Before joining the Navy, I worked for the United States Golf Association. When running golf tournaments at that level, I always knew to be prepared for any situation that could arise. I remember one particular lesson I passed along to some rules officials who were helping me conduct a regional championship event. It was a beautiful morning, and the forecast called for clear skies and warm temperatures. On the way out of the tournament office, I grabbed one of the air horns lined up on the table. Tournament officials use air horns to suspend play and evacuate a golf course, and the most common reason to suspend play is when lightning moves into the area. Given the day’s rosy forecast, a couple of the other officials (who were older but not quite as experienced) chided me for mindlessly taking an air horn when we all knew we wouldn’t need it. I told them about a similarly beautiful day a couple of years back when I was running a U.S. Open qualifier. As I monitored play and enjoyed the sunshine, a spectator alerted me to a brush fire that had popped up. The dry conditions and slight breeze offered a recipe for disaster. Thankfully I had my air horn handy to signal an evacuation and allow the fire department to come in and handle the situation. The other officials reflected on my story as they each grabbed an air horn on their way out the door.
We all know that in diving, being prepared can mean the difference between safely enjoying a dive versus facing the fallout of an emergency. But there is one piece of gear that I always stow in my BCD and, as it’s not considered standard safety equipment, often gets second glances from my buddies on the dive boat. No matter the conditions or time of day, I’ve always got my dive light.
I relate my dive light to the golf story above because some people have a hard time getting past the misconception that certain equipment is only intended for certain purposes. Night dive = dive light // Day dive = no dive light. In my opinion, they are missing out on many of the joys that come with exploring a dive location no matter the time of day. I love using my light to reveal the stunning array of colors on the undersides of coral formations and to discover and observe sea life otherwise content to hide in the shadows. I’m always happy to see my fellow divers excitedly chase my light’s beam, looking for what else they might have otherwise missed. I just hope they finish the dive saying, “I need to get a dive light so I can see all the stuff that guy was seeing,” and not, “I need more buddies with dive lights.”
Obviously, the professionals at Patriot Scuba are always available to help you choose the best light for your needs. They’ll talk you through the pros and cons of HID versus LED, size, weight, battery life… In fact, I’ve been so happy with the staff’s recommendation to me that I’ll pass it along here. The Tryton DryLite is absolutely perfect for daytime diving. It’s compact, rugged, and has a rechargeable battery. It’s also an ideal backup light for when you do decide to pursue that night diving certification. Another great option is the line of Princeton Tec lights. I’m particularly impressed by the Princeton Tec League 100 that Patriot recently started carrying. It’s incredibly bright, easy to handle, very affordable, and is offered in a variety of colors to match any wetsuit.
So when you’re packing for your next scuba adventure, think about tossing a dive light into your gear bag. You’ll not only get the benefit of seeing more on your dive, you’ll have a chance to demonstrate to your buddies why a prepared diver always dives with a light.