Mike McAllister hoped that if he ignored an item about this that appeared in his news feed over a year ago (late 2019), it would go away. This appears to no longer be the case. Some members of the media are now allowing right-wing fringe lunatics to define terms.
This, according to Mike, needs to be countered and nipped in the bud. If you agree that this sign means what a few dimwitted racists and some uninformed members of the media accept it to mean, then you are, by definition, agreeing with the racists, because you accept that they have the ability to change what this sign means. Who wants to be in agreement with racists? They cannot be allowed by the diving community or the general public to co-opt this sign, which has been used for over 60 years as a means of communicating wordlessly underwater after entering the water or surfacing after a dive, that the Diver is OKAY.
No one who uses this OK sign to mean what it has meant for generations, (“I’m safe and don’t need help, you can now look to the other divers”) should ever apologize to the uninformed for using it.
Mike plans to follow up on this and will send an email to Post Media and others stating that accepting the white power definition of this historic safety symbol used by the Scuba Diving community worldwide, is completely unacceptable.
About The Okay Symbol
The OK gesture, also known as the OK sign or ring gesture, is made by connecting the thumb and index fingers into a circle while keeping the other fingers straight or relaxed away from the palm. When underwater, it is commonly used by divers to indicate “I am OK” or “Are you OK?” In most English-speaking countries, it means approval, agreement, and that everything is fine or “okay.”
In the communication used by scuba divers, the OK sign is specific in its meaning that “everything is OK” as regulated by the Recreational Scuba Training Council. Divers are taught to always use this sign and not the thumbs up gesture because the latter means that a diver needs to ascend. This OK symbol has been used by divers for 60 years
Divers use larger signals as an alternative to the standard OK gesture at distances where the standard OK gesture may be difficult to see, either with one hand atop the head and the elbow bent out to the side, or with both hands touching above the head so that the arms form a “O” for “OK.”
For the past 60 years, divers have used this OK symbol as a recognized acknowledgement of being OK. This symbol is taught to new divers during their training. It is completely unacceptable to disrespect this symbol and use it for racial issues.
Article submitted by Mike McAllister: Diving for 19 years since 2002, PADI Certified Advanced & Rescue Diver, Enriched Air Nitrox Certified, Nautical Archeological Society, NAS-1 Certified.