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How do you signal air remaining?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by D_B, Aug 6, 2005.

  1. Chris Sawallich

    Chris Sawallich Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Portland, CT
    Not on the signaling side..but even before that... Everytime I go to look at my SPG, wether I am asked or not... I always guess first, A great habit to get into.. We should all know our Gas Consumption rates...

    Think about this.. How many times do you check the gas gauge in your car?? We all know about how far our car will go, but yet I have seen some divers check their SPG soo much they saw nothing on the dive..

    Start guessing everytime before you actually look at your gauge.. You will be suprised how much already know how much gas you have left..
  2. SeanQ

    SeanQ Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Vancouver Island
    Index finger for 1, index and thumb for 2, "fat 3" for 3, "fat 3" and index for 4, "fat 3" index and thumb for 5. Just be sure not to use the thumb to signal 1...

    I've used lobster claws (mittens) once and I hated it. I prefer to wrestle into my 5-in-1 finger traps instead.
  3. Mo2vation

    Mo2vation Relocated to South Florida.... ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: 33472
    When I dive with Arnaud, and we're both diving the warerheaters, I know after about 15 minutes, he has about 500 less than me, after 30, about 700 and after about an hour, from 900 - 1000 less than me - presuming we both enter with about the same.

    I also have it dialed in for his 95. With regular buddies (and those within the collective) its not an issue - a nod of a sidle up to the left side will be fine.

    It amazes me how many times I ask a new or newer buddy to show me their gauge, and they start with the hand jive. I mean, c'mon. We just went over this on the boat. I have more gas than you (few of us dive 130's), I want to see your gauge, show me, dammit.

    This is another reason Wetnotes rule. When new buddy spazzes and forgets everything we just went over, I whip out the Wetnotes (to a page I already have written out in big block letters) and flash "show me your pressure gauge, please."


    PS: "lobster claws"... tee hee. Nice.
  4. rmead

    rmead Angel Fish

    There is no substitute for looking yourself. Would let a buddy, let alone an insta-buddy to read your spg for you and hand sign you what they read? Well if you have a ooa emergency their gas IS your gas. I agree with the other guy....somebody hand signs me I just grab the guage, and I work with deaf divers who sign perfectly.
  5. friscuba

    friscuba Dive Charter

    # of Dives:
    Location: A, A
    Just my opinion, but your way, or just showing the gauge, is the best.

    There are several ways to show air. The tech and military guys have a one handed way involving the direction of the hand, this is actually a pretty good method... if you know it. Problem is, only a small portion of divers know this method.

    I've seen some wierd arm and wrist slapping as you have. Hard to tell what they're talking about.

    Using two hands can lead to confusion.

    Zeros are a waste of time, and I would say that litterally 20-30 percent of people who signal zeros give me the wrong number. I've had large numbers of people signal me that they have 20,000 psi or greater 15-20 minutes into the dive whin I do my check. I know that can't be. I've had large numbers of people signal that they have 200 psi 15-20 minutes into the dive. That can be, but it's very rare.

    I had a guy a few days ago who cupped his hand 6 times and then gave me a three. I couldn't figure out what he meant so I looked at his guage - 1700 psi. Go figure.

    Your way is pretty much unmistakeable, even works for bar with the international crowd., just figure one less zero on the end.

  6. limeyx

    limeyx DIR Practitioner

    yes, this is definitely a good thing to get used to
  7. redrover

    redrover Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
    Gee, that was interesting to read (I learn soooo much here). A lot more different ways than I realized or imagined, I figured it would be pretty standard.
    As for showing gauge I’m always willing but it’s not very easy. I’m usually inches from the whatever and with wrist computer it’s hard to get the angle for them to see it.
    Sounds to me that conditions or type of diving would generate best style. I like the 5+5+3 myself, seems simple vs what direction or over arm ect. Maybe I’m too simpleminded or dive in too easy conditions.[​IMG]
  8. radinator

    radinator Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: SoCal USA
    For years my standard has been "show the SPG". I want to see it. I'd gotten used to seeing it. Never really thought about it. I'm aware that a lot of people flash the hand signals, and have learned to adapt to the conditions. Or so I thought.

    Last December, night dive to about 100' at Redondo Beach in SoCal looking for a squid run. I'm with a "random club buddy". Someone I didn't really know, had never done a dive with. He's in the dive club, and no problems were expected.

    His pre-dive check seemed complete, and he just seemed to have more dives under his belt than I (at my 100 or so). He was AOW, I was OW (but with plenty of experience at Redondo at night).

