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Can You Talk Underwater While SCUBA Diving?

   March 22nd, 2023   Posted In: Articles   Tags:

Can You Talk Underwater During a SCUBA Dive?

SCUBA diving is a peaceful, relaxing adventure where all you hear is the sound of your bubbles. This is what a lot of people enjoy most about diving: the quiet. But what if you wanted to talk underwater while SCUBA diving? How do SCUBA divers talk to each other while diving? Being able to communicate while underwater is important for diver safety. Here are the main ways to communicate while SCUBA diving.

Talking Underwater While SCUBA Diving

It might sound strange, but yes, you can actually talk to someone underwater while SCUBA diving. There are some people that like to do this in recreational diving, but in most instances, SCUBA divers would rather have the peace and quiet of diving.

Communication Units

For those instances where you might need to talk to someone underwater, like in commercial diving, there are underwater communication units. These units are integrated into full face masks. Normally, SCUBA divers wear a mask that goes over their eyes and nose and have a regulator that goes into their mouth.

However, the full face mask has become more popular over the years even without the comm units. The comm units are placed inside the mask. There is a microphone that sits at the corner of your mouth. There are earpieces that are placed outside the mask and just over the ears. For these comm units to work effectively, you must talk slowly for clarity.

Full Face Masks

A full face mask allows you to breathe freely inside the mask without having to grip a regulator mouthpiece with your teeth. The disadvantage is that ear equalization techniques need to be modified. If you are used to clearing your ears while SCUBA diving by pinching your nose and blowing gently, then you will need to change your technique while wearing a full face mask.

The easiest thing to do is move your jaw side-to-side and make a yawn motion. There are also nose ‘plugs’ that can be inserted inside the full face mask. These do not constantly plug the nose but allow you to place your nostrils against them when it’s time to clear your ears.

Hand Signals

For the everyday diver, there is a much simpler way to talk underwater while SCUBA diving and that is hand signals. Hand signals really are the best way to “talk” underwater. You learn the basic hand signals during your SCUBA certification course. For instance, you can say ‘ok’ and ask ‘ok?’. In addition, you can signal terms like let’s go this way, something is wrong, boat, out of air and so on. As you dive more, you start to learn even more hand signals, especially those of animals you might see on your dive.

can you talk while scuba diving

SCUBA Diving Writing Slates

Something that is also very useful to “talk” underwater while SCUBA diving is an underwater dive slate. These slates come in all sorts of sizes, Some are small and can go on your wrist. Others are larger and can be clipped to your BCD. These slates utilize a regular pencil that can be used to write on the slate. A magic eraser can be used to clear it once on land.

There are also newer dive slates that can be written on and erased underwater. Carrying a small one of these is useful especially when you have a new dive buddy. Sometimes what you want to say underwater just can’t get across with hand signals!

Communicating While Diving

There you have it. Can you talk underwater while SCUBA diving? Yes! There are many ways to talk underwater. On a fun side note: I actually know someone that can talk underwater using standard SCUBA regulators. They speak as if they are on land. If you are near them underwater, you can make out clear words! For those of us that can’t make this magic happen, communication units, hand signals, and dive slates will allow us to talk underwater while SCUBA diving.

Candace is an avid scuba diver and freelance writer with a PhD in Biomedicine. She has been diving since 2002 and is currently a PADI IDC Staff Instructor. When she is not instructing, she enjoys writing about scuba and volunteering at the local aquarium where she dives with the sharks!

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