Appeared in DIVER August 2008

John John Bantin has been a full-time professional diving writer and underwater photographer since 1990. He makes around 300 dives each year testing diving equipment.


IF YOU HAVE EVER SHORE-DIVED in a sandy tropical place, or somewhere that requires you to swim through the surf from the boat to get ashore after each dive, youll appreciate how unfriendly such places are towards any piece of kit that contains an airspace protected from flooding by O-rings.
Grit in the form of tiny grains of sand can make the difference between an expensive lamp and camera being exactly that, or merely a piece of flooded junk.
Whenever I come ashore in such places, I am always paranoid about opening up anything that might need downloading or charging, because I know that the O-rings and their grooves will need extensive cleaning before everything is re-assembled.
Hotel rooms in tropical countries with low-wattage lighting compound the problem, making those miniscule offending grains of sand almost impossible to see. Paranoia rules!
A good torch is the answer, but this introduces the problem of trying to hold it between your teeth while leaving two hands free for the wiping, rinsing, drying and re-greasing required. The UK Vizion headlamp comes to the rescue because it can be mounted on your head using a comfortably broad headband.
Of course, its not just for assembling camera housings and underwater lamps. Anything that you might want to do in an open boat at night can be helped by hands-free lighting.
Looking for that missing tank O-ring in the scuppers; stripping out the spark-plugs of an outboard motor that is not running well; replacing a broken fin-strap - these are all activities I have recently seen undertaken with some degree of difficulty in dim light conditions.
The UK Vizion is also rated to be watertight to 10m. That doesnt really make it a diving light, though I daresay it will go a lot deeper without ill-effect. What it does mean is that it will withstand the rigours of falling into the wet bilge of a boat, and should that be the only torch you have in your cabin the night your liveaboard sinks, at least youll be able to use it to swim your way out!
You certainly dont have to worry about rinsing salt spray off it with fresh water when youre done. When you get home, you can also wear it while checking oil levels in your car, or riding your bike at night.

Light and Power
The UK Vision uses a high-intensity LED to provide a useful amount of light. It is fired up by a single AAA battery.

A push-button on one side switches the light on and off. A knob enables the user to alter the angle at which the beam is projected from the head-mount to suit the purpose in hand.

Everyone knows that turning on a white light in an open boat during passage at night can ruin the helmsmans night vision, but the UK Vizion gets over that by having a little built-in red filter. This conveniently rotates into place, giving you a red light to avoid this hazard.
If it proved sufficiently watertight, this lamp could be a godsend to photographers. Im thinking of the times when I have sat in the dark waiting for the moment when the elusive mandarinfish leave the coral rubble, and swim into open water to perform their famous courtship dance. Theyre usually found not too deep.
The UK Vizion headlamp also has a little diffuser that can make the beam less directional when using it without the filter.

OMS Headlight, £50

BURNTIME 76 hours at full power
EXTRAS Headband included
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