We all speak the same language underwater

As we can’t talk underwater, we use hand scuba signals to communicate instead.

Below are just a few of the most commonly used hand scuba signals.

Your dive leader will show you all the hand scuba signals you need to know prior to the scuba dive.


The most common hand scuba signal you will see is the “ok” signal.

This is a question and an answer.

It is important to respond if you are alright by giving an “ok” back every time your Scuba Instructor asks you.



If you have a problem, let your Scuba Instructor know straight away.

Rocking a hand from side to side on the axis of the forearm is the signal for “something is wrong”.

Your Scuba Instructor can see you but they can’t see how you’re feeling, so it’s important to point to the location of the problem as well.

For example, to tell them you have a problem equalising your ears, give the “problem” sign and then point to your ear.

“GO UP” 

The hand signal to “go up” is giving the thumbs up.

If you wish to return to the surface, tell your Scuba Instructor by giving them this sign.

They will bring you up to the surface safely, making sure you float once you get there. If you have a problem, it is preferable that you communicate the problem to your Scuba Instructor before asking to go to the surface, as Scuba Instructors can help you fix most problems underwater easily.


Some other commonly used hand signals are shown below:

scuba dive signal
scuba dive signal -down
scuba dive signal
scuba dive signal ears won’t clear
scuba dive signal watch me
scuba dive signal watch me
scuba dive signal Stop
scuba dive signal Stop




Other hand signals that you may be told about by your dive leader are hand signals to describe the marine life, such as the hand signal for “Turtle” “Shark” or “Nemo” for example.

The marine life will vary depending on where in the world you are diving – the hand signals of the creatures below are found diving Australia’s Great Barrier Reef:

scuba dive signal
scuba dive signal – turtle


The Great Barrier Reef is home to six out of the worlds seven species of marine sea turtle.


scuba dive signal clownfish
scuba dive signal clownfish

Anemones and their beloved Clown Fish thrive in the clear, rich waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef




scuba dive signal
scuba dive signal – shark


Harmless white and black tip reef sharks and graceful whaler sharks are a key attraction for visitors to the Great Barrier Reef.

Swimming with sharks is a wonderful experience and after doing so, you’ll have a new found respect for these beautiful animals.

Night time scuba dives are your best chance of seeing a shark.