Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Underwater Comunication


Diving allows an opportunity to be with our own thoughts and provides the peace necessary to stop and appreciate the natural beauty of the world around us.

Part of the underwater world’s charm is its relative silence, the opportunity that it gives us to escape from the incessant ringtones and alarms of life on land. That we can’t communicate as we usually do can also pose problems underwater. Your entry-level scuba course would have taught you basic hand signals to convey important messages underwater signals are the backbone of a recreational diver’s underwater communication, and the longer you dive, the more intricate and elaborate your repertoire will become.

This is a simply overview of some of the most commonly used underwater hand signs. 

The "Okay" Signal
The first hand signal that most scuba divers learn is the "Okay" hand signal. Is made by 
joining the thumb and index fingers to form a loop, and extending the third, fourth, and fifth fingers. This signal can be used as both a question and a response. The "Okay" signal is a "demand-response" signal, meaning that if one diver asks another diver if he is okay, he mustrespond with either an "Okay" signal or the communication that something is wrong. The "Okay" hand signal should not be confused with the "Thumbs-up" signal, which in scuba diving means "end the dive."

The "Not Okay" or "Problem" Signal
Scuba divers communicate a problem by extending a flattened hand and rotating it slowly side to side, similarly to how many people signal "so-so" in a normal conversation. A diver communicating a problem underwater should then point to the source of the problem using his index finger.
The most common use of the "Problem" hand signal is to communicate an ear equalization problem.
The "Up" or "End the Dive" Hand Signal
A "Thumbs-Up" sign in scuba diving communicates "Up" or "End the Dive". This should not be confused with the "Okay" signal. The "Up" signal is one of the most important signals in scuba diving. The Golden Rule of Scuba Diving states that any diver can end the dive at any point for any reason by using the "Up" signal. This important dive safety rule ensures that divers are not forced beyond their comfort level underwater.
The "Down" Hand Signal
The "Thumbs-Down" hand signal communicates "go down" or "descend" underwater. This signal should not be confused with the "not-okay" hand signal used to indicate a problem. The "Down" signal is used in the first step of the Five Point Descent, in which divers agree that they are prepared to begin the descent.
The "Stop" Hand Signal
Divers typically communicate "Stop" in one of two ways. The first method of communicating "Stop" (common in Recreational Diving) is to hold up a flat hand, palm forward, as shown in the left. Technical Divers, however, favor the "Hold" sign, shown on the right, made by extending a fist with the palm-side of the fist facing outwards. The "Hold" sign is a demand response signal; a diver who signals "Hold" to his buddies should receive a "Hold" sign in return, indicating that his buddies have understood the signal and agree to stop and hold their position until otherwise indicated.
The "Level Off" Hand Signal
The "Level Off" hand signal for scuba diving is use to communicate "remain at this depth" or "maintain this depth." The "Level Off" signal is most commonly used to communicate that divers have reached the planned maximum depth for a dive, or to communicate that divers should hold previously designated depth for a safety or decompression stop. The "Level Off" hand signal is made by extending a flattened hand, palm down, and slowly moving it side-to-side horizontally.
The "Buddy Up" or "Stay Together" Hand Signal
A diver places two index fingers side-by-side to indicate "Buddy-Up" or "Stay Together". Scuba diving instructors use this hand signal to remind student divers to stay close to their buddies. Divers also occasionally use this signal to reassign buddy teams underwater. For example, when two divers in a group are low-on-air and ready to ascend, they may communicate "we'll stay together and ascend" using the "Buddy Up" hand signal.
The "Safety Stop" Hand Signal
The "Safety Stop" hand signal is made by holding the "Level Off" signal (a flat hand) over three raised fingers. A diver is indicating "Level Off" for three minutes (signified by the three fingers), which is the minimum recommend time for a safety stop. The safety stop signal should be used on every dive to communicate within the dive team that the divers have reached the pre-determined safety stop depth and agree to maintain that depth for a minimum of three minutes.
The "Low-On-Air" Hand Signal
The "Low-On-Air" hand signal for scuba diving is made by placing a closed fist against the chest. In general, this hand signal is not used to indicate an emergency, but to communicate that a diver has reached the pre-determine tank pressure reserve for his dive. Once a diver communicates that he is "Low-On-Air," he and his buddy should agree to make a slow and controlled ascent to the surface and end the dive by using the "Up" signal.
The "Out-Of-Air" Hand Signal
The "Out-Of-Air" signal is taught to all Open Water Course and Experience Course students so that they know how to react in the unlikely event of an out-of-air emergency. The chances of an out-of air emergency when scuba diving are extremely low when proper Pre-Dive Checks and diving procedures are observed.
Hand signals are generally international, but it’s always wise to make sure you, your buddy and the divemaster are on the same page. Understanding one another is imperative if a dive is to run smoothly, and can make all the difference in an emergency. 

Learn the signals used by local divemasters to describe local wildlife; often the more local animal signals are not universal and you could miss out on an exciting sighting if you don’t know what the divemaster is saying.

And remember to dive fun, dive safe and dive with Phantom Divers.

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