Where To Place Your Arms While Scuba Diving

Where To Place Your Arms While Scuba Diving
Jon Milnes

In this article, we’re going to help you find a place to put your arms while scuba diving.

If you are new to diving not having any ideas of what to do with your arms is common. Lots of times divers’ arms just sort of dangle and hang or they use them to swim along with their legs. With any luck, one of the following ideas on where to place your arms while scuba diving will work.

Where Can They Be?

Ultimately your arms can be wherever you’d like them to be, all you need to keep in mind is additional drag and comfort.

In addition, consider what you are going to be using your arms for. Here are some simple questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you going to be using your arms for any work doing the dive?
  • Is the dive just for sport or are you planning on doing any activity on the dive?
  • Are you taking anything along with you on the dive maybe an underwater camera?
  • Will you be diving close to a wall and need your arms to swim in reverse?

The Different Places

Arms down the side

Arms placed straight down the side of your body is the same position used when walking. This makes arms streamlined and easy to use. This position is great to consider when in a hurry or swimming strong currents. The disadvantage to this is that arms sometimes fall down in front of you unless you’re holding the BCD.

In front of BCD

Holding onto straps or the inflator hose or stuffed into the sides on the BCD is this position. This works well if you need to push off or need to use your hands quickly. The negative side to this is that it’s not the best pose for pictures and your hands tend to fall out.

Arms folded in front

If you can imagine a bouncer standing in a club, this is how this position looks. This is easier on your arms because they are tucked into your body. It also produces a quick release if you need to use your arms, giving little drag and great balance. If someone snaps a picture of you while in this position, you may appear slightly angry, even if you aren’t.

The Club Bouncer arm position
The Club Bouncer arm position
Photo by: Rich Carey

Tugged under the tank or behind the BCD

This position is really comfortable and has a small amount of drag. Also while resting, your arms won’t tend to fall. The downfall to this position is that you have slightly less control while in the water and you need a little faster reaction to free the arms when pushing off.

Hands folded in front of lower body

During your dive, if you are carrying something like a pointer, camera, or tool, this position gives rapid use of your arms and drag is still kept to a minimum. In addition, there isn’t any need to unstrap your camera from your D-ring if you want to take pictures. One of the disadvantages is that your arms tend to fall down slightly, plus there’s more drag because the camera dangling in front.

A diver folding arms in front.
A diver folding arms in front.
Photo by: Jon Milnes

Arms folded in front of the face

This position looks like you are taking a nap lying on your stomach with your arms folded over your head, enabling a fast reaction time with your arms. You’ll enjoy a feeling of flying and appear in complete control of buoyancy. Downside? Arms still tend to fall down, possibly giving you a restricted view in front.

Find Your Own Place

Remember in all of this not to hide your arms too well just in case you need them to push yourself off the bottom if you get into any buoyancy issues.

There are many numerous positions for arms while scuba diving. So try out different ways. Find what YOU like!

Once you find the right position, you can focus more on sightseeing
Once you find the right position, you can focus more on sightseeing
Photo by: Rich Carey

Observe other divers and see what they do and where they position their arms. Then imitate their ways to see how it feels for you. Always remember, though, to keep drag at a minimum and stay relaxed. Once you find a good position you’ll feel a lot more comfortable in the water, which helps you concentrate on other exciting parts of diving.

Where do you position your arms while diving and why it works so well for you! Let us know!


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Go to Frontpage