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PADI introduces new dive signal for emergency situations

The latest PADI bulletin for the third quarter of 2020 has appeared online. Among the many pieces of information found within the bulletin, there is also one about a new dive sign to be used in emergency situations to let other dive participants know that something is wrong. Information from PADI bulletin 3/2020: Divers are
Published: July 16, 2020 - 12:35
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 20:21
PADI introduces new dive signal for emergency situations

The latest PADI bulletin for the third quarter of 2020 has appeared online. Among the many pieces of information found within the bulletin, there is also one about a new dive sign to be used in emergency situations to let other dive participants know that something is wrong.

Information from PADI bulletin 3/2020:

Divers are taught on courses that they should not dive when they are ill. However, sometimes someone may feel unwell during a dive. If you are able to quickly and effectively show that something is wrong, your partners can help you and take more precise action.

Underwater, it is difficult for a diver to convey the message that he has suddenly felt unwell, so he may simply show the signal to end the dive. His partners do not know what has happened and may lose valuable time in finding out. They may also, even worse, ignore accepted practices and send the diver back to the surface alone.

Accident reports show that divers can lose consciousness without warning, during ascent or shortly after ascent, which comes as a surprise to partners and crew on the dive boat. It later turns out (unfortunately sometimes during autopsy) that this person was suffering from a serious, often undiagnosed illness that was a contraindication to diving.

It is very likely that the diver suddenly felt very unwell and therefore simply showed the “end of dive” signal. In order to make the communication between the partners more precise in such a situation, a new signal meaning “I feel bad” has been developed.

This is the new standard signal to be taught on PADI courses. The diver positions his hand with the fingers pointing in his direction and “draws” a vertical oval shape at the height of his head and torso. In this way he shows that something is wrong with him and not with the equipment.

PADI diving sign I feel bad divers24.co.uk A special sign to indicate feeling unwell provides divers with several benefits. Firstly, divers are more aware of the importance of communicating to others that they are feeling unwell. Secondly, the diver can show this more quickly if they have a specific signal to show. Thirdly, if the diver shows this signal, his partner or diving professional knows what the problem is and is able to react accordingly: to be close by and monitor the diver until he comes out of the water in case he loses consciousness, and to provide appropriate assistance after he comes out of the water.

Example of use: the diver shows the signal “Something wrong”, followed by “I feel bad” and “We are ending the dive”.

This signal will be included in the PADI training materials when they are updated. Preparing a rescue plan and being able to communicate if a diver feels unwell underwater is another step to making diving safer.

Source: PADI bulletin 3/2020

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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