Have you ever seen those cool pictures of coral and fish under black lights? No, it isn’t just some gimmick to enhance social media clicks. It’s called UV night diving, or fluorescent diving, and is one of the new activities divers are interested in.
Dive shops everywhere are beginning to stock UV torches to keep up with the demand. Look on the schedule of dive centers around the world and you’ll see they are adding night dives just for UV diving. It is getting to be a big thing.
But, what is it?
We’re going to answer that exact question. Also, we’ll look into how you can get started and the best places in the world to experience UV night diving.
- What is UV Night Diving?
- What Are The Best UV Lights For Recreational Diving?
- What Are The Best Locations For UV Night Diving?
- Some UV Diving Tips
What is UV Night Diving?
We divers are a pretty creative bunch when it comes to naming. You have cave diving which is diving in caves. Wreck diving, which is diving in wrecks. You also have ice diving, which is…wait for it…diving in ice.
So, you can probably guess from the name that UV night diving is diving at night using a UV light. But, why would anyone want to do that? Diving at night is scary enough as it is when you have bright flashlights. Why would you want to go with a less bright UV light?
The short answer is because it’s pretty cool what you can see. The longer answer, because there are tons of fish and coral which chemical compounds in them. These chemical compounds light up in unusual ways when you shine a UV light on them.
Just as you can dive one spot during the daytime and then go back at night to see something different. So too can you go to that same spot the next night with a UV light and see it as an entirely different world.
UV lights are on a spectrum between 10 and 400 nanometers (nm). When you shine these lights on coral and certain types of fish, it causes them to emit light and crazy colors. Or, in more scientific terms, to fluoresce. If you are interested in the technical aspects of what fluorescence is, you can read this.
Marine biologists and researchers have been using this technology for quite a while. Until recently though, the technology was too expensive for recreational divers to use. But, new advancements in the technology of UV lights have completely changed this. Dive centers around the world are beginning to offer UV dives as part of their regular schedule. You can even purchase a UV light for yourself to make your own UV night dives.
Let’s take a look at some of this technology.
What Are The Best UV Lights For Recreational Diving?
Because UV night diving is so new for recreational divers, the market for UV dive lights is still lacking. But, there are still a number of great options on the market from reliable manufacturers.
The three lights we’ve listed here represent the best the market currently has to offer. But, be on the lookout as there will certainly be improvements each year with new releases.
- GREAT DIVE LIGHT - Tovatec UV light (UV01) will bring the reef to life! The 395nm LED creates an...
- COMPACT AND DURABLE - This scuba diving light is made with aircraft grade aluminum housing which...
- KEY FEATURES - This dive light features an adjustable 12 degree (narrow beam) to 100 degree beam...
- WHAT IS INCLUDED - The package includes a light, a Lithium-ion battery, a battery charger with a...
- SPECIFICATIONS - Lifetime LED 395 NM; 12-100 degree beam angle; 4 hours burn time; On/off switch;...
Tovatec is a well-regarded manufacturer of dive lights and adventure lights. Their flashlights are known for being durable and built to last.
One of the great things about their lights is that they avoid many of the issues that other dive lights are known to have. Namely, they can hold up at depth. Many lights advertise themselves as being durable. But, once you get a few meters underwater, they start to leak and eventually flood. You won’t have this issue with Tovatec dive lights.
- Push button tail switch
- 395Nm UV lamp head for Ultraviolet or glow-diving
- Corrosion resistant hydralumtm lamp head
- Includes 1 rechargeable 2600 mAh Lithium Ion battery (user replaceable)
- Includes 3 photo accessory mounts
Underwater Kinetics has been a staple in the dive industry since the early 1970s. Their dive lights are known for being top of the line. They were one of the first companies to produce smaller dive lights making it easier to carry and use. Their UV lights continue in this tradition of being small, lightweight, and reliable.
