By Dana Lenahan
Every culture has a lingo, whether you would like to admit it or not. Ever heard a fellow diver use a term and you don’t know what the heck they are talking about so you resort to the old “smile and nod”. We have all done it at least once especially when you are new to the world of diving. The old smile and nod only works for so long right? We have made a list of the most frequently used diving terms that you will probably come across in your diving journey. And hey you might even learn something new!
Aluminum 80 – Standard Scuba Tank
Doubles – Two tanks connected together by a manifold usually for technical diving.
Dry or Wet? – Dry suit or wet suit.
Vis – Visibility of the water. Example “Vis was 50ft plus”.
Pony Bottle - A cylinder or emergency air supply that is carried by the diver for use in the event of a primary air supply failure.
Open Circuit – Recreational Diving – If you have your open water certification then you are an open circuit diver.
Rebreather – Also known as closed circuit diving. Like the name suggests you are essentially rebreathing air. A rebreather is a breathing equipment that captures, cleanses and re-oxygenates exhaled air so that it can be reused (also no bubbles).
Bends – Decompression Sickness.
Diver Down Flag – Diver Flag used to signal to boats that there is a diver below and other vessels should keep well clear at slow speed.
Narked – Nitrogen Narcosis.
C- Card – Certification Card or proof of dive training.
Free Flow– A situation where a regulator delivers a continuous flow of air, rather than on demand.
Depending upon the extent and duration of the free flow, if it cannot be stopped the dive should be aborted and a controlled, safe ascent should be performed. This is where your bail out bottle would come in handy!
Skins – Very thin Lycra wet suit worn under your wet suit.
Booties – Dive boots you wear with open heel fins.
Swim through – A gap or short “tunnel” underwater where a diver can safely swim through. A diver should be able to see the exit and safely swim through it.
Air Pig or Air Hog – Someone that goes through air really fast!
D rings – Rings on your BCD that are shaped like a “D” that you clip things to.
Safety Sausage – Yellow or Orange Surface Marker Buoy that you use in emergencies to signal other divers and your boat of your location.
Hydro – Hydrostatic test that is done to every tank every 5 years.
Nitrox - a breathing gas consisting of a higher percentage of oxygen then air.
First Stage – The part of your regulator that connects to the tank.
Second Stage – Your primary regulator (the mouthpiece).
Yoke or DIN? - Two different types of first stage connections (first stage to tank). Most common for recreational diving is yoke and DIN is for technical diving.
Octopus – Your secondary regulator the yellow regulator that you use in emergencies to buddy breathe etc.
Penetrating a Wreck – Any diving involving entering a wreck without known or visual exit.
Techy – Technical Diver someone who dives past recreational limits and or does decompression stops.
Trimix - a breathing gas consisting of oxygen, helium and nitrogen (for technical divers).
Thermocline - Abrupt temperature gradient between the warm upper layer of water and denser cold water below.
Rule of Thirds - Air - a third to get there, a third to get back, and last third belongs to your buddy or for safety measures.
Free Decent/Ascent – Descending or ascending not using a line.
AI – Assistant Instructor
DM – Dive Master
DMT – Dive Master in Training
OW – Open Water
AOW – Advanced Open water
NDL – No Decompression Limit
DPV – Diver Propulsion Vehicle – also known as an underwater scooter.
DAN – Divers Network Alert. An organisation devoted to assisting divers in need. Diver Insurance.
SMB – Surface Marker Buoy – Also known as a Safety Sausage
Well there you have it divers! An insight into diver language and we hardly even scratched the surface! If you thought of a term that we forgot comment below! Did we miss any funny ones you can think of?
So you have jumped on the scuba diving band wagon and have fallen in love. Congratulations, and welcome to the beautiful world of scuba diving! You have had your first breaths underwater and you’re hooked! Every instructor and Divemaster have started where you are now. We all have to start somewhere, right? An initial spark of interest in scuba diving can lead to a lifetime passion. We have compiled some tips and advice for you to use as a reference as you embark on your new journey into the scuba diving world.
1. Go Slow
Relax and enjoy the experience. It’s not a race to be faster then everyone else, move slowly and take in your surroundings. You will notice that your air consumption will decrease if you relax and take it easy. Add air to your BCD in small increments, wait a few seconds, and see how the air you have added changes your buoyancy. Add a few more puffs, take a few breaths and reassess. Remember, you don’t need to add air to your BCD to ascend, use your fins instead and slowly release expanding air.
2. Air Hog? Want Better Air Consumption?
The answer to your questions - log more dives. It is as simple as that. It’s natural to breathe more and consume more air when you are a new diver; the more excited and nervous a diver is, the more air they will inhale. This is normal and happens to most people new to the sport. The good news is, your air consumption will improve and it’s important not to get to discouraged. As you gain more experience, you will become more comfortable with your gear, and develop better buoyancy control. And it will become second nature after a while! Think about when you first started driving as a teenager -- you may have had a similar experience.
