world appears to be more beautiful, colorful and mysterious. The experience and calmness of night diving cannot be compared with any other form of scuba diving. It is completely different. Dive slowly at night and you will find it exciting and relaxing at the same time. Many of the reef animals sleep during the day and only come out at night. Here’s The Top 5 Must-See Coral Reefs. For example, wide ranges of fish can be seen sleeping in small holes. Likewise, many different shrimp, lobsters and crabs show up at night. You can also be so lucky as to see sharks passing by at the end of your light. Thus, there is indeed a chance to discover new and exciting marine animals while diving at night.

Night time transforms the marine life into a colorful and mysterious world
Night time transforms the marine life into a colorful and mysterious world
Photo by: littlesam

Bioluminescence is something you have to experience during a night dive. There are tiny plankton type organisms underwater that give off a bioluminescence at night when set in motion. Here’s an interesting article about Fluorescence Night Diving. To see it, try to minimize the effect of your flashlight and move your arms around in the water. This will make the plankton light up like tiny flashes all around you. This can only be seen in darkness so you will need to cover your flash light. It is not recommended that you turn it off, simply cover it against your stomach or hand.

If you are lucky, you can swim with the sharks during a night dive
If you are lucky, you can swim with the sharks during a night dive
Photo by: Greg Amptman

Rules and Recommendations on Night Diving

Planning should be done carefully for night diving. There are a number of factors to be considered before you go underwater in the dark. Here’s Night Diving 101: Get started Scuba Diving at Night. When choosing where to do a night dive, it is a good idea to pick a known site. It will be easier for you to navigate around at a dive you are familiar with from a previous day dive. You will also be able to see the massive changes that happen when the underwater world goes from day to night. When choosing a dive spot keep in mind that you do not want anything uncontrolled happening at a night dive. Therefore, pick a dive spot with as little current as possible, and no surf or other obstacles that can interrupt the dive. You also need to make sure that the spot you choose is easily accessed when it is dark. Easy entry and exit is important, especially if you need to carry your dive equipment.

Equipment for Night Diving

It is important that you set up all of your dive equipment during the day or in sufficient light prior to the night dive. This will ensure that all of your equipment is set up properly, and that you will not forget anything. You need to use a dive torch with strong power and long battery life. When choosing a dive light you should consider the beam width, burn time and the depth rating. Here are 5 Pieces of Equipment to Improve your Safety while Diving. Always keep a spare flashlight in case your primary light runs out of batteries or stops working. A small flashlight can be stored in the BCD pocket. It is also a good idea to have a chemical light stick or a battery powered marker, which can be attached to your BCD or tank, for easy recognition. The light can also be attached to the boat, anchor line or buoy so you can find your way around. Use familiar equipment that you have tried during a day dive. Do not go on a night dive with brand new equipment that you do not know how to use.

It is advisable to use familiar equipment that you have already tried during a day dive
It is advisable to use familiar equipment that you have already tried during a day dive
Photo by: Jed Brown

Get a Buddy for you Night Dive

Getting a buddy for a night dive is a must. It gives you great mental support. Keep in mind, however, that you and your buddy need to keep an extra eye out for one another. It is easy to get lost at night. You can also use a short buddy line to minimize the risk of being separated. Be careful where you point your light. It is a good idea is to keep your light facing down toward the bottom so as to prevent shining it in other divers’ eyes.


It is a good idea to go diving at twilight, this will make it easier for you to adjust to the darkness gradually. Another adventurous option is diving down just before dawn. It is unbelievable to watch the beauty of marine life when they awaken. Plan for a shorter dive, compared to daytime diving, for safety reasons.

You can watch marine life awaken if go on a night dive just before dawn – Stubblefield
You can watch marine life awaken if go on a night dive just before dawn – Stubblefield

Signals on Night Dives

Learning to use light signals is crucial for a night dive. For example, moving the light up and down is for attracting a buddy’s attention. Waving from side to side indicates that something is wrong. Waving the light in a circle shows that everything is fine. Making a signal while holding the light toward your hand helps other divers to see it better. Here’s more about Underwater Communication – A Guide to Hand Signals.

Before You Go Night Diving

The first time for night diving should always be with an instructor. Depending upon the training agency, it can be done through different courses. Once you have had that experience with the instructor, you can make plans to go on a night dive with your buddy or on a holiday night dive with a dive center.

Go For IT

Night diving can be a breathtaking and fascinating act. So what is stopping you? Go on and try this adventure to get a new feel for scuba diving all over again. Even if you are not new to night diving, there is always more to discover. Every time we dive underwater at night, we can find something new to explore.


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