Jotron - AQ4 Personal Strobe Light
A strobe light is useful for several diving activities.
During a night dive, a strobe is often attached to the boat's anchor line so the return will be easier.
However, a personal strobe light is useful in at least two other ways: Say you were doing a night dive on a non-protruding reef at night, and you may come away (currents) from the dive boat, or overstay the dive time significantly. You may have drifted off a mile from the boat, who in turn would have a hard time finding you. Most smaller dive boats lack the on-board equipment of a powerful searchlight. Your dive-light may have become unusable or ran out of battery. In this case, having a personal strobe attached to your BCD or arm might save the night-ride back home!
Or, say you are separated from your buddy. According to PADI, you look for your buddy for one minute, then ascend. According to GUE, you look for your buddy where you last had contact, and then abort the dive and find your buddy at the surface (hopefully). However, let's say you're down in a dark lake diving a wreck, low visibility all around. Now you may just drift off a few feet too far (it can happen, even if it shouldn't!) from your buddy, you may have deco time to attend to. Not a pleasant experience. Ideally, you should be able to spot your dive buddy's dive light in this situation by covering your own for a few seconds. But a dive light is usually very focused, and can be hard to see if you are shining the other way. A strobe offers a much broader light flash, and often it penetrates low-visibility waters quite well.
Note: Please do not ever use a strobe as a replacement for a personal locator light (such as a chemical or electronic lightstick) - it will drive other divers swimming at your side or behind you mental and they won't see a thing of the reef they set out to observe!
We found most strobes on the market to be rather weak, or clumsy, or both. What we eventually settled on was the Norwegian Jotron AQ-4 Personal Strobe Light. Available for about 50 Euros and often cheaper online, it can really save your life, or at least, make the separation period shorter, thus increasing your dive pleasure.
We keep ours permanently attached to our harness like this (even if the tightened elastic strap came undone, the strobe still remains on the harness:
Link to manufacturer's page:
Download PDF of Jotron AQ-4 and AQ-5
AQ-4 Personal Strobe Light
Designed for personal safety and various applications such as diving, fire fighting, marking of personnel, objects, vessels, vehicles, targets and safety lifejacket marking.
Manually activated. High intensity xenon flash strobe light. Light weight. Waterproof to 300m (option of 500 m). Flash rate: 50 flashes per minute. Operation up to 12 hours at 15°C with decreased flash rate at the end of the battery life.
NATO Stock No. 6230-25-138-7110 (standard unit)