Full Cave Diver
The (full) cave diver course is one of the most advanced certifications available today, and exposes students to more sophisticated cave diving scenarios in more complex cave environments. The emphasis of this course is equipment configuration, decompression problem solving, jumps, circuits, traverses, and surveying.
The Cave Diver course is not intended to train divers for all facets of cave diving.
What it is:
The Cave Diver course introduces the student to more complex planning and navigation in cave dives. Techniques learned during the previous levels of cave training are further reinforced, and complex navigation skills are emphasized.
Topics include advanced cave diving planning, recalculation dives, simple and complex traverse procedures, simple and complex circuits, jumping procedures, reverse jumping procedures, decompression diving and procedures, dissimilar tank turn around procedures, anti silting techniques, trim and equipment streamlining and line protocol and awareness. Accident analysis continues to form the basis of the training
Agencies we teach for:
TDI, IANTD, and NSS CDS
IANTD offers IANTD Technical Cave Diver, which is cave and technical training combined.
See Prices Page
This includes your cave manual, your dive training, a certification card from your chosen agency, and photos (above and below water).
Apprentice and Full Cave Combo deal available, see Prices Page
What not included is gear hire, gas fills, food, lodging, dive site fees & transportation. Dive site fees range from $10-$30, depending on site. We use Nitrox for cave diving, which costs more than air.
A book called Basic Cave Diving: A Blueprint For Survival by Sheck Exley is also required for all Cave students.
The more you read and prepare for your cave course, the more enjoyable it will be for you!
Gear you need to provide:
You will need to have the following gear:
* Mask (low volume)
* Fins (no split fins!, straps must be spring straps or taped)
* 2 regulators (must be high performance, and serviced within the last year)
* Long hose (7 footer) on one of your regulators
* Back plate and wing (with sufficient lift to manage tanks)
* Wet/drysuit (Drysuit strongly recommended)
* Tanks must be doubles/sidemount configuration, and equipped with DIN valves. Whatever tanks are chosen must supply sufficient gas to complete class dives.
To sign up for this course you need to already be comfortable and proficient diving doubles.
* Primary Light, Canister Style Minimum 10 Watt HID
* Two Backup Lights
* A primary reel (at least 400 feet of line),
* Safety reel (minimum 75 feet of guideline)
* Two gap reels with fifteen 50 feet/15 meters of guideline.
* Computer or watch with tables
* Backup Bottom Timer/Depth/Computer
* Knife (recommended is a Z knife, to be arm or chest mounted)
* At least three line arrows and three cookies
* Wetnotes or Slate with pencil
Cave diving is a very demanding activity, and a gear intensive pursuit, your life and that of your buddy depends on the gear you use.
Choose your gear wisely!
If you have questions about gear choices call us! We have a wide selection of what is currently on the market, and have been training cave divers for many years, so we know whats good and whats not. Most local dive shops do not know what is appropriate gear for cave diving, and will sell you gear that has no place in a cave. Please call us in advance of your gear purchases.
What the course entails:
The cave course is an academic and water based course that reinforces and expands on skills learned in previous caver/cave training.
You will be presented with various cave diving scenarios, and YOU are responsible for dive planning, gas management and dive execution. At this level, your cave diving skills are expected to be at a very high level and that is the principal criteria in determining your successful completion of this course.
How we teach it:
There are two parts, the academics and the "wet" portion.
The academics are done at home from your Cave Manual. This guide is very well structured, informative learning tool, and excellent alternative to multiple day or evening lectures.
After you work through the manual, you will do a written test, either at home or some point before your cave course begins. You need to achieve at least 80% on your written test to pass.
When you meet with your Instructor you will do lots of land drills:
- Proficiency in the use of spools and reels while handling a light.
- Team and line placement procedures
- Zero visibility/Touch contact procedures while following a line
- Air share procedures
- Emergency procedures for lost line and lost buddy
- Use of line markers
You will also do a full review of the academics including (but not limited too):
- Accident Analysis
- Psychological considerations of cave diving, these include stress, attitude, awareness, reaction to and building stress in self and others, stress management and philosophy.
- Guideline techniques, reel usage
- Equipment and equipment configuration
- Dive planning and gas management
- Accident prevention procedures.
- Land owner relations and cave conservation
- Cave formation and terminology
- Diving limitations including the rule of thirds & dissimilar tank sizes.
For the wet training, we typically do two days in the water (and at least 4 dives), and a series of vital skills such as:
- S-drill, air sharing, equipment check and gear matching will begin every dive.
- Effective communications with both light and hand signals.
- Show a high degree of awareness of the environment and dive team.
