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Cavern Diver Course

Demonstrating line running technique

Known to the cave diving community as “the daylight zone”, these spectacular entrances into the Floridian aquifer have been the subject of many photographic backdrops. It is here that the journey begins into the timeless realm of the caves and where you’ll gain an elementary understanding of the beauty and sometimes fatal seduction of the overhead environment.

The Cavern course is for a diver who is looking for a personal challenge and is interested in improving their overall diving skills. It is offered over a two day period in which the participant will receive a rich grounding in the basics of cavern diving and have the opportunity to explore at least two of North Florida’s prettiest cavern zones.

Since this course is both an extension of open water diving and an introduction to the cave environment, most open water gear can be modified for this course. Double tanks may be used at this level if you are already comfortable in this gear configuration. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be certified to safely explore the area of the cave that is illuminated by natural light, while keeping within your limitations. This course is the cornerstone for all cave diving training and it will introduce skills and techniques not normally covered in open water training. It will provide you with safety benefits that you can use for the rest of your diving career, even if you do not continue on with training or diving in the overhead environment.

Light zone in Devil's EarThe classroom portion covers various topics such as accident analysis, the psychological aspects of cavern diving, lines and line protocol, dive planning and gas management, emergency prevention and procedures and the history and philosophy of the cave diving agencies. You will then be taught in the field about the proper use of guidelines and reels and “touch contact” procedures will be discussed and practiced, then completed in open water and finally addressed again in the cavern environment. The prerequisite for the Cavern Course is only basic open water certification, although it is recommended that you have some diving experience beyond that.

Here’s a list of equipment needed for the class: a mask and fins (with springs or straps taped), a wetsuit or dry suit, a tank (or a set of doubles) that holds at least seventy-two cubic feet of gas, a first stage with two second stages (one equipped with a seven foot hose) and a submersible pressure gauge, a BC with power inflator, tables/bottom timer or dive computer, a cutting device, wet notes/slate and pencil, two lights, two safety reels/spools and one primary reel per team.

As with all cave and technical classes that I offer, please realize that participation in the class does not guarantee certification. Should you not end up with a certification, I will provide you with a list of areas that need more practice and am more than happy to assist you in working with these. As always, if you have any additional questions about training, scheduling or any other aspect of cavern and cave diving, feel free to contact me via email, generally I will respond back to you within twenty-four hours.