What are the handsignals in diving?


In the case that you have practiced diving at some point, you have surely noticed the importance of communication under water. Both to guide us through the whole adventure and in relation to our safety. While it is true that in recent years, technology has experienced significant growth in this field. Providing a large number of options with which to guarantee the safety of all divers. The reality is that underwater communication with our hands is still essential. Here is a selection of some of the most outstanding ones.

Basic signals


  • Everything is Okay

It is always necessary to indicate to our colleagues that we have no problem and for this there are several signals that are used both to ask and to answer:


The first one consists of forming a circle with the index finger and thumb, extending the remaining fingers. In the case that you dive with gloves, you can carry out the same gesture, but without extending the rest of the fingers.







Another way to indicate that everything is okay is by placing a hand on top of your head. This signal is used mainly on the surface and when you have a busy hand, it is also more visible from a distance, making it useful for communicating with a ship.




The third way is to bring the tips of the fingers of both hands together above your head. This is also used mainly on the surface and to communicate remotely.






  • Something is wrong


When we dive it is vitally important to keep our partners informed of our status. In the event that something goes wrong, we must immediately indicate it to our partner by stretching one hand and swinging it from side to side without moving the elbow, after making this signal we must try to report what is not going well by pointing it out. For example, if you cannot compensate your ears, you should perform the hand movement and then point to one ear.



  • Ascend

GOING UP To indicate that we want to ascend, we must form a fist with the hand, leaving the thumb extended towards the surface and make small upward movements with our arm to make it more visible.






  • Descend


We signal the descent in a similar way to the ascent, but in the opposite direction. We must form a fist with the hand leaving the thumb extended towards the bottom and make small downward movements with our arm.






  • How much air do you have?

HOW MUCH AIRIt is important to keep our air under control, but we must also ask from time to time how much air our companions have. To do this we must extend a hand with the palm facing the surface and with two or three fingers (usually the index, middle and ring) of the opposite hand, give small touches on the palm of the hand.



  • Without air


In case you run out of air under the water, you should quickly tell your partner in the following way: place the tips of the fingers of one hand in front of the opposite shoulder with the palm of the hand facing the bottom and then move it towards the other shoulder, perform this movement a couple of times.





  • Share air


To indicate to another diver that you need him/her to share air with you, you must place a hand on the regulator and then bring it forward (as if you were blowing a kiss).





  • Stop

If you want to tell your partner to stop you should extend a hand with the palm facing him or her.

  • Turn around


When you want to warn that it is time to turn, you should use the following signal: form a fist with your hand, extend a finger towards the surface and turn it on its own axis.





  • Look!


One of the main reasons people dive is to discover the wonders of the underwater world, which means going with your eyes wide open. Therefore, this is a very common signal in diving, and it consists of forming a fist with your hand, extending the index and middle fingers, pointing to the eyes, and then pointing to the place you want the person to look.



  • I’m cold

Being cold during a dive is not only unpleasant, but also


it can cause illness. Therefore, it is important to inform your partner when you are cold, this is done by the following signal: place your right hand on your left forearm and your left hand on your right forearm (as if you were hugging yourself) and slide them up and down repeatedly.




  • Buddy


If you want to inform two divers that they are partners and therefore should stay together, you will have to use a signal consisting of: with one hand point to a diver and with the other point to his partner, then bring both fingers together by its sides.





  • Boat


This signal is used both to indicate the return to the boat and to warn of the presence of one, which can be dangerous in case of ascent. It is about placing both hands with the palms facing slightly towards the surface and bringing the little fingers of both together, leaving the thumbs apart.




  • Emergency on the surface

PROBLEM ON SURFACE In the event of an emergency, it is important to inform as soon as possible to receive the necessary help. When the emergency occurs on the surface, the signal to inform the boat, other divers or people who are on land consists of raising both arms and moving them to the sides, joining and separating the arms.




In the field of diving, communication is a fundamental element, which improves both the dive itself and our safety.

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