*OtterAquatics is reader-supported. When you purchase something through an outgoing link, we might earn a commission.

*OtterAquatics is reader-supported. When you purchase something through an outgoing link, we might earn an affiliate commission.

Top Underwater Signaling Devices

Table of Contents

When you first start diving, it can be disorienting when you hear noises underwater. Sounds travel about 4 times faster underwater and it sounds like it is coming in all directions. You also quickly learn that to get another diver’s attention you need a device or mechanism to able to do that. 

These underwater signaling devices may also help to prevent potential dangers but they also allow you to make the most out of your dives, if you or your buddy see something you want to be able to communicate that. But which one is the best while still being practical?

Why do you need an underwater signaling device?

It is hard and challenging to communicate with other divers underwater even when you know all the hand signals. Being able to get your dive buddy’s attention when they are focused or unfocused on something is important when something arises.

This could be something major like you are low on air or you just saw a whale shark.

To get the most out of your dives you will want some sort of signaling device among all your other dive gear

Honestly, I despised underwater signaling devices, the sound annoyed me. Being an instructor though my thoughts changed and I know that you need some things to get others’ attention. It does not have to be an underwater airhorn, but having even a tapper (tank banger) will come in handy. 

What are the Different Underwater Signaling Devices?

There are tons of different devices out there and all will say they are the best for all situations. These pieces of equipment all are different price points and achieve the same goal in different ways.

Below I will go over what is most commonly used, the pros and cons, and what products we recommend to use.  

The Tank Banger

Scuba Choice Scuba Diving Tank Banger
4.5
$7.99
Pros:
  • Easy to set up
  • Works short to long distances
  • Can be used by lefties and righties
Cons:
  • Only for underwater use
  • Need to be a bit flexible
  • Elastics can get caught or break
Buy on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/29/2023 05:04 pm GMT

This one is quite simple and exactly how it sounds. It is an elastic band with a ball on it that goes around and you pull it and snap back on the tank. The noise is very distinct and you can hear it from a decent distance.

They are made from some sort of plastic and are cheap, they do wear out and can get caught on things when getting the gear on and off.

The Reef Stick or Poker

TiTo Titanium 14
4.5
$18.99
Pros:
  • Multiple uses
  • Can be used by lefties and righties
  • Don’t need to be super flexible to use
Cons:
  • Only for underwater use
  • Can get stuck or snagged on things or even dropped
  • Poor divers use it to control buoyancy
Buy on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/29/2023 11:09 pm GMT

This is my preferred tool as an instructor. I say instructor as I would not use it as a diver as much. Reef sticks tend to be used by divers with poor buoyancy and they can push off the reef and sad.

I use it to keep those divers from doing that but also to point out things that they might not see. It is easy to use but is not super loud.

You just reach back and tap the tank. commonly reef sticks are used as a compensation device for bad buoyancy control to stay clear of the reef.

The Shaker

Our Top Pick
OtterAquatics Diver's Communication Torch (DCT)
5.0
$99.99

A scuba diving light and noisemaker in one package. With our patented Diver's Communication Torch (DCT) technology, simply shake it and point on your next dive!

Pros:
  • Patented underwater noisemaker
  • Amazing battery life
  • Very durable
Cons:
  • Lower lumens
  • Less established brand
Buy on OtterAquatics
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

First up, is the Moray DCT-V2. DCT stands for “Diver Communication Torch” as this light has a patented underwater noisemaker inside. Just give it a shake, and you’ll get your dive buddies’ attention without having to reach for another device.

The dive light comes in at 240 lumens but definitely shines brighter in my experience. The torch burns for over 8 hours at full strength, with up to 20 at lower intensities.

Best Shaker
Mares Magnetic Shaker
5.0
$43.94
Pros:
  • Super easy to use
  • Hard to break
  • Works short to long distances
Cons:
  • Can be quite annoying
  • Makes noise by accident
  • Our preferred shaker
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/29/2023 11:00 pm GMT

The shaker is a nice little compact tool that works well again for all distances. I have tried it but was never a huge fan as you can shake it often by accident and it annoys me. It is quite handy and attaches easily to a BCD with little to no drag.

