Identifying Yourself Underwater – For your Buddy?

fear of being lost

No matter how long you’ve been SCUBA diving, we all have that fear of losing our dive buddy at the worst time. Whether this has or hasn’t happened to your group, it’s bound to happen. The best way to prevent this from happening is to identify yourself. Let’s look at a couple different scenarios and discuss what we’re able to adjust on our gear to prevent being lost underwater.

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large dive groups

Let’s say you’re on a dive trip with a dozen or more divers or you’ve been thrown on the afternoon boat with a lot of people. It doesn’t seem so bad until you notice there are five divers with black fins just like yours. If you have one of those buddies that doesn’t ‘wonder off’ and stays aware of his/her surroundings, it might not be a huge problem. However, there are those dive buddies who get distracted easy and take their eyes off the planned path. Once your buddy looks for you, it’s extremely hard to find a specific person when everyone is in black wetsuits and possibly the same color fins. For this, you might have to add something to your gear to distinguish your looks from every other person.

For example: add some color to your fins; some people add some sort of tape to the tips, paint the tips, or add some sort of vinyl to the fins where a diver can spot them. Look at the picture below from our Belize trip in August of 2021:

In the picture above, you are able to see that both diver #1 and diver #2 have yellow fins. Pretend you are a dive buddy of  one of the two. It is quite hard to see faces, small accessories, and certain features of a diver when there is turbidity. Now, check out the photo below:

As you can see, diver #2 now has painted orange-tip fins. It’s much easier to see identify your dive buddy (#2). 

Maybe you’re not into painting your fins. Get creative! Some divers like to wear bright colored dive beanies, headbands, custom weight pockets, and others. However, make sure you understand where your position is when you dive with someone. Personally, I dive pretty low on the reefs because I’m getting in close for the small critters while working on my buoyancy. So, I can determine that 90% of the time, I’m below if not beside my dive buddy. I then might add a bright sticker or a colored band around my tank so my dive buddy can look right below and I’m there. 

Also check out our divemaster on the far right, bright yellow shorts and a white rash guard. Upon a quick glance, we always knew who that was.

Get to know your dive buddy, what distinguishing gear does he/she dive with? Do they have a camera? One or two lights on their camera? What accessories are they carrying? 

Understand their diving profile and look to see how their trim is compared to others. There are always differences in how divers are positioned in the water and were all geared up slight differently. If it’s too hard to decide, it is time to make some changes – For your BUDDY, not yourself.

low visibility

As a diver who was certified in these awesome local lakes, you know that every dive is a low-vis dive. We like to say, the ‘brighter the better’. Having something on your body that is yellow, orange, pink, or any bright color besides red is the way to go. Furthermore, if you encounter a situation where you’re in low light or low vis, you need something on your person that receives attention on demand; something like a flashlight or strobe light. For those who don’t dive in the lakes around here, performing a night dive in the ocean is very similar to diving year round in the lakes.

get creative

Some divers like to get crazy with their color coordination! I’ll pick on a couple people who are active attendees on our February Cozumel trip – everything they own from head to toe is BRIGHT yellow. Although, having multiple people with the same colors is hard to distinguish. One chooses to not wear a wetsuit, and one chooses to wear a beanie. It doesn’t seem like much, but if that is discussed before a dive, it could possibly prevent an issue.

SCUBA Goop or paint markers are great ways to customize your fins by simply drawing on them!

For another example, Doug, one of our awesome instructors here at Extreme Sports likes to use a lycra hood. He looks like a biker, check him out:


No matter where you are diving, wearing bright colored gear may just benefit your buddy in an emergency situation (you’re responsible for them). – Let’s say your dive buddy was not paying attention and decided go off to your right. If he or she runs out of air, they need to be able to identify you ASAP! Obviously we would love to stay away from any person wondering off; it is extremely important to ALWAYS stay next to your dive buddy. These recommendations are cheap ways of insurance if you or your dive buddy were to have an emergency situation.

For any recommendations, give us a call at 417-659-9009 or email myself at

be seen, be heard, be safe:

Scubapro LED Flashing Tank Light
Princeton Tec Amp Light w/ Cone
Bright Fins (New pink Go Sports on right)
Bright Hydros Pro weight pockets

scubapro headband

1 thought on “Identifying Yourself Underwater – For your Buddy?”

  1. Pingback: Which Courses Should you Take as a NEW Diver? – Extreme Sports

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