What to look for in diving lights
A diving light is one of those can’t-do-without items that divers should always add to their equipment list. It is essential as the only light source during night dives and as a way to illuminate the dark spaces in crevices and shipwrecks during daylight dives. Diving lights commonly come in two styles: flashlights and canister lights. Each one offers its own unique features. Which one is better? It all depends on what kind of diving you plan on doing.
Flashlights come in a number of different styles and sizes. Smaller flashlights are useful for illuminating nooks and crannies during daylight dives, or can serve as a backup light for nighttime dives. Larger flashlights are commonly used as the main light source during night dives. Flashlight designs range from the same style of flashlight shape found in the glove compartment of your car to a pistol light. This style has a handle that is held like a pistol and a larger, rectangular design with a larger light surface that gives off a wider beam.
Canister lights are often used when diving in confined areas, such as wrecks or caves. They use a light connected by a power cord to a battery pack attached to the diver’s waist. Canister lights offer a few advantages over flashlights. They tend to have a longer battery life. And since the battery pack isn’t attached to the light source, they give divers more freedom. Many canister lights include a Goodman handle that allows divers to fasten the light to the back of their hands, freeing both hands.
Whether you opt for a flashlight or a canister design, there are some basics that are vital before using diving lights. Perhaps most importantly, use lights that are specifically made for diving. They need to be both waterproof and pressure proof. Some lights not designed for diving may be water tight, but diving lights also need to withstand the water pressure that increases the deeper you go.
Use the right tool for the job, or in this case, the right light. Smaller flashlights are less cumbersome and are great for illuminating small areas. But nighttime dives require a larger light source. Also consider the type of bulb when buying a light. The newest innovations andmdash; like HID and LED lights andmdash; cost a bit more, but they also last longer and give off more light while using less battery life. The bottom line is, you get what you pay for.
Finally, always know your equipment and check it before you go diving. Make sure everything is in good working order. Once you’re underwater, it’s too late to read an instruction manual or to find out the rechargeable batteries in your light aren’t recharged. A little common sense can save a lot of trouble.