Sidemount Cave Diver passing a major restriction
Mexican Cenote Entrance
Sidemount Cave Diver passing a minor restriction with low ceiling

CAVE DIVING

Underworld, Out of this World

 
 

FROM THE LIGHT INTO DARKNESS

There are many reasons to venture into submerged caves, from scientific survey to exploration or technical sport diving.  It is important to understand your motivation for cave diving and make an investment to educate yourself as much as possible to safely dive in these sometimes alien and hostile environments.  Training options are available below.

Caves are some of the harshest, but most captivating diving environments

Cavern Divers in Mexico
CAVERN DIVER

4 to 5 days

A strong foundation is essential when undertaking overhead training and the Cavern Diver course aims to build exactly that.

A cavern has some formal definitions such as always being able to see natural light, but it requires the utmost attention and concentration to be able to safely navigate this overhead environment.  Since direct access to the surface is not possible, there are no less safety measures involved in Cavern Diving compared with further overhead training.

The Cavern Diver course will introduce the concepts, techniques, equipment, hazards and safety measures required for all of your cavern and cave diving - as such, I consider it to be the most important course in the education of an overhead diver.

Land Workshops cover,

  • How to deploy a guideline using a primary reel and spool

  • How to select and make tie offs appropriate to the environment and navigation requirements

  • How to deploy personal line markers

  • How to exit a cavern in zero visibility using various diver touch contact methods

  • How to exit a cavern while sharing gas

  • How to exit a cavern in zero visibility while sharing gas

  • How to handle equipment problems such as lamp and mask failures

  • How to dive as a team - including positioning, assisting and emergency protocols

Theory Sessions cover,

  • Cavern Diver Standards

  • Options for both mandatory and optional equipment

  • Team work, positioning & roles

  • Communication methods

  • Dive planning

  • Gas management

  • SAC rate & swim speed measurement

  • Breathing control and stress management

  • Accident analysis

Water Sessions cover technical & overhead level skills such as,

  • Overhead propulsion techniques

  • SAC measurements

  • Pre-Dive checks, bubble checks & S-Drills

  • Line deployment & navigation

  • Line marker deployment and retrieval

  • Lamp failure and backup deployment

  • Mask failure and backup mask deployment

  • Team exits in zero visibility

  • Gas sharing exits

  • Team exits in zero visibility while sharing gas

  • Referencing techniques & backup navigation methods

The training for Cavern Diver will be unlike any open water courses you have taken, but it will pay off with increased skill, awareness and appreciation for the overhead environment.  Take a look below at some typical training dives.

Feel free to get in touch to discuss your training.

Cave diver making a zero visibility exit
INTRO CAVE DIVER

4 to 5 days

Leaving the Cavern Zone and venturing further into the overhead environment requires more skill, awareness and procedures.

As a cave diver, you will move beyond the daylight zone and enter "The Dark Side" where the hazards increase and the exit becomes further away.

The Intro to Cave Diver course will extend and refine your Cavern level skills and require you to connect onto cave lines and safely navigate the cave while being aware of line markings, exit directions and other teams inside the cave.

Additional emphasis is placed on gas management since you will be further inside the overhead environment and have to allow for emergency procedures to be able to safely exit the cave at all times. 

Land Workshops cover,

  • Guideline deployment review

  • Cavern skills review

  • Cave line connection - options and procedures

  • Line marker awareness to include exit referencing and system marker cancellations

  • Team work and exit referencing

  • Team exit review for zero visibility and gas sharing emergencies.

  • How to perform a search for a missing diver

  • How to search for and recover a lost guideline

Theory Sessions cover,

  • Cave Diver Standards

  • Additional equipment required for cave diving

  • Cave line connection options

  • Line navigation protocols and choices

  • Gas management

  • Team work, positioning & roles

  • Communication methods

  • Dive planning

  • Cave geology and land access

  • Cave Diving conservation and etiquette

  • Written Examination

Water Sessions cover technical & overhead level skills such as,

  • Pre-Dive checks, bubble checks & S-Drills

  • Overhead propulsion techniques

  • Line deployment

  • Cave line connections

  • Line marker analysis, deployment & retrieval

  • All Cavern Level skills to be performed to Cave Level standards

  • Missing diver procedure

  • Lost line procedure

  • Cave Level awareness of the environment, dive, lines and conservation techniques

  • Referencing techniques & backup navigation methods

The training for Intro to Cave Diver will be unlike any open water courses you have taken, but it will pay off with increased skill, awareness and appreciation for the overhead environment.  Take a look below at a training dive to see how it looks,

 

Feel free to get in touch to discuss your training.

 
Cave diver making navigation decisions

4 to 5 days

FULL CAVE DIVER

Travelling further into the overhead environment with skills and procedures for complex navigation.

As a Full Cave diver, you will be able to increase the duration and complexity of your cave dives through increased gas allowances and navigation options.

The Full Cave Diver course will extend and refine your Cave level skills and require you to perform complex navigation involving directional choices at line intersections (T junctions), gaps, jumps, circuits and traverses.

Additional emphasis is placed on diver skill, awareness, navigation awareness and procedures to be able to safely exit the cave at all times. 

Land Workshops cover,

  • Guideline deployment review

  • Cave skills review

  • Cave line connection review

  • Line marker awareness to include directional guidance for navigation

  • Team work and exit referencing

  • Team exit review for zero visibility and gas sharing emergencies.

  • Procedures for Ts, Jumps, Gaps, Complex Circuits & Complex Traverses

  • Positioning options for minor restrictions

Theory Sessions cover,

  • Cave Diver Standards

  • Line navigation protocols and choices

  • Gas management

  • Team work, positioning & roles

  • Dive planning

  • Complex Navigation - types and safe navigation methods

  • Complex Circuits & Traverses - definitions and approach

  • Written Examination

Water Sessions cover technical & overhead level skills such as,

  • Pre-Dive checks, bubble checks & S-Drills

  • Overhead propulsion techniques

  • Line deployment

  • Cave line connections

  • All Intro Cave Level skills to be performed to Cave Level standards

  • Cave Level awareness of the environment, dive, lines and conservation techniques

  • Complex navigation procedures for Ts, Jumps, Gaps, Circuits and Traverses

  • Referencing techniques & backup navigation methods

Full Cave Diver training is not to be taken lightly and requires a methodical and safe approach coupled with a high level of awareness and diving skill.  Take a look at a training dive and see how the divers are looking at the level.

Feel free to get in touch to discuss your training.

Sidemount Technical Cave Diver at Cenote Xacil Ha
Sidemount Technical Cave Diver from below
Sidemount Technical Cave Diver

See some of the divers & skills

DIVERS IN ACTION

 
 

CAVERNS, CAVES & CAVE DIVING

Cave diver making a vertical descent

Caves are unlike other diving environments

With their fascinating geology and unforgiving nature, there is a huge amount to learn about caves and cave diving.  If you are interested in learning more about these places, take a look below to get started.

Sheck Exley Blueprint for Survival

ACCIDENT ANALYSIS

Most cave diving accidents occur with untrained cave divers - the environment calls for specific equipment, procedures and training.

In 1979, Sheck Exley published the now famous 'Basic Cave Diving – A Blueprint for Survival.'

Accident analysis was used as a tool to create a set of rules and safety protocols that work in real-life situations. 


Research showed that five major factors led to a diving fatality in most cave diving accidents.  This led to the development of the five rules of accident analysis.

Among trained cave divers, these rules are still being broken - the most common cause of fatalities among cave trained divers is exceeding the safe depth for their breathing gas.

Taking cave level training is the first step to enable you to make safe cave dives, but making regular cave dives to gain experience and keep your skills up is essential.

RULE 1

Be trained in the type of diving you are doing.

Divers must be trained specifically for cave diving - training for open water diving is not sufficient.​


About two-thirds of all cave diving accidents involved people who had no training at all. Another 25% exceeding their level of training. Training levels were exceeded in more than 90% of all fatalities, pointing to the importance of receiving adequate training before starting technical diving activities.

Cave diver lowering cylinders into a cave

CAVE ORGANISATIONS

The are several organisations dedicated to cave education, safety and environmental awareness.

NATIONAL SPELEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

The NSS (National Speleological Society) is the largest organization in the world working to further the exploration, study, and protection of caves and their environments, and foster fellowship among cavers.  For over 70 years, the National Speleological Society has promoted safe and responsible caving practices, effective cave and karst management, speleology, and conservation.

CAVE DIVING GROUP

The CDG (Cave Diving Group) is the representative body for Cave Divers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Its function is to educate and support cavers for recreational and exploratory operations in British sump conditions.  Formed in 1946, it is the longest running cave diving organisation and amateur diving club in the world.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR CAVE DIVING

The NACD (National Association for Cave Diving) is dedicated to promoting a greater appreciation and a full understanding of the special needs required in The Art of Safe Cave Diving.  A not for profit, member's based professional cave diver training organisation serving the cave diving community throughout the world since 1968

INTERNATIONAL UNDERWATER CAVE RESCUE AND RECOVERY

The IUCRR (International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery) is an international all-volunteer, not-for-profit public service and educational organisation registered in the State of Florida.

Are you ready for your cave training?

Do you have any questions or looking for something you don't see?

©2020 Diver by Design

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