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!

Why should you have your own equipment? (Part 2)


            In the last article, we tried to understand the importance of having our own equipment, starting with the essential ones. Actually, when it comes to diving, every equipment has crucial importance. We never take something unnecessary with us down below surface, because every weight we bring with us will create and obstacle, cause extra air consumption, which will decrease the diving pleasure we acquire.

Additional Tools

When you feel confident about diving, there are some tools that you should have to become a fully equipped diver. That means, now you are ready to go deeper, challenge against high currents, narrow caves and reefs….etc.

Let’s see what they are.

Buoyancy Control Device ( BCD )

Normally, BCD is very easily accessible in every boat and diving center, since it is the most important tool for scuba. BCD is basically the thing not only keeps you on the surface, but also keeps you inside the water in the exact level you wanted and prevents you go deeper unexpectedly.

That is why, having your BCD, will make you more controllable about your buoyancy and take the actions more accurately and precisely.

BCD is connected to your air bottle with a cable apparatus, which allows you to chance air pressure inside your jacket, so as to arrange your depth.

With its junctions and pockets, your BCD is also your tool box, your hanger and your container, which you can store your weights without requiring a weight belt, or you can hang your camera, your gauges and flashlights, hooks…etc.

Diving Computer

Diving computer is maybe a thing looking like a wristwatch, but it is way much more than that. It is your road map, which calculates your depth, remaining time that you can stay in every meters, your deco time which is necessary to submit for avoiding decompression….etc.

When some particular sensors are installed, it can also show air pressure in your bottle(s), as well. Diving computer is basically a calculator and indicator making diving easier and less troublesome for you.

Gauges ( Depth gauge, bottle pressure gauge and compass )

Except for electronic sensors in our diving computer, we have also manual ones. We can consider them as a secondary system. They are connected to the first stage of the regulator.

And compasses are usually worn to wrist, on the opposite side of the diving computer. Like this, you will be able to control both computer and your direction for safe navigation.
Since all of them are connected together, gauges are mostly something you buy as a combination with your regulator.

Surface Marker Buoy, “Sausages” ( SMB )

All advanced divers can face with high current at any time and drift apart from planned position, or you can choose a track that you are not planning to come back and wanting the boat pick you up from your destination. Other case is maybe you need to go back to surface by terminating the dive with an emergency exit. In this cases, you should be able to mark yourself, even when you are still underwater. It also helps you to mark the position while you are waiting for your deco time, and allows boat to find you during this time spent.

They are convertible and water resistant, which you can use your bottle air from your second stage to fill it up underwater and release to the surface with its rope allowing you to control underwater.


During night dives, cave diving, obviously it is a necessity. However, when you go deeper and deeper, color spectrum starts being eliminated by the water surface, and most of the colors starts being invisible, even though there is still light around. In colorful dive sites, if you are not seeing the colors properly, it would be a shame. That is why, flashlight is also a necessity of each professional divers.

Of course, it should be strictly watertight and having enough lumen to illuminate properly, which is approximately 2000lm and higher is suitable for a proper advantage. Closer to sunlight quality will give more pleasant experience, when you are able to see actual colors. Because, “light” is a tricky thing. Even a small unconformity on the device’s supply, colors will not be some as original.

Reef Drift Hook

Under heavy current, drifting is inevitable. To avoid drifting apart from the group or from your buddy, you need to be able to fix yourself somewhere and wait. Because, proceeding against heavy current will tear you apart and after some point you will feel the need to stop and take a breath for a while.

Usually, current expected diving pattern follows the reef, where current is less effective, so you can put your hook, anytime you want. When you get separated away from the reef, usually current increases and reaches to a point which you can’t control your navigation anymore. That is why, all advanced divers should have at least one hook apparatus, one of their pocket on their BCD


Underwater is home of natural beauties and fascinating habitat of water animals. On the other hand, there are some natural and unnatural bodies can create disturbance during diving. For example, you can tackle to fishing nets, or some wild iyv can tangle to your body parts or your equipment. They can be very stubborn and not easy to tear it off by hand .

You should fix it somewhere you can always reach and also easy to access, there usually engaged to the lower leg.

Rash Guards

Rash guards are basically thin underwear, prevents your body against friction or rashes of the equipment, sunlight during summer period when you don’t wear wet-suits. Also you can wear them inside the wet-suit just to keep yourself warm.



Tools You Can Find on The Boat 

Air Bottles

If you are not diving privately with your team or buddy, only joining diving trips on liveboard or daily rented boats, it would not be necessary to carry the bottles all around with you, which is completely unnecessary. Every diving boat has its own bottles to supply to their visitors.

There are two types of air bottles:

-Aluminum Bottles, which are lighter than the steel ones, so it allows you to take less weight with you, before you dive.

This type is mostly used in tropical areas where you need less buoyancy, because of high saltiness of the water.

-Steel Bottles, are much heavier, so it requires you to take extra weight with you. Also steel material is prone to corrosion against salt. That is why they should be well maintained at all times.

With its weight, this type will help you to create stability in cold water areas, where you put on more thick suits which creates more buoyancy. 

Lead Weights and Belt

Weights can be lined in a belt or can be stored in your BCD’s pockets, if available.

Quantity changes according to your body weight, suit and air bottle type you use on that diving. Long story short, more buoyancy brings more weight on your belt. They are made out of lead and they can be in 2kgs and 1 kg for each.


Buff, Actually, it is bandana, helps you to cover your hair to prevent intruding into your mask seal, causing the water coming through.

Actually, it is cool and with its interesting colors and shapes, it reflects your personality as a diver…

Why Should You Have Your Own Equipment?

            With its equipment, diving world is a dreamland. Once you start diving, it is impossible to prevent yourself keep tracking of new developed equipment, and renewing your old ones or starting saving money to buy them.                          When you are a beginner, it is quite a hard decision. Sometimes it can be very tricky to complete all of them at once, so this situation leads you to prioritize the buying sequence and restock the rest.
            With this article, I will try to explain the importance of each, and prioritize the necessities of the essential ones, one by one.

Here we go!


-Health and hygiene

            Let’s be clear, diving equipment is pretty private. It covers your body and touches almost every point in your skin. That causes bodily fluids integrate into your tools and clothes. Even if you are the only user, as long as you don’t clean them properly and frequently, those bodily fluid and dirt will accumulate in some certain areas, which can cause bacterial infection in close future. Now just imagine, what happens if you contact with someone else’s remaining which can cause infectious diseases, bacterial infections…etc.
            This kind of bacterial accumulations are mostly seen in wetsuits, diving boots and closed type fins, regulators, masks, snorkels, those are the things has direct contact with outside and inside of your body. So, common use of that equipment can cause you to get some unwanted beings intrude your body.
            On the places where you can rent your equipment, tools and suits should go through from a cleaning and disinfection process after every use. However, as you can imagine, it is hard to believe that most of the centers are complying with this requirement.
            That is why, it is crucial having them on your own.


            Almost all equipment can be found in diving clubs from where you arrange your trip or rent your equipment. However, quality of devices and equipment won’t be reliable. Especially, dependability changes country-to-country, boat-to-boat and brand-to-brand. You can’t count on their maintenance schedule, quality of brand used, how long they have been used, and who knows how many years. So, especially equipment about your buoyancy, air taking and deco times, such as BCD, regulator and dive computer should be private, allowing you to know about maintenance, practice, chronic problems…etc.

-Knowing your own stuff

            Knowing your own stuff brings safety. It definitely will not be same when you are using completely new one which you are not even used to enough, instead of using your own device and equipment that you are familiar with all habits and where its buttons are, even allowing you to take action without looking at it or under no light. Especially with the equipment requiring more time to get use to its working principles, such as BCD, dive computer and fins will be in the top of your list when you become confident on diving and decide buying your own equipment.
Your muscle memory knows only your own equipment.

