If you have ever practiced diving or would like to do it, you cannot go into the sea without at least knowing the basic dive signals to communicate.

Whether you want to dive professionally or recreationally, knowing these signs is a must. They have the great advantage that They allow you to communicate with any other diver from any other part of the world.

18 diving signs you should know

It is important to know the signals to express actions and situations before starting the dives In order to communicate with other colleagues and help if required, a signal can save lives.

Are international signals, which are endorsed by the Recreational Diving Training Council, which have recognized a series of signs as of universal use.



For ascend a few meters or rise to the surface, you should make a fist and lift your thumb, emphasizing that you need to go up, with upward movements.



If, on the contrary, you want descend a little more in your dive, you must make the signal down, making a fist and indicating the direction in which you want to go.

algo no va bien - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

Something is wrong

To indicate that do you have any problem, you must make a palm outstretched signal, fingers down and apart, swinging the hand back and forth on the axis of the forearm as shown in the picture

todo va bien

Everything is going well

To indicate that are you okay or ask your dive buddy if everything is okay, there are several signs for this purpose. The first one is by making a circle with the thumb and index finger, spreading the remaining fingers. If you are wearing gloves you can perform the same signal without extending your fingers.

Todo va bien - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving
Todo va bien - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

Everything is fine (for long distances)

These signals are used to indicate that everything is fine especially for long distances.

These signs indicate that everything is fine. It is the ok sign. It is visible from a long distance and used especially to communicate with the skipper of a boat. It can be done with two hands or with just one.

emergencia - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

Help! - emergency

To indicate a emergency, on long distance, you must move your arm from one side to the other in a way that attracts the attention of your companions. It is a call for help that will be visible from land or a boat.

With it you indicate that you had a problem during the dive and require urgent assistance.

parar - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving


Raising the palm of the hand we will make the universal sign of stop, from stop, either to wait for some colleagues, to show us something we should see or to start the ascent.

desconocimiento - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

I dont know! - ignorance

Another of those universal signs that are not only understood underwater. Any question that your partner or divemaster asks you and you do not know the answer you can answer with that gesture, raising your shoulders and with the palms of your hand facing upwards. Yes, this gesture is not applicable when he asks you about your air or where is your partner, since those answers must always be known.

necesito aire - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

I need air!

A sign can save your life, never forget. One of the most important signals is the give me air, which we hope you never have to use but you must know for your safety and that of your colleagues. It is done by bringing the fingers together and bringing them to the mouth requesting air from a partner.

no me queda aire - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

I have no air left!

Still more imperious is the sign of without air, since this means that you are in serious trouble, so you require that a partner helps you and helps you rise to the surface.

To do it, place your hand in front of you, with the hand facing downwards and simulating a cut at the height of the chest or neck, which means that you have no air.

no puedo compensar - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

I can't compensate!

One of the most common problems during dives is lack of compensation from one of your ears, so it takes time to recover. To indicate this little problem to your classmates, just point one of your ears with a finger so that your classmates will understand that you need a few minutes to compensate.

dar la vuelta - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

Turn around

When the dive guide wants to tell us to turn around lift your index finger and rotate it in circles. It will usually show it to you when the dive starts and ends in the same place and one of the divers has consumed half the air in their tank.

For unmotivated dive instructors and guides this signal also means 15 minutes, half the dive.

frío - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

I'm cold!

Another universal sign that doesn't require much explanation. Diving in the cold is uncomfortable and unpleasant and may require ending the dive early.

te queda aire - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

How much air do you have left?

Sign of the most common since it is usually use on every dive. It is important to control how much air your partner has left in case he will not forget to take control. This will save you from having to use any of the other signals mentioned above.

With the index and middle fingers, tap the palm of the hand to ask the partner how much air is left in the bottle.

mitad de la botella - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

I have half the bottle left

Forming a T with both hands we will show that we have reached 100 bars and, therefore, we have half the air in the bottle and it's time to turn around. It is just like the sign time-out in sports like basketball and comes from English time-up.

reserva de aire - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

I have the reserve of the bottle!

With the fist closed and raised to the height of the head we will show our partner that we only have 50 bars of pressure left, we have entered the air reserve of the bottle.

sujetos - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

Subjects, keep your hands together

Putting both hands together and holding them, we comment to the companions (this will usually be a signal from the divemaster) That hold by the hands.

This signal will be made when some type of problem arises such as strong currents or poor visibility and it is necessary for the safety of the divers to maintain full contact.

Juntos - señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

Together, stick with your partner

This signal is made by bringing the index finger of each hand together and pointing straight ahead. With this sign will indicate that you have to go close to your partner.

Sometimes it is possible that the instructor, due to any problem, decides to change the diving partners and will point out two partners to later make this gesture of the image that indicates that these two divers have to go together.

Post images taken from Diving life

Señales de buceo - Cuba Blue Diving

The dive signals are a fundamental part when we want take a dive. Therefore, when diving it is necessary to know them well and know when to use them. 

There are different information sources about the different internationally approved diving signals.

We leave you an interesting website of Luis Galdeano, diving instructor where you can learn a little more about the diver communications: Diving signs by Luis Galdeano. In addition, as we know that you are curious, we invite you to read our post about the curiosities of diving that you cannot miss.

Diving curiosities

If you are interested in taking a dive or diving course (internationally certified by ACUC) Do not doubt contact us through any of our channels.

1 Comment

✅ Diving curiosities ✅ Cuba Blue Diving · 4 August, 2021 at 3:21 pm

[…] So this would save energy. The hands are only used to turn or to give basic dive signals once you are in the depths. 👌It is important to know the signs to […]

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