5 Dive Signs You Need to Know

5 Dive Signs You Need to Know

As you prepare for a dive, it’s important to do a safety check before you take the plunge. But this doesn’t just mean surveying your equipment. You should also review expectations and important rules that are essential to follow once you’re below the surface. Go over your dive plan with your buddy, and make sure you’re both on the same page. Review hand signals to make sure you’re both prepared to communicate clearly during the dive. Looking for a refresher? Here are five dive signs you need to know for your next underwater adventure.


Dive sign, I'm ok

“I’m OK” or “Are you ok?”

This signal is used at the surface before or after you’ve completed your dive. When you’re too far away to give a simple “ok” hand gesture, this large signal will let others know that you’re not in distress. This sign can also be used on the other end of the communication. Make the same sign to ask another diver “are you ok?”


Dive sign, level off

“Level off”

Before your dive, you should have gone over your plan with your buddy and agreed upon the specifics of depth and direction. To indicate that you’re at depth and should level off, place your hand with your palm facing down and move it from side to side while keeping your palm level. This will tell you’re dive buddy that it’s time for a decompression stop, or that you’ve reached maximum depth.


Dive sign, turn around

“Let’s turn around”

If you’ve reached the end of your dive and it’s time to head back to your starting point, simply put your index finger up in the air and swirl it in a circular motion. This will tell your dive buddy that it’s time to turn around.


Dive sign, i'm cold

“I’m cold”

Not only is diving while you’re cold unenjoyable, it can also increase your chances of Decompression Sickness and make you more exhausted, depleting your oxygen. If you’re too cold, make sure to tell your dive buddy of the problem by crossing your arms and rubbing them with your hands. You may need to ascend to a shallower depth to keep your body warm.


Dive sign, I'll follow you

“You lead, I’ll follow”

This also works if you’d rather be the leader. To signal to your dive buddy who should lead the way, point to whomever you want to lead, then make that the hand in front. With your other hand, point to the other person, and place it directly behind the leading hand.


There are plenty of other dive signs that come in handy when you’re diving; these are just a few of the most commonly-used gestures. Be sure to brush up on all your dive signs as a safety precaution before you descend below the surface.



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