The Stage Diver course is an advanced cave specialty that teaches certified cave divers the safe techniques to venture further into the cave environment than their doubles/sidemount set up allows. Stage diving is also useful for speeding up decompression (by use of multiple gases) and increased safety, for for the individual diver, and the team.
The Stage Diver course is not intended to train divers for all facets of cave diving.
What it is:
The Stage Diver course focuses on the proper rigging, handling and use of stage cylinders in the cave environment. Strong emphasis is placed on accurate gas management of all cylinders used by the diver, including decompression cylinders.
Topics covered include longer dive exposure, decompression, task loading, more complex navigation, safety practices and procedures, conservation, advanced gas management, stage rigging, trim, streamlining, problem management, task loading, and psychological aspects.
Agencies we teach for:
NSS-CDS, IANTD and TDI
See Prices Page
This includes your Stage diver manual, your dive training, a certification card from your chosen agency, and photos (above and below water).
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)
* Spare mask: Sidemount passages yield more contact, there is more of a chance of pulling off a mask, or being kicked in the face in small passages
* Fins (no split fins!, straps must be spring straps or taped)
* 2 regulators (must be high performance, and serviced within the last year)
* Each regulator must have its’ own dedicated
submersible pressure gauge.
* Long hose (7 footer) on one of your regulators
* Suitable Sidemount harness and wing, (with sufficient lift to manage tanks)
* Wet/drysuit (Drysuit strongly recommended)
* Weights (if necessary).
* Tanks must be in a 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 sidemount.
* 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
* Two knifes (recommended is a Z knife, to be arm or chest mounted)
* At least three line arrows and three cookies
* Wetnotes or Slate with pencil
* At least 2 stage bottles, rigged and correctly labeled
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:
No matter what reasoning the student has for wanting to take additional tanks into the cave, this course teaches the safe way to do it. Through intense theory and practice, the student will (with instructor review and approval), plan and execute dives to extend their range of cave penetrations, all within safe air management rules.
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 Stage Diver 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.
You will do a full review of the academics including (but not limited too):
- Equipment and configuration
- Motives and risks for stage diving
- Procedures and techniques for stage diving.
- Task loading and planning needs for stage diving.
- Conservation considerations for stage handling, adopting techniques for minimum cave impact, considerations for the increased range of impact of divers with the cave
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 (Share air, equipment check and gear matching will begin every dive).
- Demonstrate above-average buoyancy control, while maintaining good trim at all points during the dive when while carrying stage and decompression cylinders.
- Effective communications with both light and hand signals.
- Show a high degree of awareness of the environment and dive team.
- Appropriate gas management
- Running and following a safe guideline in caves
- Familiarization and exploration of caves
- Use techniques for efficient conservation-minded propulsion.
- Cool and calm proficiency with all simulated emergency situations.
- Rigging and transport of stage cylinders in a streamlined manner.
- Attach stages to the line and recover stages without a loss of buoyancy control or trim.
- Recover and deploy stages in a timely manner without a loss of buoyancy control or trim.
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 stage and multi stage cave dives before they receive their certification card.
After successful completion of your academics and water work, you will awarded your certification as a stage diver. This is your ticket to further 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 Stage Diver certification, there is no maximum age.
Minimum number of students per class:
We need 2 people to make a Stage Diver class; private, one-on-one classes can be organized for a separate fee.
How many people are in each class?
Our Stage Diver classes range in size, from 1-2 students. 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 Stage 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 Stage Diver course in 2 days, with at least fours 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 Stage Diver class 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 Stage Diver training in North Florida, the caves there are very beautiful, and ideal for training (Orange Grove Springs, Peacock Springs, Little River Springs, Ginnie Springs). We are very limited to cave choice around the Orlando area. We dive at least two different cave for the Stage Diver course.
Cave Diver in Ginnie Springs
Prerequisites for Course:
* Before participating in the Stage 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.
* Cave Diver certification, or equivalent.
* This class requires that all student divers already possess perfect buoyancy skills.
* is required for all cave and technical courses.
* A minimum of 50 logged non training cave dives after completion of Cave certification.
* We require that Stage Divers are trained in Decompression Procedures.
Standards for the Stage Diver course
* Maximum depth for Stage Diver training dives will not exceed 130 feet/40 meters.
* All Stage Diver training dives will be started with at least 20 feet of visibility.
* All divers will carry at least 2, and maximum of 6 stage cylinders for the dive.
* Penetrations are limited to 1/3 of all bottles, including stage bottles.
What you can do afterwards:
* Dive, dive, dive, and now penetrate even, 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 Stage Diver course.
* You can see more of your favorite cave by making longer, safer dives there.
* Continue your diver training with more specialized training.
Dayo Scuba hosts, sponsors and maintains the worlds leading Cave & Cavern Diving Forum. For more information and resources about cave diving, check it out: