Underwater lighting is a crucial part of diving as it provides illumination in dark waters. An underwater torch is a primary light source on a night dive. For day dives, these lights provide critical lighting when exploring cracks and crevices, wrecks, underwater caverns and caves.
Choosing the most ideal underwater lighting can greatly enhance a diver’s experience and is crucial for safety concerns. When it comes to selection of underwater lighting, the options are virtually endless.
1. Primary lights
These are dive lights with a wide beam angle to allow the user to have a wider field of vision while diving. Primary dive lights have sufficient power and burn time to get one through a dive.
2. Back up lights
These lights are usually small enough to fit into the diver’s pocket and can be used to safely get the diver through the dive in case the primary light fails.
3. Videography lights
Underwater videography lights have a consistently bright beam and multiple power settings to allow for fine tuning the exposure of a shot. Some of these lights allow the user to focus the beam, enabling it to be used as a primary light for wreck or cave diving. Video lights are extremely sensitive to color differences.
4. Canister lights
These underwater dive lights are recommended for people doing more technical dives. They usually feature a narrow beam that gives more focused light. They are ideal when diving in conditions such as narrow passageways or waters where there is a lot of silt.
5. Wrist and head mount lights
These are high-performance dive lights worn by mounting them on the head or wrist. They are usually small in size and have a quite impactful beam.
All five of these types of dive lights can use any of the following lighting technology.
Tungsten / Halogen / Xenon
Halogen and xenon lights work like regular flashlights. They have a fine tungsten filament inside of high pressure gas. They offer excellent color rendition though they are not very bright.
High Intensity Discharge (HID)
HID dive lights use bulbs but have a small arc instead of a filament in a special gas environment. The beam of HID dive lights travel further under water than that of halogen lights.
Light Emitting Diode (LED)
This is the newest and probably most popular underwater lighting technology on the market. LEDs offer the best efficiency of any dive light technology. LED dive lights are brighter and energy efficient.