I wrote this post minutes after I came out of the water where one of our fellow divers was structural abusing his underwater signaling device. Unless you use as full face mask you probably will use hand signals and body language to communicate with your dive buddy and or fellow scuba divers.
Sometimes you need to reach out and then you need your underwater signaling device aka noisemaker.
Use your underwater signaling device with care
There are multiple underwater signaling devices for sale and it is good to have one on you when you go diving. Some people use tankbangers which are attached to your scuba tank with a rubber band and have a hard plastic ball which makes a noise when you bang it on the tank. Some people use shakers, air horns or a metal stick to bang their tank in order to make noise and attract attention.
The main reason why you want to bring an underwater signaling device is to attract the attention of your dive buddy when you want to show him something cool you just found underwater. In the unlucky event of running out of air the noise maker could come in handy too.
Shake, Ratlle and Bang
Use your underwater signaling device with care and use it when needed. As you probably know sounds travels about 4.3 times faster underwater then it does on land. This means when you bang your tank or use your shaker, the sound will travel far and every diver in a circle of 500 meters will hear you.
Some divers think they need to point out everything they see to their buddy and or group they are diving with. The result of this is that on a 45 minute dive you will hear 40 minutes of tank banging, shaking, rattling noise!
After 10 minutes your buddy will not even pay attention anymore and the other people you are diving with will get annoyed by the constant sound of your underwater signaling device.
WARNING: excessive use of your underwater signaling device will annoy your fellow divers
The tank banging fun can really start when somebody sees a turtle or an eagle ray in the blue. For some reason this works as a red rag on a bull. The diver will rattle and shake and will not stop until everybody looked at him, waving and signaling that he saw something in the blue. Thanks Sherlock, but what do you think the turtle or ray will do? Wait for us to get closer so we can enjoy the show? No, probably not.
The bottom line is that an underwater signaling device is used to attract the attention of your dive buddy and not the attention of all other divers around you. Make sure you and your buddy are close enough so you can point stuff out you find so you both can enjoy it.
Other divers on the reef will find other stuff they enjoy and if they miss that passing eagle ray or reefshark it is their bad. You and your buddy saw it. Making a lot of noise underwater will not make the wildlife come out and it will definitely not have any added value for your fellow scuba divers.
Key take aways when using your underwater signaling device:
- Stay calm at all times and use it when appropriate.
- Think about other divers on the reef, they like the peace and quite.
- You find cool stuff underwater and other divers do so too, no need to show off Sherlock.
- There is no need to hold the device in your hand, this will make you trigger happy.
- Marine life will seek shelter when you keep banging and rattling. The reef is not dead you just make too much noise.
- Embody the scuba Ninja
Please feel free to share you stories about divers who abused there noise makers underwater in the comments below.
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Blog written by Rutger Thole who used to be a scuba scuba instructor but he got stuck in a suit a couple of years ago. Now he is on his way back, as a the founder of bookyourdive he travels and dives as much as he can. His motto as a start up founder and scuba diver is "The only good suit is a wetsuit"