HAND SIGNS FOR COMMUNICATING WHILE DIVING

When diving, effective communication means greater safety. But how do you communicate under water ? Subea takes a look at some of the most common underwater hand signs.

When diving, you’re like a fish underwater, moving along calmly and peacefully in three dimensions. The “silent world” is open to you, but however much you enjoy the peace and quiet of the aquatic world, you’ll still need to communicate with your dive group in order to carry out your dive safely. Since verbal communication is impossible underwater, an international set of hand signs has been developed. While nowhere near as extensive and complex as the sign language used by the hard of hearing, a diver’s dialect includes simple and accurate gestures that are easily identifiable. These are generally used for communicating about safety and dive parameters. Learn about the different divers’ hand signs with Subea.

LEARNING TO COMMUNICATE WHILE DIVING

During your intro to diving, you’ll learn the first key hand gestures that will stand you in good stead for as long as you keep diving. Knowing how to say “everything is okay” or “something’s wrong” is essential so that your first dive goes smoothly. While these hand signs aren’t necessarily the most obvious, they’re easy and are learned gradually, just like a new language, and will in time become automatic every time you head under the surface. The more divers you log, the faster your underwater vocabulary will grow. While it’s essential to use the gestures exactly as you’ve learned them, so that the rest of your dive group will understand them, it’s also important for you to understand them and to analyse them when a diver turns to you for information. If necessary, your instructor may bring an underwater slate to help with your language lessons.
Now, let’s have a look at the different signs that you’ll need in order to communicate while diving.

HAND SIGNS WHILE DIVING

ok hand signs diving communication subea
I'm fine / Okay

 

something's wrong hand signs communication diving subea
Something's wrong 

 

hand signs diving communication tips subea

 

out of breath hand signs communication diving subea
I'm out of breath

 

cold hand signs communication diving subea
I'm cold

 

out of air hand signs diving communication subea
Out of air 

 

stabilize yourself hand signs diving communication subea
Stabilize yourself 

 

hand signs diving communication tips subea

 

breath hand signs diving communication subea
Breath

 

stay together hand signs diving communications subea
Stay together 

 

boat hand signs diving communication subea
Boat

 

dizziness hand signs diving communication subea
Dizziness

 

narcosis hand signs diving communication subea
Narcosis

 

COMMUNICATING ABOUT MARINE LIFE

In addition to signing about safety and dive parameters, it’s also fun to be able to talk about the underwater flora and fauna that you encounter. While not every aquatic plant or animal can be described with this diving vocabulary, the species that are most widely encountered and sought after by divers all have a clearly established sign. Since form and meaning are key parts of our underwater dialogue, you’ll easily be able to make the visual link between the designated object and its corresponding sign, which generally depicts a physical characteristic. Learning these signs will help you to more easily spot the fauna and flora that your buddy or instructor may be pointing out to you, or vice versa.

Here are some of the most commonly used signs for communicating about underwater flora and fauna (obviously, these signs may be different depending on the person or country !)

grouper hand signs diving communication subea

Grouper

stonefish hand signs diving communication subea

Stonefish

shark hand signs diving communication subea

Shark

clownfish hand signs diving communication subea

Clownfish

turtle hand signs diving communication subea

Turtle

lionfish hand signs diving communication subea

Lionfish

trumpetfish hand signs diving communication subea

Trumpetfish

moray eel hand signs diving communication subea

Moray Eel

ray hand signs diving communication subea

RAY

team-icon-blue-bottle

THE FINAL BUBBLE

If the time comes when you want to be more independent or to go even deeper, or if you’re interested in speciality dives, you’ll have to head back to the classroom in order to expand your vocabulary of hand gestures. You’ll learn about signs that you would never have guessed, and you may even end up inventing some of your own! With enough practice, you’ll become a diving dialect specialist without even realising it.

Other signs come to your mind ? Don't hesitate to mention it in our comments ! Enjoy your dives !!  

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                ARTICLE WRITTEN BY

                baptiste digital manager subea
                Baptiste, Subea Digital Manager

                I'm the Digital Manager for the Subea brand. I'm keen on spearfishing and freediving and have been scuba diving for over fifteen years. I have my level 1 FFESSM and PADI certifications up to “Rescue” level.
                 

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