Where To Place Your Arms While Scuba Diving

Where To Place Your Arms While Scuba Diving

Where to place your arms while scuba diving  coral

- Jon Milnes

In this article we are 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 a just some 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 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.

Where to place your arms while scuba diving bouncer

The Club Bouncer arm position - Credit: 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.

Where to place your arms while scuba diving in front

A diver folding arms in front . Credit: Jon Milnes

Arms folded in front of 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!

Where to place your arms while scuba diving seeing fish

Once you find the right position, you can focus more on sight seeing - Credit: Rich Carey

Observe other divers to 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!

About The Author

Torben Lonne

Torben is a top skilled PADI MSDT instructor. He has worked several years with scuba diving in Indonesia and Thailand - and dived most of his life in most of the world.He is also the co-founder and chief-editor of DIVE.in you can always catch him here torben@dive.in

6 Comments

  1. Sam Lin

    Hi guys thanks for the tips. I*m new to diving so gotta try getting those hands under control. I always take arm strokes. Just can’t help it old habit from when I was a competitive swimmer.

    Reply
    • Torben Lonne

      HI Sam, thanks for sharing! Hope you can use it. It will get better with time and practice..

  2. Jay Skiba

    Hook my thumbs in the metal loops on the waist belt of my BCD.

    Reply
    • Torben Lonne

      That will work as well – and solves the problem of the arms falling down.

  3. bod

    I often put my hands in my bcd pockets. You’ve gotta be pretty neutral with your BCD deflated and have good buoyancy control. But it’s comfy, keeps your hands warmer and looks way way relaxed with a touch of casual cool ;o)

    Reply
    • Torben Lonne

      As I only have top pockets I wouldn’t look relaxed doing this, but I can really see a big advantage in this possession.

      Thanks for sharing!

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