There aren't many people who can say they've plumbed the nether reaches of the Earth. But commercial diving professionals sure can, as their workplaces lurk where few have ever roamed, waded or paddled. From installing and welding, to canvassing and inspecting, commercial divers have their hands full assigned to do tasks that make the daily grind anything but routine.
There's an awful lot to see and explore in lakes and oceans, but without the proper equipment, all the skills in the world won't do commercial divers much good if they can't see the light. If you're a commercial diver – or employ them as a maritime professional – here are a few pointers to keep in mind when shopping for lighting equipment:
Shop by task, not brand
As vast as bodies of water are, so too are the jobs commercial divers perform, whether it's search and rescue, deep sea exploration, photography, construction and maintenance, among a host of others. Because of this, industry experts recommend selecting diving lights based on how they'll be utilized.
Generally speaking, dive lights are categorized, sometimes by job, but usually as recreational or commercial. Commercial diving lights are typically more expensive. However, they're also of higher quality and capacity because of the labor-intensive aspects divers' assignments entail.
Check depth rating of light
Of course, dive lights are naturally waterproof, given the manner in which they're used, but how effective they are underneath the surface varies significantly. And the farther down your dives take you, the more resilient your light has to be to under the intense pressure of your water world.
Assuming your dives go 100 feet or more below, you'll definitely want to make sure your light is depth rated, which eliminates the recreational variety from the pool of potential purchases.
Be mindful of temperatures
Unless you're diving in the Caribbean or during an unusually warm spate of higher temperatures, most waters are rather cold, to the point of bone-chilling without the proper equipment. Your dive light will need to be similarly resistant to these chilly conditions, so steer clear of the less powerful lights and aim for one that has a higher power capacity.
Handheld or head-mounted?
Commercial divers need their hands to get from point A to point B, but some utilize their hands more than others, due to the nature of the tasks their jobs entail. There's no right or wrong answer as to whether a dive light is best used in hand or worn, but be mindful of what your job requires and buy the style that will be the most efficient.
HID or LED?
Determining the right dive light can sometimes seem like choosing the best over-the-counter headache medicine: Should you buy one that's fast-acting or long-lasting? Ideally both, but as the DiveLight Blog advises, LED lights are best for lengthy jobs, tending to stay brighter longer because they utilize less energy. But for specialized tasks that require plenty of visibility – and are relatively quick – HID lights may be your best bet. HID is short for high-intensity discharge. These tend to be brighter than bulbs using LED technology but don't last as long.
Consider buying a strobe light
As you'll no doubt find in your dive light selection process, lights aren't all built the same, even though they provide the same end result – brighter conditions. But in addition to a steady stream of visibility, you should also buy a light that blinks. Strobe lights are great to strap on so your diving partner knows where you are at all times. Some conditions under the surface may be crystal clear, but these ideal scenarios are rather rare. Having a strobe light is a great way to remain identifiable so your partner sees you.
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