Communication plans therefore become important both for safety and enjoyment. Different types of signal might send different messages. A single tap on the cylinder, metal to metal, might mean ‘come and see’, whereas continuous taps of three might indicate an emergency. These signals need to be agreed in advance of the dive so both parties are ‘speaking the same language’.
So, now you have the attention of your buddy and they are looking at you quizzically – what now? Scuba diving has a language all of its own (well, not entirely true but for the purposes of this article, the statement will suffice). For example, thumb and index finger forming a circle with the other three fingers spread out asks the question, “OK?” The same gesture back answers “OK.” Other gestures communicate different responses such as ‘not OK’, ‘go up’, ‘go down’ and so forth. The creatures you see under the oceans also have signs and it can sometimes be amusing trying to figure out what has been spotted if you are not familiar with the signal, or if the creature is well camouflaged or particularly small!
Having a common understanding of this language again enhances the enjoyment and safety of the dive. No more post dive “Did you see that cool flounder hiding in the sand?” receiving the abrupt response of “No.”
Now we get “Wasn’t that amazing to see the shoal of barracuda just off Turtle Reef!”
Going back to our original premise – although verbal communication may be impractical and possibly undesired underwater, hopefully we have convinced you that communication is a key skill in scuba diving.
So, all in all, you may not be listening to your other half, but you are probably hearing an awful lot more!