Night Scuba Diving Guide

Last Updated: March 8, 2023

Have you ever been curious about scuba diving at night?

Night scuba diving is one of the most exhilarating types of diving, often only done by experienced divers. It can be intimidating to some because it causes anxiety. However, nighttime scuba diving can be a safe and fun experience with the right equipment.

This guide will give you insight into all equipment and gear necessary for completing a safe night dive.

Continue reading to learn all about night diving and how you can make the most of your dive.

What is Night Scuba Diving?

night scuba diving

Night scuba diving is when scuba divers actively dive at night. It can be intimidating because of how dark it gets, but it is ultimately an exhilarating experience for advanced divers. People like diving at night because of the unique fish and plant species. It also fosters a different venture for divers because of the distinct environment.

Night diving is an excellent experience for those looking to see nocturnal marine life, including various fish and plant species which often glow in the dark.

Types of Night Diving

There are several types of night diving. The kind of dive you go on depends on the time of day or location of the dive. There is an extreme difference between diving throughout the different times of day, including morning, afternoon, and evening. You must be extremely cautious when diving at night because it can be much more dangerous than during the day.

Dusk Diving

Dusk diving is when you dive right before or around sunset. People consider this one of the most relaxing times to dive because of the scenic views. Visibility in the water is moderate during dusk, meaning you can still see some fish and plant life underwater. However, light is still required as nocturnal fish begin to emerge from the darkness.

Cave Diving

Cave diving is considered a type of night diving because of how dark it becomes while underwater. You can go cave diving during the daytime, but the environment completely changes when you enter the cave because of the lack of sunlight. The water becomes black, and you cannot see in the darkness.

Deep Sea Diving

Deep sea diving can get extremely dark because there is no foliage and sand for the sunlight to reflect off. To deep sea dive, you must go further of the shore, typically using a boat. It is usually unsafe to do this without the guidance of a skilled professional and is ill-advised during the nighttime unless you have the proper safety equipment.

How do you Prepare for a Night Dive?

scuba divers at night

1. When getting ready for a night dive, try to choose a location you’ve already dived in during the day. This will not only make navigation easier, but also allow to see how familiar surroundings change in the dark.

2. Choose a spot with as little current as possible, and no obstacles that can interrupt the dive.

3. Gather the proper equipment like lighting and diving gear. Always have familiar equipment that you are comfortable using. Diving with brand new scuba equipment can be extremely risky because the likelihood of fatal errors increases in the dark.

4. Prepare yourself mentally before diving at night. It can be intimidating because of the overwhelming darkness and creates fear because of the unknown. Mental preparation can help alleviate any anxiety and panic surrounding night diving.

One of the best ways to destress includes using breathing techniques. Use deep breathing and mental visualizations to run safety scenarios through your head.

Night Diving Equipment

Invest in proper equipment to ensure you safely scuba dive at night. The most vital piece of equipment includes chemical light sticks and electronic diving flashlights. The larger the width of your flashlight beam, the more you will see underwater.

There are several different kinds of underwater lights, including dive lights, chemical light sticks, and flood lights. Each has a different purpose, making it essential to equip yourself with several types so you are prepared for any situation.

Dive Lights

Dive lights illuminate a precise location under the water. These are great for lighting concentrated areas during exploration. Any diver exploring underwater sights must bring a dive torch during their night dives. They are the best tool for clearly showing the area in front of you.

Chemical Light Sticks

Chemical light sticks are a backup form of lighting. They are similar to glow sticks, often used for tracking and identifying your location. Chemical sticks are excellent emergency lights because electricity does not power them. Some chemical light sticks will also float at the surface, making them great indicators for your exit.


Flood lights are another essential light for diving. The width of the light is significantly larger than the typical dive light, but despite the large beam width, it is much weaker. Floodlights are great because you can see all your surroundings which makes it easier to make right decisions, and that is especially critical when diving at night.

Exit Lights

Use a bright light to identify your exit. The exit light can be any type as long as you can see it clearly from beneath the water. You should put your exit light in a fixed location.

Many expert divers suggest using chemical light sticks because of their reliability. Secure them to the bottom of your boat for easy guidance back to the surface. Chemical lights are fantastic for signaling the surface because they are waterproof, withstand the elements, and are impenetrable. This means that they will not wear out no matter how long you are in underwater.

Diving Radars

Diving radars signal your location at night. These are especially important at night because they will alert nearby boaters, fishers, and other people of your location. In an emergency, people could easily find you.


fish in the dark

Is it safe to scuba dive at night?

It is safe to scuba dive at night if you use the right diving equipment. You must use lighting gear like dive lights and flood lights, so you can see in the dark. Always dive into safe areas and let people in the surrounding area know you are there.

Are night dives better?

People prefer diving at different times of day for different reasons. Daytime diving is preferable to many because there is much more to see. The water is clear, and your surroundings are more visible.

Diving at night can be appealing because you can see various nocturnal fish. However, many of your surroundings become invisible, even when using large lights.

Are night dives scary?

Night diving can be scary because of the darkness. If you have enough lighting equipment, night diving will be less intimidating. Eliminate your fears by using lighting with extra large beam width to illuminate more of your surroundings. It can also help to perform simple destressing rituals before your dive.

Do you need to be certified to night dive?

Any scuba diver with an Open Water Certification can go for night dives. Aside from your basic diving certification, you do not need an additional training for diving at night. However, proper training will make your first night dive more enjoyable, so it is a good practice to also have a specialty Night Diver course under your belt. You’ll learn how to navigate in the dark, where the interesting creatures hang out, and many night diving tips.

Is night diving dangerous?

Diving at night can be dangerous if you do not use the proper safety equipment or are inexperienced. The water becomes more hazardous at night because visibility becomes limited. Inexperienced divers may compromise their lives when they go for a night dive without the correct equipment. Tank meters, dive lights, chem sticks, and other equipment is necessary because it increases visibility and safety.

What do night divers see?

Many of the reef animals sleep during the day and only come out at night. For example different shrimp, lobsters, crabs, bioluminescent jellyfish, sea snakes, and many more that are near-impossible to spot during the day. The most spectacular are the plankton organisms that give off a bioluminescence when set in motion. You can also see plenty of fish sleeping in small holes.

Final Thoughts

If you use the right equipment, night scuba diving can be an exciting and safe experience. Make sure you receive professional scuba training before you try it. The environment is different at night and can be very unpredictable.

It can also help if you are an experienced diver. Experienced divers are more likely to master nighttime diving because they are familiar with their equipment and the underwater environment.

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