Everything You Wanted To Know About Underwater Flashlights

I read the result of a survey somewhere that said 75% of divers carry some sort of dive light every time. I agree. It certainly helps whether to light up dark surroundings or to look into a crevice or under a shelf during the day.

I find light very important, even during the day. As we descend and get deeper, the light gets less as it’s filtered through the water. Plus, everything gets a bluish hue. If you ask me, I can only see the true colors once I illuminate the object with my dive light. That’s how I can see the full spectrum of light. Dive lights have become pretty much a standard piece of equipment for divers.

You can clip on a small light on your BCD or even tuck it into your BCD pocket for the day if you want to peek into a crevice. And of course, I always carry a dive light for the night. It’s best to carry a primary light, which is bigger and stronger, and a smaller one as a backup. The backup helps if your primary light malfunctions or the batteries die. If you are struggling to get a good BCD package, here is a good resource on the best scuba gear packages.

Types of Underwater Lights

I value both the basic types of dive lights.


A standard torch is the most common design. This is your standard flashlight that comes in a typical flashlight type grip or a pistol grip. I have even worn them on the back of my hand or arm. Some of them use standard batteries or an internal rechargeable battery.  Always see the light output of the torch when you are shopping. The output of your primary light should be good.

Canister Style

There is a separate battery in a canister torch, which means it can hold more power than a standard torch. The battery and lamp are connected with a cable. I wear the lamp on my hand with a special harness. This keeps my hands free. It costs a bit more, but to me, it’s worth it because of the high light output, and the longer battery life.

What Should You Choose?

I always decide on the kind of diving I will be doing. But I never compromise on the quality as my life could depend on it.

Consider the light beam. I usually prefer a smaller, standard light to peek into cracks and crevices, and so prefer a narrow beam style light. But for night dives, I go with a wider beam so that I can see more area around me.

For my night dives, I also value a tank light or strobe light. These small lights help other divers see you better.


The kind of batteries you will need depends on the light you use. I carry an extra set of fresh batteries in a waterproof container if the light uses standard batteries. You can also make a small investment and buy rechargeable batteries to replace the standard alkaline batteries. If it’s rechargeable, always charge your light fully before going on the dive.