Scuba Diving Communications

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Manuel doing Underwater Communications - Hand & Light Signaling - Dayo Scuba - Orlando, Florida
Last Update 25 January 2007

Communication is the way people relay messages to each other or the ability to share information.  Oral communication is a very common way of expression, but there are other ways to communicate. It is imperative in diving that we have a variety of ways to communicate with others in our underwater world.

To effectively communicate underwater, you must first start before the dive to learn the many forms of hand and body posture. In some situations, like technical and cave diving, you can even communicate by touch and light signals.

Despite very comprehensive pre-dive discussions and planning, issues can arise during a dive. Examples include the need to check a partnerís air supply, to tell them to go a certain direction, crisis situation (like they have a leak), or to simply signal to see if they are okay.  To end a dive requires one of the most basic of hand signals, the ĎGo Upí or end the dive hand signal -- the thumbs up.

There are many hand signals you could learn, but some are deemed more important or more appropriate for diving. Hand signals meanings can vary by agency and area, kind of like the many different oral languages.  As long as you and your dive buddies use the same signals, your communication efforts will be better than trying to communicate with someone who has a different 'signal' vocabulary. 

You can find and learn more about underwater communications and hand signals from professional divers, online resources, and manuals.  You should learn and coordinate your hand signals with all your dive buddies as well.  We will display multiple video clips for many of the underwater signals to show you variances in them as well as putting them to use with other signals.

It is not the intention of Dayo Scuba and those that created and contributed to this page to make you experts in underwater communications; by merely by viewing this site, but we do hope to improve and broaden your underwater communications skills. Nothing can replace practicing underwater communications with your dive partners.

Dive Safe!

Demand Signals  |  Basic Signals  |  Counting/Numbers  |  Surface Signals  |  Light Signals  |  Comments/Credits 

Signals Index
( Jumps to the top of the select page )

Demand / Command 

Danger   End the Dive   Freeze   Go Up   Hold 

Basic / General

Okay  Air Pressure   Backup   Big bubbles (big leak)   Boat   Buddy   Ceiling   Cold   Come Here   Cut   Decompression   Dizzy   Do again   Donít Know   End Activity/Exercise   Entanglement   Fish   Forget it   Gauges   Go Faster   Go Over   Go down   Hover   *I*   Level Off   Light   Lights Off   Lights On   Line   Look   Low on Air   Me   Narced (Narcosis)   No   Out of Air   Problem   Question   Reel   Repeat it   Restriction   Safety Stop at 15'/3m    Share Air   Shark   Silt (bottom composition)   Slow Down   Stop   Stop Communicating/'talking'   Stuck   Swim/Fin   Tie Off (referring to line)   Top   Turn Around   Wreck   Write it out   You 


Help Surface   Okay Surface 


Lights Attention   Lights Emergency   Lights Okay


Zero (0)   One (1)   Two (2)   Three (3)   Four (4)   Five (5)   Six (6)   Seven (7)   Eight (8)   Nine (9)   Counting 1 thru 9   Twenty Seven (27)

    Want a copy of this?  A DVD is available for $24.00.  Click Here for the Order Form. Florida Residents add 6.5% Sales Tax.

Dayo Scuba, Orlando. Hand Signals for Underwater Communications.

This page is a 'work in progress' project of sorts, so if you have any comments, ideas, or contributions (video clips), please contact us at

If sending us video clips, any format is fine, we'll convert, but be sure to include your name for the credits below.



Produced by Dayo Scuba, Orlando, Florida


Actors, Editors & Lighting Help
( Alphabetically Listed )

Simon & Paul from UK, Brooke Adrian, Andy Altizer, Denise Bryne, James DeMichael, Dan Higbee, Tom Johnson/TJ, Julie Kivett, Conrad McMullan, John Morris, Brendan Obrien, Rick Palm, Robert Rosell, Manuel Schramm, Allison Simons, Johannes Smit, Anthony Tedeschi, Olivia Vasquez, Jennifer Zepeda


Locations in Florida

Springs on the Wekiva River, Springs on the Suwannee River, Atlantic Ocean near West Palm Beach, Crystal River, Eva Woodward's Pool, Florida Technical's Pool



Cave Diver's Forum
National Association for Cave Diving - NACD -
NACD's Hand Signals
National Speleological Society - Cave Diving Section -
NSS CDS' Hand Signals

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