Scuba slang and underwater terminology

Learn the lingo: Scuba slang and underwater terminology

When you first visit the Great Barrier Reef your head might be swimming with information overload – so many acronyms, so many different types of weird and wonderful marine creatures!

Consider this your mini Great Barrier Reef glossary. Study up and you’ll be a bona fide dive guru in no time (well, you’ll sound like one, at least).


Remote Area Dive | Learn the lingo" Scuba slang and underwater terminology

A tank-first fall off the side of a boat – cross your fins, hold your mask and get ready to roll.


When your instructor or guide tells you there are some beautiful bommies, you’re looking for mini metropolises blooming with coral and fish life. The word ‘bommie’ comes from the Aboriginal word ‘bombora’, meaning ‘mountain of reef’. Makes sense, right?


Neoprene shoe worn to protect your feet when clambering over rocks on a shore dive. Also help to keep your tootsies warm!


BCD | Scuba slang and underwater terminology

Buoyancy compensation device – this is the inflatable vest you wear that has your air tank strapped to the back.


Discover Scuba Diving, otherwise known as an intro dive. Anyone can do a DSD to get a taste of scuba, but you’ll need to complete further training to be a qualified diver.


An essential step when diving to clear the pressure in your ears and safely descend underwater. Pinch your nose and blow every metre or so to open the Eustachian tubes. If it hurts, stop, ascend a little and try again. Don’t push through it!


Fins | Scuba slang and underwater terminology

Never call them flippers!

Fun dive

The term used by dive crew for any certified divers undertaking a dive, as opposed to a training dive for a student diver.

Giant stride

Giant stride | Scuba slang and underwater terminology

Remember: One small step for humans, one giant step for divers (to ensure you get off the boat and into the water without hooking your tank on the edge of the vessel!)


The name given to a dive excursion that lasts several days where you sleep on the boat.


Reg | Scuba slang and underwater terminology

Your regulator – aka the breathing apparatus you depend upon, that simultaneously makes you look like Walt from Breaking Bad on a cook-up.

Stinger Suit

A dashing lycra onesie you will be required to wear on North Queensland dive trips throughout stinger season from November to May. Flattering they may not be, but sun safe and better than a brush with a jellyfish? You betcha.


An unsafe diver.


VIS | Scuba slang and underwater terminology

Slang for visibility aka how far you can see clearly underwater before things get a little murky.

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