- Appropriate gas management
- Follow a line with your eyes closed, without a mask, using the touch contact method of communication.
- Running and following a safe guideline in caves
- Familiarization and exploration of caves
- Lost line, lost diver and out of air procedures
- Use techniques for efficient conservation-minded propulsion techniques.
- Shut down drills
- Fundamentals of complex navigation.
- Cool and calm proficiency with a no lights, air share exit.
- Demonstrate above average buoyancy control, at all points during the dive, while having good trim and propulsion technique.
All dives will include a pre-dive briefing, bubble check, ‘s’ drill, gear matching, good dive team skills, safety stop and post dive critique.
Note: this is not a fully inclusive list, just an overview!
Specific skills depend on training agency.
It should be noted that participation in this class does not guarantee certification.
As mentioned, at this level of training, it is expected that your cave diving skills are at a very high level.
Each student must do the required number of dives, all the skills, and demonstrate that they are comfortable with planning and executing safe and fun cave dives before they receive their certification card.
Another basic (and often overlooked) aspect of cave diving is an understanding and appreciation of the fragile nature of cave systems. You are there by choice; the caves are not, so respect their delicate ecological balance. Caves have been there long before us, and is it our responsibility as divers, to ensure their survival for future generations. Caves are important for geological and archaeological reasons, as well as for providing homes for a multitude of animals.
After successful completion of your academics and water work, you will awarded your certification as a Cave Diver. This is your ticket to explore other caves, with other dive buddies. However, at Dayo Scuba we also "mentor" our students (at no extra cost), so you can gain additional experience in your favorite type of diving.
You must be at least 18 years old to receive a Cave Diver certification, there is no maximum age.
Minimum number of students per class:
We need 2 or more people to make a Cave Diver class; private, one-on-one classes can be organized for a separate fee.
How many people are in each class?
Our Cave Diver classes range in size, from 1-3 students (3 is the maximum per instructor). As we travel out of town for this class, usually there are at least two instructors, and another cavern/cave class going on at the same time as yours.
Schedule/Timing for Cave Diver Course:
We train all the time, and have multiple instructors on staff, many full time, so we do weekday and weekend classes.
Call us or check out our Calendar for dates of upcoming courses.
How long does the course take?
Usually we complete the wet portion of the Cave class in 4 days, with at least eight dives. If you already have the Apprentice rating, this qualifies as half of the Cave Diver course, so the student only needs to do two days, and four dives.
Sometimes it is necessary to be in the water more than the required number of days because of learning difficulties or weather issues. If necessary, you can come back, free of charge, and join in another Cave Course to finish your training. We will also train you for any extra days you may need to get you properly certified. It is our mission to make you a safe and competent diver.
Where we do our course:
We usually do our Cave Diver training in North Florida, the caves there are very beautiful, and ideal for training (Orange Grove Springs, Peacock Springs, Little River Springs). We are very limited to cave choice around the Orlando area. We dive at least three different caves for the Cave Diver course.
Prerequisites for Course:
* Before participating in the Cave Diver course, you will be asked to fill out a standard liability release form and a medical statement. If you answer YES to anything on the medical form we will require that you get it signed off by a physician.
* Intro to Cave Diver certification, or equivalent.
*Advanced Open Water certification, or equivalent
* You must be Nitrox certified.
* This class requires that all student divers already possess perfect buoyancy skills.
* is required for all cave and technical classes.
* 100 minimum logged dives
* As Cave Diver training dives are long dives, we require that all students are (or enrolled in at the time) Advanced Nitrox Divers.
* We also highly recommend that Cave Divers are trained in Decompression Procedures.
Standards for the Cave Course:
* Maximum depth for Cave Diver training dives will not exceed 130 feet/40 meters.
* All Cave Diver training dives will be started with at least 20 feet of visibility.
* No stage diving (decompression and safety cylinders are permitted). Limited decompression allowed.
* No major restrictions
* At no time, ever, will life support gear be removed from the diver while in the overhead environment.
* Penetrations are limited to 1/3 of a set of doubles.
* A primary focus of the Full Cave Diver course is establishing proper procedures for completing traverses and circuits, both simple and complex.
What you can do afterwards:
* Dive, dive, dive in the MANY caves across the state of Florida, indeed anywhere!!!
* You will be a much safer, more competent and comfortable diver after completion of your Cave Diver course.
* The safe diving practices learned during your Cave Diver course will apply to all types of diving you do in the future, including open water recreational diving.
* Continue your diver training with more specialized training.
*The Cave Diver course is a prerequisite to other Cave Courses.
Dayo Scuba maintains the worlds leading Cave & Cavern Diving Forum. For more information and resources about cave diving, check it out: