Acronyms In SCUBA Diving


The dive world seems to be full of acronyms.  Many of these you will begin familiarising yourself with on your PADI Open Water Course.  See, even just a heading and two sentences into this article I have already used two abreviations!  It can be a little difficult to get your head around the acronyms, especially as a newbie, so I have collated a list of many commonly used ones below.  If you are looking for other tips for beginner Scuba divers, check out my blog here.

I have split this blog into sections so you can easily search for the acronym that you may be looking for.  But let’s start at the very beginning!

What Does SCUBA Mean?

Scuba stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.  It is the collective term for the full set of breathing equipment that allows us to explore the underwater world.  This term covers the two stage regulator, the cylinder and the BCD (yes, yet another acronym – scroll down to Equipment to read more about this one).  You will very rarely hear the full term spoken; the acronym is much more commonly used.

Diving Agency Acronyms

PADI – Professional Association of Diving Instructors

SSI – Scuba Schools International

NAUI– National Association of Underwater Instructors

BSAC – British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC)

CMAS – Confederation Modiale Des Activites Subaquatiques/The World Underwater Federation

SDI – Scuba Diving International

Dive Equipment Acronyms

AAS – Alternate Air Source

BCD – Buoyancy Control Device

HP – High Pressure

LPI – Low Pressure Inflator

DIN – Deutsche Industry Norm

CCR – Closed Circuit Rebreather

DPV – Diver Propulsion Vehicle

SCR – Semi Closed Rebreather

SPG – Submersible Pressure Gauge

SMB – Surface Marker Buoy

DSMB – Delayed Surface Marker Buoy

Dive Planning Acronyms

BWRAF – Pre Dive Safety Checks (BCD, Weights, Releases, Air, Final)

ADT – Actual Dive Time

RDP – Recreational Dive Planner

ERDPML – Electronic Recreational Dive Planner Multi Level

RDP – Residual Nitrogen Time

SI – Surface Interval

NDL – No Decompression Limit

MOD – Maximum Operating Depth

EANx – Enriched Air Nitrox

SORTED – Signal, Orientate, Regulator, Time, Elevate, Descend

STELA – Signal, Time, Elevate, Look & Listen, Ascend

Dive Course Acronyms

AWARE – Aquatic World Awareness, Responsibility and Education

AOW – Advanced Open Water

DM – Divemaster

DMC – Divemaster Candidate

DSD – Discover Scuba Diving

PPB – Peak Performance Buoyancy Course

MSD – Master Scuba Diver

OW – Open Water

OWSI – Open Water Scuba Instructor

MSDT – Master Scuba Diver Trainer

IE – Instructor Exam

IDC – Instructor Development Course

SD – Scuba Diver

CESA – Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent

Dive Medical Acronyms

ABCABS – Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Airway, Breathing, Serious Bleeding, Spinal injury & Shock

AED – Automated External Defibrillator

AGE – Arterial Gas Embolism

CNS – Central Nervous System

CPR – Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation

DCI – Decompression Illness

DCS – Decompression Sickness

DAN – Divers Alert Network

EFR – Emergency First Response

EMS – Emergency Services

SAMPLE – Signs & Symptoms, Allergies, Medication, Pre-existing medical conditions, Last Meal & Events (the acronym used to record an illness)

VENTID – Visual Disturbances, Ears ringing, Nausea, Twitching, Irritability, Dizziness (acronym used to help detect signs and symptoms of CNS Oxygen toxicity)

I think we can all tell from this blog alone that the diving community love to use acronyms!

Katy Jane

Thank you for reading. I started KatyJaneDives.com to share my passion for diving. I am an environmental educator, scientist and now an MSDT diver. This platform has been made to create, connect and share my knowledge in the world of diving.

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