Divers need to communicate underwater and occasionally have special above-water signals. Good clear communication is important when diving. Methods of communication include the following:
- Hand signals
- Writing on slates or wet notes
- Banging on your cylinders
- Touching your buddy
- Revving of an engine by the skipper to recall divers
- Underwater sirens
- Surface floats or markers
To communicate with your buddy underwater, you first need to gain his or her attention by possibly waving, touching your buddy, or banging on your cylinder. Hand signals are generally the best way to communicate underwater, and you will start using this method in the confined water section of this course. On the surface, if you are a long way from the boat or shore, use a whistle or the dedicated hand signals to communicate with those farther away such as the skipper or surface support. You can also activate or inflate your surface marker buoy or signal tube.
Dive boats have a recall signal that the dive guide, skipper, or captain will inform everyone about. The recall signal could be revving the engines, banging on metal, or using an underwater siren. If you hear the recall signal, surface slowly away from the boat while looking up, establish positive buoyancy, and wait until the captain signals you to come to the boat.