    We agree to dive until 1500 psi, and then start for the surface. We will do a 1 minute "deep stop" at 1/2 max depth, or 50'. Note the ambiguity in this plan, it will bite us in the tushie later :11:

    We dive, and he looks around squid, and lobster. I decide I will be the attentive buddy on this dive, and simply follow him around while keeping an eye out for squid or lobster).

    After a while, he comes up to me and kneels on the bottom, and flashes his hand at me "open hand-closed hand-open-closed-open-closed".

    I see 5-0-5-0-5-0-5-0. I have no idea what he meant. I shrug, and he takes off and starts swimming. Not quickly, just calmly and "normal".

    I think "well, whatever it was, it apparently wasn't that important. (note, MY failure here.) Maybe he was repeating a compass heading? A preferred depth?
    I swim after him. He slowly turns in an arc toward the right.

    After a few minutes he stops, looks at his gauge again, turns back to the left and keeps swimming. I think "Ok, he wants to follow a course.

    Then he starts turning to the right again, and I think he's still looking for lobster. My air is still showing plenty, I'm an air hog, he seems calm enough, and is not stopping to show me his air gauge. He is looking at it now and then, and if it was a problem, he'd show me, right?

    So we keep swimming along.

    By the third time he stops his right hand turn, and again looks at his compass, and turns around and starts swimming again, I start to think "What the ----?"

    Then he starts a right hand turn again and I realize " He has no clue where he's going." I rush up and grab his leg, and he turns to me and (finally) shows me his gauge. <500 psi, at 100 feet.

    His hand signal was intended as 5-5-5 = 1500 psi.

    I had always learned that 1500 psi is 1-5 or 1-5-0-0. Sure, I have a graduate degree in math, but why are you making me add?

    I had never seen his method before.

    He had intended to follow the bottom contour up from depth (hence his swimming along the bottom). My standard way to end dives ar Redondo is to go UP, doing mid-water stops, and then head back on the surface. I like the upper layer of biolum at night. I had only been diving there with people who do that.

    Since he wasn't going up, instead staying on the bottom, I thought everything was just dandy.

    And his "wandering" to find more lobster - he was so distracted by his air gauge he kept losing track of his compass (and the direction to shore).

    We got to the surface ok, on my air. Did the 50' stop and all, but I learned several lessons.

    1. More detailed dive planning. Not just that you will end the dive at some point, but exactly HOW it will be ended.

    2. I also keep much closer watch on my buddy's air, to the point of being annoying sometimes, but I WANT TO SEE THAT SPG! Maybe not every time, but at least until I can "guess" what you have before I see it. From then on, the checks are just to confirm what I already know. At this point, hand signals are acceptible.

    Now, back to the main purpose of this post, and the thread.

    I also go over hand signals before the dive. I've done some homework since that dive and have found there are 13 different hand-signal methods for numbers - some one handed, some two handed, some inverted, some sideways, some sequential, some parallel. Some are similar to others with seemingly minor differences. I now make sure we are on the same method. I ask them to show me 1800. That is a great number for testing, as a lot of the subtleties of the different methods will be seen there.

    A long post to get to this conclusion, and there were other failures during the dive, but at no point until the very end did it seem anything was amiss, and simply understanding his hand signals would have fixed that.

    It was a good experience in one other sense. After thinking there has to be a better way, I started looking into other dive practices, and that's how I first heard of DIR.
  9. Mo2vation

    Mo2vation Relocated to South Florida.... ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: 33472
    First off - glad things worked out OK. It could have been pretty scary. Been to Redondo for squid (well, I think I was... couldn't see a bloody thing! Glad Chris schlepped his Canon rig...)

    I keep coming back to my WetNotes. These things have got by butt out of more jams than any other piece of gear I have.

    If there is ever any doubt whatsoever in communication, I whip it out and calmly write out what I think I heard, and seek confirmation.

    I can't overstate what an important part of my safety gear this little yellow notebook is.


    BTW - I about spit a nice Chardonnay all over my screen reading your post... "5-0-5-0-5-0... HUH????" I can totally see it now. Been there, for sure. Too dang funny. :D
  10. kidspot

    kidspot Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Moses Lake, Washington
    I'd never seen or heard of any other way but the 5+5+5+3 meathod until Fundies, then I was exposed to the DIR meathod - I don't use it because no one around here does. However it's nice to know for when I dive with others from out of state. As to why ask, Since I only have 2 regular dive buddies, much of my diving (about 1/2) is with others for the first time, since I don't know how careful they are with their air I try to ask every 15-20 minutes to see where they are. Fortunately my one regular buddy and I are rarely more than 100psi apart, and my other buddy uses about 10% less than I do, so at 1000psi I know she she has about 1300psi.

    Aloha, Tim

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