Hands Signals to know when scuba diving

Ask any diver what they enjoy about scuba diving. Most will describe the absolute peace and tranquility of being at depth. Some will discuss the intense pleasure of not having to speak to anyone. So… how do you communicate with your buddies, dive master and other divers during a dive? Hand signals are the most common form of underwater communication. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones to know. 

OK / Are you okay?

I'm okay, are you okay?
Are you okay? It's a question and an answer when it comes to scuba diving signals

The OK signal is the most important signal when it comes to diving. The ok is both a question and an answer. Join the thumb and index fingers while extending your third, fourth and fifth finger. The thumbs up signal indicates to go upwards or the end of a dive. 

There's a problem

I have a problem.
There's a problem and point to where the problem is.

Have your palm flat and slowly move your hand from side to side, followed by where the problem is. Whether it's equalizing, your weight belt or something else, pointing out where the problem is will help your dive master, instructor or buddy to know what the issue is.

OK and problem at the surface 

An OK at the surface is done by joining your hands above your head and can be used to signal the boat or lookout that you’re doing OK. This can also be done using one hand depending how far you are from the boat or shore. A problem at the surface is signaled by waving both hands and yelling ‘help.’ 

Thumbs up or down 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thumbs up can signal to ascend or the end of a dive. When you see this signal, you should also signal thumbs up to show that you’ve understood it’s time to ascend. A thumbs down is used to signal that the diver should descend.

Look at me or look over there

A scuba instructor will point at their eyes then at themselves to show students that they should look at what they’re about to demonstrate. A dive master during a fun dive may point at their eyes then in a direction to show that people should look in that direction. 

Level off or stay at my level 

Used to tell other divers to maintain their depth. It’s commonly used when you’ve reached your planned maximum depth or to tell divers to hold their depth for safety reasons. Extend your palm and move it slowly from side to side horizontally. 

Buddy up 

If you’re too far from your buddy, you may be asked to buddy up. This is done by using both index fingers and placing them close together. 

Safety stop

A three minute safety stop at five meters is demonstrated by a flat open hand with your other hand below it indicating three. This means that divers should level off and start their safety stop. 

Decompression

The deco signal can be done by either raising a pinky or raising a pinky and thumb. This signal is used in the event that a diver has passed their no-decompression limit and to communicate the need for an extra safety stop. 

 Low on air

Once you’ve reached 50 bar or go into the red on your gauge, you should signal to all other divers that you are low on air. This is done by placing a fist in front of your chest. 

Out of air 

In the unlikely event that you run out of air during a dive and other buddies are close by. You can signal you have run out of air by moving a flat hand across your throat which indicates your air supply has been cut off. Your buddy should then give you their alternate and you can start to ascend. 

How much air do you have? 

Your dive master and buddies may ask you how much air you have during a dive so you can adjust your dive depending on how much air the group has left. This is done by placing your index and middle finger into the palm of your other hand and tapping. To signal half a tank, form a time-out with your hands, 50 bar is done with a closed fist. Each additional 10 bar is indicated with the fingers on your other hand. 

Stop/hold 

You may be asked to stop or hold a position. To indicate this, hold a flat hand pointing forward or hold your forearm up and make a closed fist. 

Come here 

An open hand and moving your fingers towards yourself in a beckoning motion is used to signal to other divers to come here. 

Now we've taken a look at some of the most popular underwater hand signals. What's your favourite one to use during a dive?


5 Tips for New Divers

Learning how to dive is one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world. Once you’ve completed your Open Water Course, what’s next? Let’s take a look at some of the best tips for new divers.

Practice, Practice, Practice  

Have you ever heard of the statement: “practice makes perfect?” When it comes to diving, this is very much the case. The more time you spend in the water, the more time you have to develop your skills. Working on your buoyancy, kicking technique and air consumption becomes easier the more time you spend in the water. Practicing the skills, you learn during your course will help keep them fresh in your mind. Find a buddy or dive club and take some time during a dive or between dives to work on your skills. Try not to leave it too long between doing the course and getting yourself in the water. 

 

Buy a Mask and Fins 

A properly fitted mask and a set of fins that do not give you blisters are the difference between a good dive and a dive you would rather forget. A mask that does not leak or fog will help you be able to see the wonderful marine life while diving. Comfortable fins will help you keep up with the rest of the group and not let you get tired. As you progress, you can start buying all the other types of dive equipment. If you’re considering buying a mask and fins, get in contact with us at Aura Divers, we’ll be happy to provide you with guidance and advice about different diving equipment and where to purchase it in Muscat, Oman. 

Drink Water 

Staying hydrated while diving is incredibly important. It can decrease your chances of getting decompression sickness. Drinking electrolytes is a fast and easy way to replenish after a dive. Be sure to drink water, before and after the dive, even at the end of the day. Keep drinking water!  

 

Learn how to control your buoyancy

So, you’ve done your Open Water Course but still tend to swim with your arms or rise up and down? Having good buoyancy is not about constantly inflating and deflating your BCD. Mastering your breath will automatically help you with your buoyancy. Being properly weighted and reacting to changes in depth are important. Using the dump valves on your BCD will help keep you horizontal while letting air out of your BCD. Learn from other divers and your future dive guides. In addition, observe how they position themselves in the water and swim, find a role model and try to copy what they do.  