Tools for Diving

As I made things little bit more clear above, this 3 criteria is pretty important. Therefore, for beginners it will be wise to have them on their own. Now let’s probe them better.

-Mask, Half Mask

            Scuba divers usually use half mask these days. Because of availability and mobility of using the regulator in the mouth, it is the most preferred type.

            A mask will protect your nose and your eyes, from penetration of water underwater pressure and help you to see underwater brightly.
            Half facemask’s rubber seals create negative pressure inside your face and prevent water coming through. As deep as you go, pressure increases and protects better. Of course, it can be disturbing after some limits and just giving small breath out inside the mask will equalize the pressure and make you feel more comfortable.

-Fins and Boots

            Fins are like a pair of rudder, help you to direct yourself and gain speed with your body strength to make way underwater. There are two types of fins:

            The one above is the one called Full-Foots; Full-Foot is mostly considered suitable for beginners, because it doesn’t require wearing any boots additionally. However in cold waters, it can be uncomfortable.

            This type is the one called Open- Heels, which allows you to wear boots inside, arrange the stiffness on the heels so it won’t go off under high current effect, and more easy to remove from its stripes. For all those reasons, it is the most preferred one for professional divers.


            Regulator is the essential device and the first reason why this diving is “scuba”. Regulator’s first stage part (No1) helps you to “regulate” the high air pressure inside the bottle and reduce it to the level which you can breathe in atmospheric pressure through primary second stage (No2), the one you put your mouth to get the air.

            It has also one alternate second stage (No3) as spare, the one you carry for your diving buddy, in case of any emergency, you can make them breathe from your bottle until you reach safe place above the surface.
First stage of the regulator is also connects bottle pressure and depth gauges on to your system, we will get back to that on Gauges title.

-Wet / Dry Suits

            There are different kinds of suit types for diving. Dry-types, as befits the name, prevents water coming through inside, so you will be protected from being wet, which allows you to wear something inside the suit, to keep you warm in cold waters.

            Other one and most common type is wet-suits. Wet suits are water permeable and they protect body parts from the friction of the equipment, reefs, or any allergic reaction against some underwater creatures. They have different thickness availabilities to protect the diver against cold water and instant temperature changes up to some point, by creating warm water interface between your body and suit, but it is not permanent and effective under dramatically temperature changes.

            Next article, we will continue with other essential equipment and their area of usages.

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How to Dive?

            As soon as reaching 10 years old, everyone is free to dive, as long as they are healthy and fit enough to dive. Either you can “meet” with this world with a quick “discover” dive, without any certification, or you can “free dive” with one breath, letting yourself free from any equipment, or feel free from pressure of losing your breath and get the utmost pleasure with scuba diving. Because believe me, you will see astonishing things which will take your breath away, more than once!

Types of Diving

Discovery Dive

            This type is, if only you are a non-diver but you want to see what is going on underwater. It is clear that you can’t just take the equipment and go directly. For this, you need to take necessary minimum briefing for essential points of diving with a guide.

            An experienced instructor as guide leads discovery dives up to 5 meters. Because, in case of any unexpected circumstance, this is the safest depth to end the dive and to proceed to the surface immediately. Since discovery dives are for uncertified and inexperienced people, caution is crucial.

Steps of safe discovery dive;

-Briefing about important rules
-Familiarization with equipment to be used
-Never leave the instructor and always follow the rules.

As much as you obey the rules, you will always get the best.

Certified Scuba Diving

            Maybe you were so impressed by underwater beauties after your first discovery diving, or you have always wanted to be a diver. It is time for you to get your certificate and start diving all around the world. Scuba diving, other than discovery dives, requires certification. You will start from first level and get higher as much as you complete your dives and theoretical trainings. On scuba diving, you need more complex equipment to sustain yourself underwater. That is why you need be trained properly to get awareness for the basic physical, mental and scientific requirements.

Free Diving

            Comes from its name, it makes you free from some equipment, as long as you have strong lungs to keep you below the surface. That is why, free divers should train themselves with strict mental and physical therapy to feel ready for very deep dives, which is even sometimes dangerous for scuba divers. Once you have proper readiness, you will free from everything, when you are underwater.

