Io & Co – Scuba Diving signals used in Spain
IO is a very excited beginner diver and FROG a very patient diving instructor working at Black frog Divers.
Today diving lesson: Underwater signals! Follow the adventure!!
Illustrated by Andrea Minetti INKSPOT
Scuba diving is a team sport where underwater communication is very important. All the signals were created for better understanding between divers for the safe and efficient conduct of any recreational or training-related scuba dive. The most convenient method of communication underwater by scuba divers is through simple hand signals.
People without realizing, in everyday life, use a lot of hand and body gestures (especially Sara..being italian) to express themselves. For example, shrugging the shoulders for «I don’t know», nodding the head for «Yes» and shaking the head for «no» are very common in our society. Also couples who have known each other for a long time can communicate with body, eyes and hands, they don’t need to speak to understand each other.
Communicating underwater is an important skill to learn and divers communicate underwater with their hands. Before going “below” you should know some basic signals that you’ll use while diving: to show how you feel, to confirm the direction, to show how much air you have left or to warn your diving buddy of the presence of an animal or a danger. There are more than 200 diving underwater signs. You don’t need to know all of them at the beginning of your adventure with diving, but you should know at least some of them really well, because that can save your life.
When using hand signals underwater, they are usually done in front of the chest and generally require a response. They should be performed clearly and strongly. Slow or inappropriate signals could be confusing and it could be an indication that something is wrong. Also during a night dive is it possible to communicate with hand signals: you have to shine your torch on your hand and of course never shine the torch in other divers eyes, this way they will not be able to see for some time.
There are also other way of communicating between divers and others:
Underwater slates used to write messages .
Some dive computers allow a pre-programmed messages to be sent to other divers or to the surface personnel.
Light signals using an underwater torch at night. Drawing a circle on the ground signals OK or waving the torch in horizontal motion means emergency.
Line signals can be used when the diver is connected to another diver.
“Shaker” a metal tube containing steel ball used by guides of large groups to attract attention.
Diver down signals such as the dive flags and lights used to indicate the presence of divers in the water.
And emergency signals, including the compressed air sirens, whistles, noisemakers, colour-coded, Surface Marker Buoys etc., to alert the surface support personnel of a problem.
Today it is mandatory to know hand signals before a dive.
Diving agencies around the world teach divers hand signals in the same way, however some of them may vary from region to region. Sometimes divers have to create a new hand signals depending on the circumstances of the dive. That’s why we should always review the diving signals when going diving with friends and strangers and dive safe. Before each dive, during our briefing, apart from explaining how the dive will be, we always repeat signals, both for animal identification or for identification.
Sure, you know what the famous “OK” scuba hand signal means, but what about other diving signs used by scuba divers?