Signals on Diving and Communication

Absolutely there is no way to talk underwater.

You can shout to make some voice but that wouldn’t be a “communication”. Creating attention and communication are not same things.

Although diving activity is such an activity that we need a serious way of communication, physical conditions are not allowing us to do that. However, divers always find a way to manage with the situation.

There are many reasons why we use our language to express the current situation. There can be an emergency or something else, which we have to reply back or acknowledge.


Nobody actually wants to break the silence during diving. You find your way in deep blue, surrounded by underwater beauties or pure blue. Most of the people are there, practically to be able to relax and calm down. So, the ways of communication should be precise, short and right to the point.


Beauty of diving as a group brings safety. There will be always people watching your back and warning you against dangers, or checking your equipment status if they are working properly, such as checking your air pressure, deco time…etc.


Your buddy may want to show you an interesting creature, something you have to see, or a direction you have to go. For these things, you have be able to communicate and exchange information with limited sources.

Ask for explanation

Of course, you shouldn’t proceed with every warning and instruction you have been given. Person who gives you information might be under influence of nitrogen narcosis. Person on this state can give misleading instructions. Therefore, you have to be sure and question the instructions by replying back.

Ask for immediate help

Underwater diseases and emergencies can cause the diving to end. When that time comes, we might not be able to terminate the diving on our own. On the other hand, for small problems can be solved with a little help from our buddy, we should be able to explain what problem is so they can work on that without terminating the dive unnecessarily.

Regular checks

On diving, regular checks are essential. Your instructor or your buddy checks you for your air left, sometimes for your buoyancy, navigation, and most importantly for your mental status. We have fixed gestures to ask these common questions and simple answers to reply them clearly. Because especially under this circumstances, not causing any confusion and giving manipulative respond is essential.

How to act under emergency situations

On group diving, in case of any emergency, it doesn’t mean that whole group should terminate the trip. However, since you have to follow the leader, figuring out when to proceed together or when to wait for instructions are essential.

Let’s see what they are;

  1. “Okay”

Before diving, every diver should make buddy check to each other.
We start with this signal from the beginning.

You will be asked with this gesture. If everything is satisfactory, you will reply back as same.

When you are waterborne, especially when you are jumping from a boat, first this to do is that you have to confirm for status. If everything is ok, this is the move you should do:

  1. “Emergency, Help”

In case of any problem, get your mask up to your forehead and hit your hand to create attention by splashing water.

  1. “Go down”

Meanwhile every team members are in position, instructor checks if everyone is “ok” and gets confirmation to proceed. After group can “go down” with instructor’s signal:

  1. “Come Here”

When divers in position, instructor can give the follow order to proceed after him. Also, for calling a person to a specific position, this signal can be used.

  1. “Stay (Stop)”

Moves should be clear and precise. To be able to stop a person , we need to give this signal clearly.

  1. “How much air left?”

It is very important question on diving. You have to check your air status regularly and report it to your instructor or your buddy. Your pair will align estimated time to spend underwater, according to your air left. Time to time your instructor can ask your air status with this signal.

  1. “Reserve, low air”

Low air defines that you have approximately 50 bar or less in your air bottles. In situation which you have low air in your bottles, you have to give this signal and inform them.

  1. “Ascent”

Don’t mix with exit, it is only a warning that you need to ascent a bit, preventing yourself going deeper, or hit to the bottom and disturb sea bed or getting apart from the leader. On group diving, you shouldn’t be deeper than the leader. Your instructor time to time might warn you to ascent a bit.

  1. “Something is wrong”

Divers can find themselves under some uncomfortable situations. Some of them can be fixed by the diver within sort notice. However, some requires help to overcome. For that, diver needs to ask for help. About the problem, diver need to be very precise.

There is a problem, but where?

This hand gesture will follow the indication of the source of the problem.

  • Problem, in the ear (point out the ear)
  • Problem, in the leg (like a cramp, or another problem, just point out the leg)
  • Problem, breathing (point the out the chest)
  1. “Buddy Up”

It is very important that buddies should stay with each other. Once group starts separating, instructor can’t control the group order. If the instructor sees that buddies getting separated, he might warn by pointing them out and ask for them to be stick together.

In the next article, we will continue with the most important ones during trainings and how to indicate numbers, express air pressure quantity, some common misunderstandings and how to prevent them, also how to act during night dives.

See you in the next article!

Importance of Having The Proper Knowledge on Diving

Divers were always there, throughout the history.

Diving was never just a sport for pleasure. Sometimes, it was a way of living, a part of tradition of a culture, or a useful tool for scientific purposes.

