Leading a Night Dive

A major responsibility goes to the leader or person that is leading the night dive. Due to the darkness, navigational skills must be at 100% and the use of a compass must be mandatory regardless of the experience. Compasses are important because your visibility narrows to what you see thanks to the flashlight. In some cases at night, divers can swim in circles or take longer than normal to find a point of reference underwater. To begin, you should never make a night dive at a location where you have not been diving before during the daytime.

The leader and assistant must always have extra flashlights during the dive. If by any chance the leader runs out of extra flashlights, the leader must decide to end the dive before there is another flashlight failure.

During a night dive, assisting another diver that has difficulties with his equipment (tank, regulator, weight belt or flashlight) underwater can be of concern. You probably will need both hands and your flashlight will be in your way. At the moment that you engage to fix the problem, you will lose all references that you had (point of reference, buoyancy reference), and will have to star from zero after the problem is fixed.

The leader of the group must know that the group is together. He only has the light of each diver as a reference to know that no one is missing. So, it is important to keep your diving flashlight on at all times and only switch it off when asked by the group leader.

Special guidelines for night diving.

* Night dives have to be done safely, they must be properly organized.

* Night dives must be done at limited depth or shallow waters (less than 20 meters/ 66 feet).

* The descending area must have a rope or be less than 10 meters/ 33 feet.

* Dive location must be protected from boats. Or use special buoy at the surface.

* When planning a night dive the visibility of the dive location must be at it’s best.

* Never make a night dive at a location where you have not been diving before during the daytime.

* It is very important that everybody participates in the dive briefing and understands diving signals.

* All divers must respect the dive plan.

* Always dive with a partner or assigned dive buddy.

* Avoid shining your light in other divers’ eyes.

* Keep your diving flashlight on at all times and only switch it off when asked by the group leader.

* The use of a compass must be mandatory regardless of the experience.

* Always bring backup flashlight.

* Always keep visual track of your buddy by watching for his light beam.

* Keep constant communication between you and your diving partner.

* When using a boat: boat driver must have knowledge of the dive plan, dive signals and must have a flashlight for signaling.

* Avoid diving inside caves or