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It's a sign, not an intentional signal.
Equipment rejection is a common sign of impaired thinking or panic. You'll often see mountain climbers or hikers with hypothermia losing important items like hats and gloves.
I was floating in the shallow (<15’ end of a rock quarry in KY last year and talking to my daughter after one dive with my mask on my forehead, and an OW diver with a hand full of dives asked me if I was in distress.I laughed and told him that I was OK, and that I normally don’t do that in the ocean.I actually know he only had a handful of dives because he asked me to sign his log book after I got back to the picnic tables. Nothing wrong with what he said, he was just executing what he had been recently taught, and to his credit he didn’t forget everything after getting his c-card.