Technical Diving

            After 40 meters, recreational diving ends. Requirements for diving, equipment to be used, air you breath and mental readiness change below this limit. That is why; this type of diving is only suitable for experienced divers. Divers go down below the limits because they want to discover wrecks, biological researches, and sometimes for underwater repair jobs of the oil platforms… etc.

Types of Certificates for Divers (other than instructors)

            Although there are many types of diving certification standards in the world, international and well-known types are CMASS, SSI and PADI. All certifications are basically same. For each certification you need to prove both theoretical and practical experiences required for each types.


            Expansion of CMASS is “Confederation Mondiale Des Activites Subaquatiques” means World Underwater Federation built on 1959 in Monaco. As diver, other than instructors, there are 3 levels available.

            1* Open Water Diver – Diving up to 18 meters with an accompany of an instructor. After completing 25 dives, you have right to train for 2 Stars. These trainings help you to understand basics of the equipment you use, diving risks and how to eliminate them and take the proper actions under simple emergency situations.

            2* Open Water Diver – Diving up to 30 meters which is considered as deep dive and 40 meters with deep water diver specialty. Two 2* divers can dive together without any supervision of another instructor. They are expected to have basic awareness on rescue techniques, navigation and perfection on buoyancy.

            3* Open Water Diver – Diving up to 56 meters, however utmost caution must be considered because of potential hazards start after sportive limits. 3* divers are considered as assistants who are expected to be future instructors. That is why they should reach their full potential on buoyancy techniques, navigation and rescue techniques, during their 3* period before staring their level upgrade courses.


            Scuba Schools International was built on 1970 by Bob Clack. These days, it is considered as one of the best certification system in the diving community.

            Open Water Diver – This is the first step for your diving experience as a certified diver. Now you will be able to dive down to 18 meters with a companionship of an instructor. After getting 2 specialties and completing 12 successful dives, you can participate training to upgrade your certificate.

            Advanced Open Water Diver / Specialty Diver – With this certificates, you will be able to dive up to 30 meters with your another advanced open water diver or higher certified buddy. For further upgrades, you should complete at least for 4 specialties and 24 successful dives with theoretical trainings and 2 specialties with 12 dives for the Specialty Diver certificate.

            Master Diver – Being a Master Diver in SSI is one of the most prestigious level a diver can reach. To be able to reach this level, you have to be qualified on 5 more specialties with 50 successful dives.


            Expansion of PADI is “Professional Association of Diving Instructors” founded on 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson. It has its own type of certification and specifications than others. PADI is the most popular one among many scuba centers in the world.

            For every candidate over 10 years old, there are some certifications related to environmental awareness, over 12 years old, additional to the previous ones, there are things more about diving. After 15 years old, you can start as an advanced diver with below certifications;            Level 1 Supervised Diver – Again, It is considered that divers know the basics of diving and they supposed to be supervised by an instructor or they can dive with a group of advanced divers.

            Level 2 Autonomous Diver – A diver who can dive between 18-30 meters with 3 elective certified specialties (you can choose and have the necessary trainings from the catalogue of PADI trainings) and good understanding on underwater diving.

            Level 3 Divemaster – A divemaster is expected to have effectiveness on Advanced Open Water Diver + Rescue Diver + 5 elective specialties more. Divers want to be a divemaster should have at least 50 successful dives.

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Why Should You Dive?

            Many people want to dive but only few people have this courage to follow this desire. Mostly, many concerns about safety, phobias, non-suitable economical conditions stop people pursuing their dreams.

            Usually travellers consider whole world only consist of things from above the surface where you can see with naked eyes. However, in the other %80 of this blue sphere, there is amazing and astonishing side of our known world, which we can discover endlessly behind the diving mask. Water creates its own environment, and it is way different than air does.

It is totally safe,

            Never get stuck with stereotypes about diving. Ask someone who actually dives. All of them will always say same thing; “It is the safest sport in the world!”

            Like hammerhead sharks, their look is the scariest one but they are the calmest ones among many animals. You would know this fact better if you were a diver. So, this is another reason why you should never believe in things, without experiencing that, at first hand.

            Of course, unless you follow the rules as it suppose to be without extending them by your own heard… There are very simple facts and rules to keep in mind. As long as you follow them strictly, every training and equipment with you will be your safeguards during your experience underwater.

-Swimming in an aquarium with ravishing colors,

            Just consider the colors you have met in world and get read to see more underwater. All around the world, there are thousands of dive sites and each of them better than the other. Some places, colorful fishes and reefs with corals are more, then the water density around, which makes the dive site like a carnival. Sometimes only thing you should do is hit the fins and watch the beauty flows around you. Of course, different colors are not the only thing you will face. Some of them will be chatoyant or transparent, which makes you lose your mind because you can’t believe if this kind of creature can be alive!

            Shapes of their body, quantity of their legs, eyes, tentacles and harmony between them will impress you and it will definitely change the way to see the world you have been living so long.

-Feeling like you are in space,

            Since you were born, probably you haven’t experience how it feels not being exposed to gravity, ever. Well, you can go to some expensive simulators or you can try to be an astronaut and NASA will give you this experience eventually. Whereas, you can leave yourself to the blue sea and you can conquer the gravity with your equipment. You will learn how to control the air with you like an Airbender. Believe me, coolest thing ever!


            How many of us are able to find the perfect silence in the city atmosphere? Sometimes, you just want to be alone, just to relax, keep your precious brain away from all those tiring and unnecessary voice disturbing you on your work, in your house, sometimes even between your friends. This very hard thing to find is not that hard just after couple of centimeters below the surface. Such a silence that even your thoughts can start being very noisy after some point. You can let things slide and enjoy the underwater therapy on your consciousness. Let the blue miracle distract you for a while, away from everything, like changing the dimension…

-Alone but together,

            It is a matter of being a member of a team of trust. Your diving buddy is also your extra air tank, if you have cramp in your body, she/he will be the one who’s going to be with you and help you. If you get lost, they are the ones who will find you. Consider there is another a pair of eyes looking after you.

            On the big teams with group of buddies with a leader in front and securities behind, you always feel safe. Divers are one of the most attentive sportsmen who have high sense of responsibility both on themselves and on their friends. Because they know that, as much as they take care of themselves, they make a contribution to sustain the group harmony and they always watch over not only their buddies but other buddies in the group. Divers always think bigger, away from selfishness.


            For every sportive activity, physical fitness is essential to be able to continue doing that sport perfectly. At the beginning, you are required to align your buoyancy similar to the zero gravity environments, which eliminates the pressure on your spine and your joints. This process reduces chronic back and joint pains. Beside of this, every time you hit the fins, your muscles and tendons stretch effectively, because there is no body weight pressure stresses them. On the other hand, edema in your body drains under water pressure and cleans your body and relives pressure on your organs and joints. Of course, very important, this process makes you lose a lot of water. So, you have to put necessary water for your kidneys back by drinking good quantity of water.

-Exploring new spaces

            No matter how much you dive in one point, dive sites are changing and evolving environments for each season and also within the time. Each time you dive, you will discover new things and find new diversity to witness. That is why, you will never get bored even if you dive at the same point frequently.

Complete travels, under and above the water.

            During your travels, you will have chance to see whole beauties of that place, surrounded by both air and clear waters… Many waterside countries have diving points available. And in case of natural beauties, some of them have the ones even better than they have in the shore side. Leaving that country without seeing its underwater affluences might be a huge loss in your experience.

Lifetime passion

            Because it includes sport, socializing and travel, after some time, you can find yourself planning your life schedule for your new diving trips, saving money for LiveAboard diving trip weeks. From the equipment which divers use, to the biological awareness, which you will develop in your world of interest, diving world will improve your life and you will feel the transformation it in your blood.

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