How Scuba Signals Change the way we Communicate on Land

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Written by Guest Blogger Alexandra Dimitriou

Ok scuba signal

Scuba signals keep us safe underwater. They help divers share the rare treasures they find, like a small nudibranch or a giant hammerhead, with barely more than a flick of the wrist.  Humorous hand signals are constantly evolving and keep a smile on our faces when we think of a new one.

But wait, there’s more.

Divers can’t stop signaling on land too!

Scuba diving is so vital to those of us who partake regularly that I have found that scuba signals are rarely left behind after we surface. It’s quite the opposite in fact. We can’t stop talking with our hands! From fingers which elaborate a favorite dive tale, to whole arms that flap about to get your point across, divers hands are never still.

It’s hilarious, it’s fun and it makes you feel like you’re in a secret club. Hand signals make us instantly identifiable to a fellow divers, I’ve made loads of friends this way, have you?

Non-diving diving lingo:

“Ok?”

Yep! – do the full two arm one meant for “ok” at a distance in a busy nightclub after spotting someone you have lost in the crowd for a while. It’s a quick way to keep your group together from afar while you’re strutting your stuff on the dance floor.

“Fancy a beer?”

A modified “awesome” signal moves towards your mouth repeatedly to signal that’s it’s beer o’clock. Great if the noise from a nearby compressor is making talking impossible.

“Hungry?”

Squeeze your fingers together like an excited Italian and point at your mouth a few times. Then gesture towards your favorite post dive food spot and raise your eyebrows.  Most divers will nod enthusiastically with very little encouragement – scuba builds one hell of an appetite after all!

“I’m going home”

Two hands above your head to look like a house is a quick nonverbal way to tell people that you’re going to make a move. It may seem rude to non-divers, but we love talking without talking and this will often be acknowledged by a gentle nod from your group.

“Look Look!”

Index and middle finger form a “v” pointing from your eyes towards the point of interest is a great signal both above and below the waves. On land however it’s an awesome way to point to something funny or a wicked sports car. I use this so much in my non-diving life it’s a wonder I don’t forget how to speak!

These are just a few signals that I use and have seen being used. Have you seen more? Do you use more? Tell us the how, what and why of your non-diving diver signals in the comments. I bet they’ll make us giggle!