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Scuba Signs For Safe Underwater Adventures

28 March 2024


Picture this. You are twenty-five meters below sea level, exploring a long coral reef, beautiful brain corals and webbed fans sway in the ocean currents. A few meters in front of you, you saw a sea turtle nab a jellyfish, chewing languidly as it glided smoother than any human could. A picturesque scene if there ever was one, right? Suddenly, something flashes across your vision and you twist around to see what it is. Thankfully, it's only your buddy, having been looking the other way while watching a school of fish. They look at you, head tilted slightly, and bring up a hand, pinching the thumb and forefinger. They're asking if you are okay. You bring up the same sign with your own hand, signaling that yes, you are fine and dandy. In fact…

This scene is something that happens all the time under water. Even if you can't speak, you still want to maintain good communication with your fellow divers at all time. It's not just a safety measure, it can help with sharing exciting information with your fellow divers. In the example above, if you wanted to share that you saw a Sea Turtle, and wanted to show them, how would you do it? What are the signs for Turtle and Come Here? The sign for Turtle is very intuitive, you simply place one hand over the other and rotate your thumbs at the side, like a turtle swimming. Come Here is even more simple, simply drawing a flat-palmed hand towards yourself. These simple signs, chosen and written up by Dave van Stijn and Mike Harterink, the owners of Scubaqua in St. Eustatius, make communicating underwater much easier though, and while some signs are fun, others, such as How Much Air Do You Have and Get With Your Buddy, are vital to remaining in control in the ocean.

These are PADI approved hand signals and its very important to know the basics so that you can convey the most important information to your dive buddies. Being able to ask Are You Okay, or How Much Air Do You Have is vital to keeping you and your friends safe. There are courses for these hand signals online, and you can always ask a PADI Scuba Master if you need a refresher. Some are funny, some are informative, and some are just a bit silly, but above all, these signals are a great way to communicate your needs, worries, and knowledge in a place that cuts off your voice. So the question is… what are your favorite Diving Hand Signals?