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Most Important Scuba Diving Abbreviations & Acronyms

May 11, 2021

By Chantal

PADI IDC Staff Instructor and passionate diver.

When becoming a dive professional, apart of diving, there is a lot of theory to study. No matter how experienced you are, there will always come the day that you learn something you did not know yet, or you forgot already.

In diving we often use abbreviations & acronyms to shorten words or to remember them better. Unfortunately, many times neither divers, nor professionals do not actually now what they are standing for. To make sure you know what you are talking about, as following you will find a list of the most common abbreviations and acronyms used in diving:

AAS Alternate Air Source
AB-CABS Cycle of Care: Airway Open? Breathing normally? Chest Compressions / Airway Open / Breathing / Serious Bleeding, Shock, Spinal Injury
ABT Actual Bottom Time
AD Adventure Diver (PADI)
ADT Actual Dive Time
AED Automated External Defribillator
AGE Aterial Gas Embolism
AI Assistant Instructor (PADI)
AOW Advanced Open Water
ATA Atmospheres Absolute
AWARE Aquatic World Awareness, Responsibility and Education
BC Bouyancy Compensator
BCD Buoyancy Control Device
BSAC British Sub-Aqua Club
BT Bottom Time
BWRAF BCD, Weights, Releases, Air, Final o.k.
CAGE Cerebral Arterial Gas Embolism
CCR Closed Circuit Rebreather
CD Course Director
CESA Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent
CMAS Confederation Moniale Des Activities Subaquatiques
CPR Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, Chest Compressions
CNS Central Nervous System
DAN Divers Alert Network
DCI Decompression Illness
DCS Decompression Sickness
DEMA Diving Equipment Manufacturers Association
DIN Deutsches Insitut Fuer Normung
DIR Doing It Right
DM Divemaster (PADI)
DMT Divemaster Trainee
DPV Diver Propulsion Vehicle
DSD Discover Scuba Diving (PADI)
DSMB Delayed Surface Marker Buoy
DV Demand Valve
EAN(X) Enriched Air Nitrox
EAR Expired Air Resuscitation
EFR Emergency First Response
EMS Emergency Medical Services
END Equivalent Narcotic Depth
eRDP electronic Recrational Dive Planner
FAST Help to identify if a patient is having a stroke: Face, Arms, Speech, Time
HP High Pressure
HPNS High Pressure Nervous Syndrome
IAND International Association Of Nitrox Divers
IDC Instructor Development Course (PADI)
IDC Staff Instr Instructor Development Course Staff Instructor (PADI)
LAT Lowest Astonomical Tide
LP Low Pressure
LPI Low Pressure Inflator
MDT Maximum Dive Time
MI Master instructor
MOD Maximum Operating Depth
MSD Master Scuba Diver (PADI)
MSDT Master Scuba Diver Trainer (PADI)
NAUI National Association Of Underwater Instructors
NDL No Decompression Limit
NITROX Any Gas Mixture Of Nitrogen And Oxygen; Though Most Commonly Used For Oxygen Mixtures Above The Normal 21 Per Cent.
OW(D) Open Water (Diver) (PADI)
OWSI Open Water Scuba Instructor (PADI)
OTU Oxygen Toxicity Unit – One OTU is earned by breathing 100% oxygen at one bar for one minute
PADI Professional Association Of Diving Instructors
PIC Positive Identification Card (PADI)
PG Pressure Group
PP Partial Pressure
PPB Peak Performance Bouyancy
PSI Pounds Per Square Inch
RD Rescue Diver (PADI)
RDP Recreational Dive Planner
Resc Rescue
RIB Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat
RNT Residual Nitrogen Time
RSTC Recreational Scuba Training Council. Organization That Sets Basic Guidelines For Scuba Diving Agencies
RYA Royal Yachting Association
SAC Surface Air Consumption (in liters pe rminute)
SAMPLE Signs & Symptoms / Allergies / Medications / Preexisting Medical / Conditions / Last Meal / Events
SCUBA Self Contained Underwater Breathing Aparatus
SDI Scuba Diving International
SI Surface Interval
SMB Surface Marker Buoy
SPG Submerssible Pressure Guage
SSI Scuba Schools International; Diving Instruction Organization
SORTED Signal, Orientation, Regulator, Time, Elevate, Descend
STELLA Signal, Time, Elevate, Look, Listen, Ascend
TDI Technical Diving International
TDT Total Dive Time
TNT Total Nitrogen Time
TP Test Pressure
VENTID Vision Ears Nausea Twitiching Irritation Dizziness
VGE Venous Gas Embolism


Obviously there are many more acronyms to be used. However, for now thses are probably enough to remember. In case you would like us to add any new words to the list, feel free to send them to us via email to [email protected].

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