 

Develop your Buddy Skills

Becoming a good dive buddy takes time. Learning how and when to interact with your buddy is important. Staying close during the dive and communicating with your buddy is vital. Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for your dive buddy in case they do need your house. If your buddy needs assistance or you can see something that may turn into a problem, you have the ability to help them and reduce the risks. Check on their air consumption and make sure you’re diving within your limits. Understanding your buddy’s limits can help you adjust the dive plan.

 

 

Becoming a good diver takes time and practice. Actively trying to become a better diver is important. With more time in the water, things that were once daunting become much easier. Remember to keep  learning and developing your skills as a diver. Consider taking further courses like the PADI Advanced Open Water course or a specialty like Peak Control Buoyancy or the Deep Diver course. 

Contact us at Aura Divers if you want to learn more tips to become a better diver or about diving in Oman

 


A whale shark swimming close to the surface

5 types of sharks you can dive with in Oman

5 types of sharks you can dive with in Oman 

Diving with sharks is an amazing experience. Most sharks are scared of humans and will swim away as soon as they see us. You can spot up to 10 species of sharks around Oman but let’s take a look at some of the most popular: 

 

blacktip sharks in Oman
Diving with blacktip reef sharks in Oman

Blacktip Reef Shark

The blacktip reef shark is a very skittish shark which poses no threat to humans. They can range from 1 to 3 meters in length. One of the most popular sharks to see while diving in Oman, you can find them at Seahorse Bay in Bandar Khayran and throughout the dive sites at Daymaniyat Islands

 

 

Whitetip reef shark while diving in Oman
A whitetip reef shark swimming

Whitetip Reef Shark

The whitetip reef shark is the most common shark to be found around the Arabian Gulf. You can usually spot them resting in caves. These sharks hunt at night so during the day, it's easy to find them resting in dark places. Average length is roughly 1.25 meters. 

 

 

Leopard shark at Daymaniyat Islands
A zebra shark at Daymaniyat Islands

Zebra Shark

Zebra sharks, otherwise known as Leopard sharks, live at Daymaniyat Islands. They are truly beautiful, with a long slender body, and an equally long tail. You can find them while resting on a sandy bottom. Leopard sharks eat clams, fish eggs, and shrimp and pose no threat to humans. 

 

 

A whale shark swimming close to the surface
Whale sharks in Oman

Whale Shark

Whale sharks are actually not whales at all and are actually a type of filter-feeder shark. From July to September, it’s common to find whale sharks at Daymaniyat Islands and Al Fahal Island. You can spot them while diving and snorkeling as they use their mouths to filter plankton from the water and remain close to the surface. 

 

Oman Bullhead Shark

The Oman Bullhead Shark lives around the central coast of Oman and Pakistan. The average length is 56cm. The chance of seeing an Oman Bullhead Shark while diving is very rare, but some divers have reported spotting these majestic sharks during a dive. Sadly, they caught as bycatch by fisherman and as a result, their population is significantly declining. 

 

Seeing a shark during a dive is an exhilarating experience for even the most accomplished diver. So what are you waiting for? Book your dives today


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When is Whale Shark Season in Oman?

When can i see Whale Shark in Oman?

It’s time to start thinking about your next holiday escape during one of Oman’s most thrilling seasons for adventure seekers, scuba divers, and water lovers:

Whale Shark season in Oman!

Whale sharks are unquestionably the most powerful fish in the ocean, with the largest reaching 12 meters in length and weighing up to 20 tons. (This implies they’re not just the world’s largest fish, but also the world’s largest vertebrates, with the exception of great whales.) Despite their enormous size, whale sharks are perfectly harmless to humans; they are filter feeders, and sieve small plankton from the water.

 

Whale shark oman, swimming with whalesharks, whaleshark season oman, scuba diving, whale shark
Whale shark oman, swimming with whalesharks, whaleshark season oman, scuba diving, whale shark

Where can I see Whale sharks in Oman

Daymaniyat Islands is one of the best spots in Oman for whale shark snorkeling and diving.

That’s because the gigantic fish congregate in large numbers along Muscats coastline every summer Whaleshark season is between September to November.

The sharks and their pups migrate south to the warmer waters of the southern hemisphere in search of many fish eggs, shrimp, copepods, and other little morsels. During this period, there is a very good chance of an encounter.

 

Swimming and snorkeling with Whale sharks

Whale shark oman, swimming with whalesharks, whaleshark season oman, scuba diving, whale shark
Whale shark oman, swimming with whalesharks, whaleshark season oman, scuba diving, whale shark

The Daymaniyat Islands and Al Fahal Island:

are two of the most well-known places in Oman for seeing the gentle giants up close. At Aura Divers, we provide you with an opportunity to get closeup and swim amongst the Whale sharks , which is as close to a miraculous experience as you can get in the ocean. Whale sharks are awe-inspiring creatures, not just because of their size, but also because of their elegance and beauty: with their wedge-shaped heads, muscular tails, and exquisite markings, they’re truly magnificent creatures.

 

 

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learn to dive, dive instructor, Whaleshark scuba dive daymaniyat island, best dive centre oman, muscat, best dive sites

Our boat dock at Al Mouj Marina makes it a great starting point for the whale-shark excursion because of its proximity to the Daymaniyat Islands. Spend the day communing with these magnificent fish, then reflect on your adventure in in one of the Marinas many restaurants and walkways Book a whale shark trip with us for the summer fun—we’ll take care of the rest.