IN A FLASH
During our surface-signaling gear test ( March/april 2017), we found that even well before sunset, a light is easier to spot at a distance than the most visible SMBS had been in broad daylight. That illustrated dramatically why it’s a smart idea to carry a torch not just on night dives but on all open-water dives (after all, there are many accounts of left-behind divers who never expected to spend the night at sea). And it also gave us a new appreciation for lights with strobe or SOS functions. While we found that flashing lights aren’t particularly more noticeable than nonflashing lights, the benefi t is that flash modes dramatically increase battery life. For example, Light & Motion’s Gobe 800 Spot runs for three hours at medium power, but its SOS mode will last up to a day and a half. This feature can be a real lifesaver and is worth considering when choosing your backup as well as primary light.