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  • Writer's pictureCuddlefish Divers

Underwater Marine Creatures Hand Signs: Here Are the Most Common Ones Just for Singapore Waters!

When divers are underwater, they can’t speak to communicate; obviously! But how, exactly, do they talk to each other then?

Well, scuba divers use hand signals to communicate. There are hand signals for almost everything; movement, marine life, there’s even a hand sign for underwater plastic!

In this article, we talk about the hand signals that divers use in Singapore to talk about marine life. If you’re planning to go underwater yourself, or are just interested to know how divers communicate — you’ll find this post helpful.

All the sea creatures mentioned below are specifically found in Singapore waters, that’s why you must learn these hand signs before heading underwater. You see, these hand signals are your only friend when you’ve gone under and want to communicate with your fellows.

Interested? Let’s dive in!

Hand Signals Divers Use for Marine Life


Why not start from one of the most intimidating sea creatives? That’s right — sharks. If you see a shark while you’re underwater, hold the side of your hand vertically up, then hold it in front of your forehead.


If you see one of these long-living creatures during your journey, put one of your hands on top of the other, then rotate your thumb to mimic the movement of a turtle.


This is a fun one — hold your index finger and middle finger out, close the rest of your fingers. Make the same shape with your other hand, then hold both hands in front of you like a lobster’s claws.

Box Fish

To demonstrate a boxfish with your hands, try to build a boxy shape with the little and index fingers of both of your hands.


Hold one of your arms horizontally straight, then do a chopping motion with your other hand. Try to mimic as if you’re trying to chop your arm off.

Scorpion Fish

When you come across a scorpion, put both of your hands above the head and replicate a scorpion’s motion with your fingers.

Sea Horse

When you come across one of these royal-looking sea creatures, half-extend both of your arms forward and firm your fists. Try to act like you’re holding something heavy with your hands.

Blue Spotted Fish / Ray

To communicate a blue spotted fish, put both of your hands forward, then spot the index finger of your hand on the back of the other hand at random points. Simply put, replicate the random spots on the body of a blue spotted fish.

Crocodile Fish

Could there be a better way to represent a croc fish with jaws? We don’t think so. That’s why when you see a crocodile fish, you should put your hands together, then close and open them to replicate a croc’s jaw.


This sea creature looks intimidating, so you want to share the view with your fellow divers asap! To do that, hold your hand forward, then move it while closing and opening your fist — to mimic the motion of a jellyfish’s tentacles.


Hold one of your arms forward, put your hand close to your head height. Then close and open your fist to mimic the tentacles, without moving your arm. Be noted the hand movement is the same as Jellyfish, the difference here is the arm’s position and movement.


Remember how you insert your hand in a jellybean jar to get your jellies? Yeah, that movement — mimic the exact same thing to tell your fellow divers you’re seeing a cuttlefish.


Hold one of your arms horizontally straight. Downward face the fingers of your other hand, and start wiggling them. You see, it perfectly mimics how an octopus’s tentacles are facing downward and moving intimidatingly.

Puffer Fish

Put your hands together; clasp them; and move them towards and away from each other.

The bottom line

From all the signs mentioned above, you may have noticed a pattern: all these signals either mimic the shape or the movement of a creature. If you’re underwater and you see a creature whose hand signal is not familiar to you, try to replicate its shape or motion. If your fellow divers are experienced, they may just understand what you’re trying to say.

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