The Air Horn

Dive Alert New Ideation Plus Version 2
5.0
$79.95
Pros:
  • Super loud
  • Works on land and underwater
  • Easy setup
Cons:
  • Uses your air, so if you have none it won’t work
  • Can corrode over time if not maintained properly
  • Can scare away sea creatures and annoy other divers
Buy on Amazon Buy on Scuba.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/29/2023 04:48 pm GMT

This item has been a hot topic in the diving community in recent years. I have only used it once to try it and it did what it was intended to do, no question about that.

The setup is quite easy, you attached it to your inflator hose on your BCD and it uses your air. You can also use it on land or the surface if you have an issue or need to signal the boat which is nice.

It is very small, about the size of a shaker, and some reach up to half a mile (1 km).  

What are the Different Surface Signaling Devices?

While you need one underwater don’t forget that you also need one for the surface as well. This is just as important to get the boat’s attention and to be able to be seen.  

SMB (Surface Marker Buoy)

Our Top Pick
DiveSafe Delayed Surface Marker Buoy - 6ft Open Bottom
4.0
$79.99
Pros:
  • Large & highly visible
  • 3 different colors available
  • Compact all in one DSMB kit
  • Durable & long-lasting
  • 2 different inflation methods
  • Reflective strip & dump valve
Cons:
  • It’s a little pricey
Buy on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/29/2023 07:40 pm GMT

SMBs also called safety sausages, DSMB and a lot of other names are inflatable tubes that are inflated by the regulator or blown up manually. They have a reel or a tether ranging from 10 feet (3m) and up. These are the SMBS that we recommend here. 

Dive Flag

Best Dive Buoy
DiveSafe Scuba Round Buoy Float
4.5
$44.99
Pros:
  • Great value
  • Permanent visibility at the surface
  • Robust & long lasting
Cons:
  • Cannot be used as a DSMB
Buy on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/29/2023 08:18 pm GMT

Floating dive flags are required in some areas when diving. This is to warm boats that someone is below. An inflatable buoy carries a flag and needs to be stable so it does not flip over. Make sure you know your local regulations on having a dive flag and which one to use as well. 

Strobe light

Moray Strobe Light

These can be helpful at the surface when trying to get the boat’s attention of underwater when night diving. These provide great visibility and give the driver and your buddy the chance to see you at a great distance.

They do require batteries or to be charged beforehand so check that before you go out.

Signal Mirror

Innovative Scuba Signal Mirror
$15.95
Buy on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/29/2023 05:12 pm GMT

Signal mirrors can be used at the surface in case of serious emergencies and can be seen by helicopters. They are small and easy to use.

Final Thoughts

There are a huge amount of products on the market that you can use to get your buddies’ attention. I even wear a ring and reach back and tap the tank and that is enough.

Find out what you need for your situation and make sure you have one for under the water and on the surface as well. A backup is always good as well as you never know what is going to happen.

Dive safe

Welcome to our blog!
Austin on a dive baot
I am a PADI Divemaster based in South Florida. With nearly 10 years of diving experience, I have accumulated the knowledge to help readers become better divers, buy their next piece of gear, and plan their dream dive vacation! Please contact me if you have any questions.

Our shop is a reliable and trustworthy destination to showcase our favorite expert tested products.

Official Otter Aquatics Noisemaker Dive Light
Noisemaker & Dive Light in One

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE Scuba Gear Care Tips
Essential gear care knowledge PLUS tips and tricks for cleaning, maintaining, and storing your scuba gear! Created by dive professionals working in the industry.
Scuba Gear shown on an Iphone screen
FREE Scuba Gear Care Tips
Essential gear care knowledge PLUS tips and tricks for cleaning, maintaining, and storing your scuba gear! Created by dive professionals working in the industry.
Scuba Gear shown on an Iphone screen
FREE Scuba Gear Care Tips
Essential gear care knowledge
PLUS tips and tricks for cleaning, maintaining, and storing your scuba gear! Created by dive professionals working in the industry.
Scuba Gear shown on an Iphone screen