For some people, it is the way of their life. Bajau tribe in Philippines is born on the sea, and living in there. For them, underwater is the life itself, the source food, joy. They believe, the origins of the life come from there.


In the many other parts of the world, underwater has always been an opportunity for the people to find food, discover new places and secrets buried under this transparent earth.

As spear fishermen do. They dive with one breath, and chase after their target as long as they go. Or archeological divers, they go down and extract the history buried down below the sand.

In present days, diving is used also in the professional sector.

Technical divers:

Technical divers go down for underwater repairs in oil platforms, or hull cleaning / propeller checking purposes of the vessels, expeditions for underwater cities, caves, and investigations of wreckages collided or had a breakdown and sung items on the sea

That is why, technical divers are capable of going deep down below the sportive limits, for specific purposes. For most of the divers, the limits are themselves. They go down with necessary air supply, which are specific for deep diving, with mixed gases and reduced elements dangerous after some period of exposure and storage on the body.

Whole technical diving operation needs utmost care with special calculations because, as much as we stay under heavy water pressure, storing of nitrogen in human body system increases in every breath.

This accumulation under water pressure, changes our body functions and responses, even on very simple tasks. Since technical divers go down to use their brain and hands in coordination, they should be fully capable of using them properly.

That is why, only having perfect and high quality equipment will not save you, if you don’t have physically and mentally enough power.

After 20 meters, every dive is considered as “deep” dive. This means, after these limits, the body starts giving response to water pressure, lungs will start shrinking after some time, the blood will start accumulating more nitrogen, under gradually increasing water pressure. As a result, mental status starts giving response to these changes in the physiology.

“Panicked Man” in Diving:

In some cases, the brain starts finding these changes as an attack to the body and tries to get rid of this situation immediately or it just gives up everything and drag the diver into empty feelings ,which can cause you either want to go up to surface immediately, maybe go down more. Sometimes you might want to remove your tools sustaining your life support. There are cases, people are in such a state, they want to remove the regulator and start talking underwater.

We will “go down deep with this diseases” in another article.

Let’s skip to a bitter story, and learn what can happen, when you don’t have enough knowledge on your actions.

Sponge Divers of Kalymnos :

Kalymnos Island is one of the rocky and barren Islands in Dodecanese, where you can’t make any cultivation for vital elements. In the years when tourism was not a matter of income, they had to find a way to create a door for their income. On this purpose, they realized an underwater miracle, natural sponges.

They started harvesting as free divers with a heavy rock connected to their neck. Only with one breath, they were collecting as much as they can and going up to the surface. Of course, it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t just a matter of holding your breath as much as it got, like how present free divers do now. They had to go deep, in some cases, exceeding under 60 meters, staying approximately 5-6 minutes and showing body effort to look for sponges and harvest them.

It was a multi-tasking job, within the years they were the experts of it.

It is understandable that, going down with one breath and stay only 5-6 minutes maximum was not profitable. So they wanted to find a “solution” for that.

Supplying continues air…

For this, in the end of 19th century, they invented “skafandro” which allowed you to go down with a pipe supplying air as long as you were underwater.

Results were horrific…

Lack of knowledge on decompression disease and its affects, they initiated this plan right away. However, right after they started using it, this terrible idea showed its formidable face. Divers were staying such a long time under long meters of water pressure, accumulating nitrogen on their blood, like a virus to come out when they touch the surface again. When the time came to go out, they were pulled out by their connecting line so fast, on the way back, they were stroked by the enhancing nitrogen bubbles on their blood.

In the begining, those divers were going deep down as a healthy person but returning back to boat, mostly hanging on the line dead, or seriously injured with permanent damages on their brains or their spines which causing them continue with their lives as a disabled or paralyzed human being.

Until the decompression tables were introduced, they couldn’t understand the reasons why, and divers were treated by the people as cursed or infected by the sea.

Even after decompression tables were introduced explaining the dangers of nitrogen accumulation and how to prevent it, they didn’t want to implement them. Because, the ways of prevention techniques weren’t promoting the time spent underwater.

According to the tables, they had to proceed to the surface stage by stage, waiting for your body to clean the nitrogen in every atmospheric pressure changes.

Although they avoided using the tables quite a long time, in the end they accepted the situation and decided to stop this brutal practice.

With this story, we have to come to realize that, we need to furnish ourselves with the best knowledge and learn our certification requirements properly.

We have to be trained and aware of the dangers of this sport, so we can prevent them and get the utmost pleasure out of it.