3. Don’t be peer pressured.
Taking up scuba diving should be exciting and stimulating, and it is a great way to push your personal boundaries. While you’ll want to embrace new experiences in diving, don’t allow others to pressure you into doing something that doesn’t feel right. Any diver can call off any dive for any reason, no questions asked. Respect the fact that sometimes it is not safe to dive, and there will be times when you need to call a dive. Also remember that if something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t. Trust your gut.
4. Get a well- fitted mask.
You might not think it’s a big deal, but I can assure you that the biggest diver complaint is a leaky and uncomfortable mask. The whole point of diving is to see underwater, right? If you are always having trouble with a leaking and/or foggy mask, it will distract you and impair your vision. Sometimes finding a well-fitting mask can be a hit or miss. Take the time to try on different kinds of masks, until you find the perfect one. Try on different masks in the pool and figure out which style is the right fit for you.
5. Control your weight.
Now I’m not telling you to go on a diet here, we are talking about the weight in (or on) your weight system. It is commonplace for new divers to overweight themselves, which will in turn make your diving experience a lot more difficult. Take the time to experiment and fine tune your weighting. The payoff is neutral buoyancy throughout your dive. Neutral buoyancy is the sweet spot, the holy grail of being a good diver. Once you find that sweet spot, everything seems to come together. Come to a Monday night pool session and experiment with different weights. When you find that perfect weighting and have achieved neutral buoyancy, it will keep you from bumping into reefs, help with controlled descents, reduce the risk of ear injuries, and also improve your air consumption dramatically.
6. Equalize Early & Often.
Another common complaint in new divers is ear discomfort when descending. If you descend faster than your ability to equalize, you will put yourself at risk for an ear injury. Use a descent line to help gauge your speed. The moment you feel any discomfort, stop and go back up a little bit, until you can equalize and you no longer feel discomfort. Do not keep going and hope the pain will go away – IT WON’T. If you really can’t equalize, it is time to signal your buddy and call the dive. Only continue when you can equalize the pressure in your ears. Pushing your ears past their limit can cause serious injury and it is not worth the risk.
7. Keep Diving – Continue Your Education
Practice, practice, practice, and log more dives. Just like any new hobby, practice is the key to mastering a skill. Every minute you spend underwater, you are becoming a more experienced diver. With every dive you will learn something new, see something different and experience new environments. A great way to improve your skills is to enroll in the PADI Advanced Open Water Course, which is the next step up from PADI Open Water Diver. The PADI Advanced Course involves theory and 5 dives, each dive introducing you to different specialties. Some options include: deep, navigation, wreck, night, boat, and peak performance buoyancy dives, and there are many more that might spark your interest. The PADI Advance Open Water also lets you go deeper (to 100ft/30m), which lets you experience deeper wrecks and environments.
And there you have it newbies! You are well on your way to becoming experienced divers! We all start from the bottom, we all get nervous sometimes, and we are not all perfect divers. Every diver has strengths and weaknesses, like most things in life. The best advice I can give you is to practice your little heart out, find your perfect weight balance, and move up in the diving world. Diving should be fun and exhilarating, not stressful. Unlike most activities, diving brings a whole different level of benefits. Which form of exercise lets you swim with sharks? What other hobby lets you explore a 100 year old ship wreck? None that I can think of!
Safe & Happy Diving!
is very excited to start his Zero to Hero program with us and plans to finish his PADI Open Water Instructor Course with us within a year. It's a lot to do, but he can do it! Tom will progress to his PADI Advanced Open Water Diver on our annual April Scuba splash trip in the Florida Keys.
What are Tom's Plans?
His plans for diving include:
1. Logging as many dives as possible
2. Learning something new every day
3. Becoming a knowledgeable and comfortable diver, so that he may be certified to instruct others in this wonderful sport.
He has always enjoyed swimming and has a fascination with aquatic life and exploration. Diving is a way for him to continue this enjoyment and share the world of diving with others. Tom wants to make diving his career and travel the world teaching and living the dream!
We are looking forward to seeking an intern placement opportunity for Tom either in Bahamas or in Mexico when he is ready, but there is still a lot of work for him to accomplish first!
Watch for Tom at our diving events this summer (Click: Events) , at the annual Florida Scuba Splash, and many more - please encourage him in his efforts! ...it's going to be a GREEEEAAAT year!
Looking to build a scuba career?
You can do it too!
Learn the ins and outs of scuba business management, all while you hone your diving, and eventually, your teaching skills! Make yourself marketable at any PADI dive centre around the world! Make an appointment with Jody: 905-898-5338