We have heard several times about how important communication is. An effective communication is when we can get our point across to singular or multiple people and said receiver can understand your point clearly. On land, we communicate mainly using our mouth, speaking using our voices in languages. But what if you are 15 meters underwater with regulator in your mouth supplying oxygen, you noticed a rare marine creature, and want to share the experience with your diving buddy? Obviously, you can’t talk and even if you take off the regulator, human voice doesn’t exactly travel well underwater. What do you do then? You use hand signs.
Clear line of communication is even more important underwater than it is on land. If it is done wrong, a lot of confusion can rise and considering you are underwater, being confused would be a very bad situation to be in. You can use hand signals to establish a communication line with your diving buddies or you can use slates to write down your message. Signals are always responded, usually with an ok, so that both or multiple buddies know that they have successfully communicated.
When using hand signals underwater, they are usually done in front of the chest and generally require a response from whom you are communicating. They should be performed clearly, positively and strongly. Lethargic, slow or inappropriate signals could be an indication that something is wrong. Be sure to shine your torch on your hand signals during night dives. Of course, never shine the torch in other diver’s eyes, else you will damage their night vision for some time. Attract attention by moving the light beam from side to side preferably within your buddies’ field of vision.
During your first diving trip or open water classes, you might be taught basic hand signals to indicate various things such as ok, problem, ascend, descent, et cetera. But hand signals are not only to communicate how you are doing but also to inform the other divers of marine creatures nearby, either interesting or dangerous. Here are some that we raked up for you:
Of course, marine creatures are extensively variative, the signs above didn’t cover all sea life. Don’t worry, there are some more signs to learn. We still have some marine life hand signs under our sleeve which we will share with you on our next blog. Stay tuned!
Photos: David Clode, Brian Yurasits, Francesco Ungaro, Dan Seddon, Simon Deblock, Preston London, Wexor Tmg, Kris Mikael Krister, Rod Long, Dorothea OLDANI, Hong Kong’s Napoleon Wrasse Complex, Bryan Burgos, Florian Olivo ,Wolfgang Hasselmann,