Scuba Diver Lingo for Newbies

Scuba Diver Lingo for Newbies

As a newbie diver, you may initially be overwhelmed by the amount of information you must absorb and eventually remember. And beyond all the theory which you will learn through books and videos, there is also a new set of behaviors and language that you will need to understand and assimilate.

Here below is a collection of commonly used diving words:

Air - a gas mixture containing 21percent oxygen, 78 percent nitrogen, and 1 percent other gasses (mainly argon); compressed air is held in a tank for scuba diving

Airsucker - the person on a dive who runs out of air first 

Ascent - rising to the surface when diving; typically at the end of a dive.

Balloon - a new dry suit diver that has their feet suddenly fly above their head

Bottom Time - the length of your dive

Brail Diving - diving is very bad visibility

Buddy - the person you dive with; this is the person you discuss a dive plan with and you are both responsible for keeping each other safe

Danglies - stuff hanging off someone’s gear and dragging all over everything

Divemonster - divemaster candidate 

Diver’s Makeup - snot you wear all over your face after a dive

De-fizzing - surface interval or offgassing

Eggbeater - someone who is way overweighted and has to kick while swimming vertically in order to stay off the bottom

Fart Bag - dry suit

Feeding the Fish - getting sick underwater. Can also be used to getting sick overboard while on a boat

First Stage - part of a scuba regulator; this attaches to the air tank

Giant Stride - a method of getting in the water where you take a large step off the boat or dock

Hoovers - people (usually new divers) who drain tanks super fast

Insta-buddy - getting paired up with a stranger

Leadweighter - that one diver on the boat that thinks they can never have enough weight, even with no wetsuit

Liveaboard - a cruise ship, yacht or other overnight boat that is tailored to scuba divers. Most often, this will have accommodations including beds, bathrooms, gear rentals, tanks and include meals

Logbook - a record of the scuba dives you've completed. This includes how deep you dived, your bottom time, who you dived with, where you dived, what you saw, how long your surface interval was, and other information relevant to your dive

Nitrogen Narcosis - an altered mental state that occurs when nitrogen enters the bloodstream at pressure. Divers experience this differently, but commonly compare it to feeling slightly intoxicated

Nitrox -  for recreational diving, Nitrox (or Enriched Air Nitrox) refers to a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen where the oxygen concentration is more than 21 percent (which is the percentage of oxygen found in normal air). Most commonly refers to 32 percent oxygen in a tank

O-Ring - often made of rubber, these doughnut-shaped rings are used in various pieces of scuba gear to prevent air or water from getting in or out of that piece of gear

Patch - the guy that sews his patches on his wetsuit and brags about his diving

Pigpen - someone constantly on the bottom, stirring up sand or silt

Pony - a small diving cylinder which is fitted with an independent regulator, and carried by a scuba diver as an extension to the scuba set

Portable Urinal - a rental wetsuit

Rototilling - new divers that create a cloud of kicked up silt behind them, mimicking a tractor in a field

Sea Hippy - dolphin

Sea Panda - orca

Sea Puppies - seals or, for some people, sharks

Spare Air - what my buddy calls me since he’s an air hog and I always come back with half a tank

Tankmonkey - typically a divemaster candidate or junior crew member at the shop that has to load and unload after trips. Also known as: Diveslave, divedonkey, divesherpa, tank donkey or pool boy/girl

Thermocline - a point underwater where the temperature drastically changes. Often this is visible as the two temperature "layers" meet

Turtling - the act of a diver who flips over on their back and cannot right themselves

Viz/Visibility - usually measured in feet or meters; how far away you can clearly see underwater.


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