- Combo kit includes GoBe 700 Wide Light plus 700 Spot and NightSea interchangeable lightheads
- 700 lumen output and 750mW radiant flux output certified to the FL-1 Standard; regulated output so...
- Rechargeable through external Charge interface with included USB cable
- Factory-sealed design with external charge interface for flood-free reliability; depth rated to 120m...
- Manufactured in California and backed by Light & Motion's 2-year Enhanced Experience Guarantee
Light & Motion is another high-end lighting brand. They produce professional lighting for industries such as filming, drones, photography, and diving. Their dive lights are top of the line and used by marine biologists and researchers around the world. Their GoBe dive light is a great option if you are looking for a versatile light for many uses.
What Are The Best Locations For UV Night Diving?
Now you know what UV night diving is and have some options for buying equipment. Next, let’s look at the best spots to experience UV night diving.
You will be happy to know that they are all common diving destinations. So, you don’t have to go out of your way to experience this diving wonder.
Read : Best Underwater Cameras
1. Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Tao is already one of the most popular places in the world for diving. More open water certifications come from this island than anywhere else in the world. So, chances are as a scuba diver you will end up here at some point anyway. Why not add UV night diving to your list of things to do when visiting. There are dozens of shops and schools on the island so you can easily find the school that is perfect for you.
Who to dive with: Normally, we recommend Buddha View Dive Resort when diving in Koh Tao. We’ve had great experiences with them. But, for UV night dives, we recommend Master Divers. They offer UV night dives throughout the year. You must have at least one non-UV night dive prior to booking.
Read : Diving In Thailand
2. Bonaire, Caribbean Sea
Bonaire is a major diving destination and one of the most visited islands of the Dutch Antilles. The island is north of Venezuela in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. Bonaire is protected from storms which affect other islands during hurricane season. This makes it a great area for diving year-round.
Like Koh Tao, there are many dive shops around the island so you have a wide selection. One thing that is nice about Bonaire is that many of the best night diving spots are shore dives. So, you can rent a car and visit more than one spot in one night.
Who to dive with: We recommend VIP Diving. They have been around since 2009 and have a great safety record. Their divemasters are well trained and knowledgeable of the best sites around the island. They were also one of the first dive schools on Bonaire to offer UV night dives. Like Master Divers, you need previous night diving experience with a regular light.
Also Read : Diving In Bonaire
3. Huravalhi Island, Maldives
The Maldives is known for some of the most beautiful beaches around the world. It’s world-famous for the bioluminescent plankton you can see certain times of the year.
But, this isn’t the only natural light show. You can also see coral in a new way on a UV night dive. We recommend Huravalhi as they have great beaches and crystal clear waters. There are also some great resorts on this island.
Who to dive with: We recommend Prodivers. They have dive centers all around the Maldives. They are one of the top-ranked dive centers in the country and have great staff. The divemasters at their different locations are knowledgeable about the different dive sites. Overall, they are a great dive center for both UV night diving and regular fun dives.
Some UV Diving Tips
- UV light is harmful to your eyes. So, do not look directly into the light. Also, be cautious when diving to not shine the light into the eyes of anyone else. If you are using blue light with a yellow filter this is less harmful.
- You need to have near-perfect buoyancy when doing a UV night dive. It is important to manage your buoyancy to avoid damaging reefs. This is not a diving activity for brand new divers.
- Try to go on at least three-night dives before doing a UV night dive. Night diving is totally different than daytime diving. There are many potential hazards you must learn to mitigate and contend with. With UV night diving, these hazards can be enhanced due to reduced visibility. It is best to get a feel for diving at night first and then introduce the UV aspect.
Also Read : Best Places To Learn Diving
UV diving seems pretty exciting, doesn’t it? It is one of our favorite diving activities next to wreck diving.
Do you have any experience with UV diving?
Do you have any other recommendations for great UV night diving spots or gear?
We are always interested in the opinion of other divers like yourself. So, let us know in the comments section what you think. You never know if what you have to say can help someone else.