A Guide to The Basic Scuba Diving Skills


If you have just completed your certification and training to become a scuba diver, let us congratulate you first. You have now extended your horizons into a new world, which would never be experienced by the majority of the planet’s population. You should consider yourself lucky; knowing that you are about to get a first-hand experience of the wonders of being underwater and that you will be given the chance to explore everything beneath the ocean’s surface.

Probably the best way to become a better scuba diver is a constant practice. It would also be beneficial for you to work your way to improve your basic scuba diving skills. In this post, we will be discussing the things that you need to improve on, along with the scuba diving skills that every diver should master. Consider this post as your guide right after you have completed your training and certification from your dive school. Now, let us get on with the discussions.

Scuba Diving Skills

The terms training, course, and learning may remind you of the bad memories of going to school. However, we assure you that the scuba diving course is also as informative as it is fun. With this, here are some of the basic scuba diving skills that you can improve after you have completed your scuba diving certification. Keep in mind that practice would always go a long way, especially if you are only a beginner in scuba diving.

Hand Signals

Communication is vital when you are scuba diving. After all, how are you going to get a message across to your partner when you cannot speak underwater? In addition, underwater communication equipment can be quite expensive and unreliable. So, why not rely on hand signals instead?

You need to stop daydreaming about talking verbally to your scuba diving buddy and just work your way to learn the basic and common hand signals. However, you must be aware that these signals vary a lot and sometimes depend on the location and the instructor who gives the hand signal briefing. Nonetheless, the most common ones include the “out of air” and the “okay” hand signals.

Gear Assembly, Removal, and Replacement

You surely would not be able to scuba dive without getting your gear ready. When assembling your gear, it might get a bit overwhelming, especially if you come across the connectors and hoses. However, it would be in your best interest to always listen to your instructor when he or she talks about these things. Coupled with the fact that you already have a few dives in your diving portfolio, you will get used to it and you will be on your way. During assembly, make sure that you know how to properly set up your diving gear, as well as the perfect fit for you. Doing so allows you to be in your most comfortable state even when underwater.

Gear removal and replacement also takes skill to do. While scuba divers do not normally take off their gear while they are underwater, it would still be useful to know how to do it in case of emergencies. For instance, you may need to remove your gear if it is tangled in kelp. With this, it would be a major inconvenience for you if you know what to do if trouble arises.

Buoyancy Skills

Probably the most important skills a scuba diver must have is buoyancy. Perfecting buoyancy, while not actually a challenging task to accomplish, takes more than just being calm and mentally focused. It requires all your bodily functions to remain steady throughout the whole scuba diving experience. This is also a very useful skill because you are likely to use less oxygen when you are buoyant. In addition, there is also very little chance that you will damage marine life, especially when you are not dragging any of your equipment on the seafloor.

Clearing your Mask

It is a known fact that water still gets in even when you are wearing a mask underwater. After all, no mask is impenetrable. In case you smile underwater, you may cause your skin to buckle, then, eventually break the seal.

Other times, you may get your mask bumped out of its place, causing the water to get in your mask. What you can do is to follow the instructions you have learned in your certification training about what to do when clearing your mask. If you need a moment, be sure to tell your partner. That way, you are not separated from each other. Ideally, you should be able to get this done even without stopping, or in a short span of time, at the very least.

You can simply remove water from your diving mask by looking up and then exhaling using your nose while you hold the mask’s top portion against your forehead.

Emergency Ascents

While it is rare to find yourself in need to execute an emergency ascent technique, it would still be convenient if you know how to do it in case the need arises. Emergency ascents will certainly require you to share air with your partner and then swim in a controlled manner toward the water’s surface. In addition, you may also need to drop your weights while underwater. To be well prepared, you need to practice all types of emergency ascent techniques and methods. That way, you do not induce panic in case the real emergency happens.

In case you run out of air, you can trust your partner that he or she has an alternate source of air. Gone are the days when divers are required to pass on a regulator back and forth. Using an alternate air source, two people can breathe using a single tank, of course, using separate regulators.

To add, it is always better to know what to do in emergency ascents, especially if you find yourself uncontrollably sinking. It is also very useful to know what to do in order to remove weight, allowing you to be in your most buoyant state. Doing so also allows you to be lighter underwater. In case you did not know, this is done by removing your weight belt or your integrated weight pockets.


Knowing the basic scuba diving skills is vital, for you to enjoy the underwater and more importantly, to be safe while doing it. Now that we have reached the end of this post, we trust that you will continue to practice what your diving school has taught you. The best thing that you can do is to be physically and mentally prepared just so you know what to do in the event a real emergency occurs.

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