D FOR DIVING, ecodives

Hand signals for SCUBA Diving

Conveying what we thought to share, there are several modes of communication medium are been used. Certain are as you by speaking the languages, writing, or even by our tiny expression in our face or by a cute smile. While coming back to Diving, these speaking skills won’t applies for obvious reasons. So to overcome that a standard Hand Signals protocol is been follows.


  • Are You OK ?

It’s the most popular and common signal in SCUBA Diving, while learning the diving course or in the very first dive, this signal must be strikes at mind. This signal can be used as both a Question and a Response. The “OK” sign is a Demand-Response signal. While in diving, if your buddy asks you, “Are you OK?” then we must respond with either “OK” signal in return as a communication, or not its means something wrong.

Are you OK?

Join the Thumb and Index fingers to form a Loop and extend the Third, Fourth. At our first dives, it happens that while asking “Are you OK?”, may chances for we signals them back as Thumbs-Up as OK, but in diving its means “Ends the Dive”. So keep that always in mind.

  • OK at Surface Water
Ok @ Surface Water

Before descending to blue waters, while jump from the boat to water, it’s important to communicate with the fellow divers and the peoples in the boat that you’ve made it in the water Safely. Sign is made by joining both arms in a ring above the head, or if only one arm is free, by touching the top of the head with the fingertips. To indicate a problem the diver waves his arm overhead to call for attention.

  • DOWN

After safely entering in to water & checking the fellow divers are OK, then a Thumbs-Down hand signal showing “Go Down” or “Descend” to water world.

  • UP
UP/ End the Dive

Along the other signals, this is one among the important one, a diver can conclude the dive at any time by pointing at this signal for any reason. Dive can’t be done in any force, when ever we feels comfort we are free to to end the dive. Like OK signal, this is also a Demand-Response signal.


Buddy system is the most reliable plan in the SCUBA Diving. When goes to diving, team lead always shown these signals to the rest, “Always Stay Together”, “Stay with your Buddy”. “Look at Me”, “Come Here” etc.

  • Write it Down
Write it Down

When all other communications fails, sometimes divers communicates by writes down in wet notes or in under water slates, or this is also applicable in whether in a scientific survey, in that its mandatory to writes down the observed organisms and their activities. This signal is made by pantomiming that one hand is a writing surface and other hand is writing with a Pen.


  • NOT OK
Not OK

While went to diving, it’s natural that we feel uncomfortable may be because of equalization, leakage of air or sometimes unwanted stress, if anything like happens we have to inform with our buddy by showing Not Ok sign, by extending a flattened hand and rotating it slowly side to side, then point to the source of problem by using index finger.

  • Low/ Out of Air

To make this emergency signal, place a flat hand across your throat in a slicing position and move back and forth. Or tighten your fist and place on your chest position. This is done when air supply is finishes or completely cutoff, and treat this as a emergency response, then Buddy should share his/her alternate air source regulator, and both divers ascend together for safety.

  • Bubbles/ Leak

This signal communicates when a diver noticed a leaks in the gear on her/himself or their buddy’s. For getting their attention, by showing Open and close your fingertips rapidly. Then you must End the Dive and slowly ascend to surface for safety.

  • Deco/Decompression
Deco/ Decompression

If any need for a decompression stop, divers use this signal by using two ways, either with an extended pinkie or with an extended pinkie and thumb. This signal is useful in when diver is accidentally exceeds their no-decompression limit and then after communication it needed for a emergency deco stop.

  • Slow Down

While in our first diving, our state of curiosity will be high, our diving movement will be then fast and uncontrolled and also failing to looks our buddy diver. So for that case”Slow Down” signal is needed for remembering to swim normally, enjoy the dive peacefully and also helps in keeping precautions and steadiness in diving. this signal is demonstrated as, hand is held out flat and motioned downwards.





So lovely greatness & thankful to two Beautiful ladies, my dearest best Friend Merin Mathai & dear Christi Elezabeth.  

Scientific courtesy : The scuba site dot com; VD divers dot net; Thoughtco dot com; Sportdiver dot com

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