Underwater Communication: Systems and Devices Facilitating Communication Underwater

Underwater Communication: Systems and Devices Facilitating Communication Underwater
Image by Fonthip Ward z Pixabay

Underwater activities require clear, reliable communication to keep everyone safe, coordinate, and share experiences. Because of limited visibility, distortion of sound, and having to use both hands for various tasks, underwater environments present unique communication challenges. In order to overcome these challenges, a lot of systems and devices have been designed to facilitate underwater communication. Taking a look at underwater communication methods and technologies, this article explores the importance of underwater communication.

The Importance of Underwater Communication

Keeping divers safe and well depends on underwater communication. With this, divers can stay in constant contact with each other and their surface support crew, so important messages can be conveyed and information can be shared. Communication can save your life in emergency situations, allowing divers to alert others about dangers or request help quickly. Divers can share their observations and discoveries with one another through communication, which fosters camaraderie and enhances the dive experience.

Methods of Underwater Communication

Hand Signals

One of the earliest and most popular ways to communicate underwater is with hand signals. To communicate simple messages, divers use a set of hand signals, like indicating their air supply, direction, and potential hazards. Every diver needs to know these signals, since they’re easy to learn and understand. Their limitations are that they can’t convey complex messages or facilitate real-time conversations.

Dive Slates

Divers can write messages on dive slates, also known as underwater writing boards, with a pencil or stylus. Detailed information like dive plans, navigation instructions, and marine life sightings can be conveyed with them. Divers who need to share specific details underwater can use dive slates because they’re small and easy to carry.

Underwater Communication Devices

In recent years, technology has developed specialized underwater communication devices. Different transmission methods are used, such as ultrasonic, radio frequency, and even through the water. There are full-face masks with built-in communication systems, underwater radios, and transceivers. With these devices, divers can communicate in real-time like on the surface and exchange information more easily.

Full-Face Mask Communications

Full-face masks such a scuba mask with built-in communication capabilities are one of the most impressive underwater communication devices. It uses bone conduction technology or through-water acoustic communication to combine the functionality of a diving mask with communication. It bypasses the need for traditional vocalizations because bone conduction transmits sound through the skull bone. On the other hand, underwater acoustic communication uses specialized speakers and microphones that can transmit and receive audio.

Divers of all levels will benefit from underwater communication systems and devices as technology continues to advance.