Cave Survey (NSS CDS and TDI only)
The Underwater Cave Survey course is designed to provide students with the basics to survey underwater caves. The aim of this programme is to motivate more cave divers to survey caves, to encourage the use of cave maps in dive planning, and to increase the quantity and quality of published cave maps.
The Underwater Cave Survey course is not intended to train divers for all facets of cave surveying.
What it is:
The Underwater Cave Survey course promotes safety, accuracy, and standardization of cave survey techniques. Through surveying, students develop a better understanding of caves, and how to improve map reading skills for future dive planning. The importance of buoyancy control and efficient equipment configuration plays a vital role in successful cave survey. Topics covered in full detail include accuracy standards, composition of the survey team, use and fabrication of special tools, survey techniques and methodology, safety considerations, data manipulation and mathematical
calculations, symbology, cartography, copyright and publication.
Agencies we teach for:
NSS-CDS and TDI
See Prices Page
This includes your cave 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.
Basic Underwater Cave Surveying by John Burge, published by the NSS-CDS is required for all Underwater Cave Survey courses.
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 underwater cave survey 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
* Tape measure
* Declemeter (for sump diving).
* Note pad and pen
* Graph paper
* Scaling ruler
* Circular protractor
* Basic or scientific calculator.
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:
You will be offered an opportunity to survey various caves, both as an individual and as part of a team. The seven phases of the survey process, from conception to completion of
a survey, are discussed and practiced.
YOU, the student, are responsible for dive planning, gas management, dive execution and data collection. 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 Underwater Cave Survey 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):
- Phases of cave survey
- Equipment and configuration
- Accuracy standards
- Composition of a survey team
- Use and fabrication of special tools
- Survey techniques and methodology
- Safety considerations
- Data recording and mathematical calculations
- Symbols used in cave survey
- Overview of cartography
- Copyright and map publication
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 surveying.
- 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, exploration and survey of caves
- Use techniques for efficient conservation-minded propulsion.
- Cool and calm proficiency with all simulated emergency situations.
- Produce accurate data recordings for cave surveys
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 accurate cave surveys before they receive their certification card.
After successful completion of your academics and water work, you will awarded your certification as an Underwater Cave Survey diver. This is your ticket to explore and survey 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 an Underwater Cave Survey certification, there is no maximum age.
Minimum number of students per class:
We need 2 people to make an Underwater Cave Survey class; private, one-on-one classes can be organized for a separate fee.
How many people are in each class?
Our Underwater Cave Survey 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 Underwater Cave Survey 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. We usually do the Underwater Cave Survey Classes in Tennessee, call for details of our next trip!
How long does the course take?
Usually we complete the wet portion of the Underwater Cave Survey 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 Underwater Cave Survey 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 Underwater Cave Survey training in Tennessee, or less traveled areas of North Florida. You will see and dive caves that have not been seen by many other divers! We always have great adventures on these trips.
You will dive at least two different caves during your Underwater Cave Survey course.
Prerequisites for Course:
* Before participating in the Underwater Cave Survey 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.
* 25 minimum logged non training cave dives after completion of Cave certification.
* We also highly recommend that Underwater Cave Survey divers, are trained in Decompression Procedures.
Standards for the Underwater Cave Survey course
* Maximum depth for Underwater Cave Survey training dives will not exceed 130 feet/40 meters.
* All Underwater Cave Survey training dives will be started with at least 20 feet of visibility.
* Limited decompression only.
* Penetrations are limited to 1/3 of all bottles, including stage bottles.
What you can do afterwards:
* Dive, dive, dive, and now survey, 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 Underwater Cave Survey course.
* You can survey NEW cave, or even your favorite cave
* Continue your diver training with more specialized training.
Dayo Scuba maintains the worlds leading Cave & Cavern Diving Forum. For more information and resources about cave diving, check it out: