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What You Should Know About Scuba Diving Hand Signals

Diver communications are the methods used by divers to communicate with each other or with surface members of the dive team. Usually these are known as scuba diving hand signals. 

Communication is important for safe scuba diving, hence with scuba diving hand signals, divers can convey a message to their buddies with the regulators in their mouths.

In professional diving, communication is usually between a single working diver and the diving supervisor at the surface control point. This is considered important both for managing the diving work, and as a safety measure for monitoring the condition of the diver. The traditional method of communication was by line signals, but this has been superseded by voice communication, and line signals are now used in emergencies when voice communications have failed. Surface supplied divers often carry a closed circuit video camera on the helmet which allows the surface team to see what the diver is doing and to be involved in inspection tasks. This can also be used to transmit hand signals to the surface if voice communications fails.

Recreational divers do not usually have access to voice communication equipment, and it does not generally work with a standard scuba demand valve, so they use other signals. Hand signals are generally used when visibility allows, and there are a range of commonly used signals, with some variations. These signals are often also used by professional divers to communicate with other divers. There are also a range of other special purpose non-verbal signals, mostly used for safety and emergency communications.

Check out this video for a demonstration.

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