Generally, if divers need help, they signal for it. Sometimes, divers can have minor problems that they can correct themselves. You can ask them if they are OK when you see them doing something out of the ordinary.
Divers with serious problems will be noticeably panicky. Panicked divers may fear drowning and exhibit the following behaviors:
- Struggling to hold their heads high above the water, using lots of energy in their movement
- Forgetting to establish positive buoyancy
- Spitting out the mouthpiece
- Taking their masks off or shoving the masks to the top of their heads
- Breathing rapidly
- Taking no notice of instructions
These divers require immediate help because they will continue to struggle until they become exhausted and unable to stay afloat.
Note: As a novice diver, it is recommended that you do not endanger yourself when trying to assist a panicking diver. Do not make a bad situation worse by needing to be rescued yourself. Be cautious. Remember that, on the surface, establishing buoyancy is key. Drop the weights when in doubt.