Education, Enjoyment and Exploration…

Sidemount Specialty Course

Most original cave exploration was done with sidemount gear and today, sidemount is experiencing a new resurgence in popularity. There are many reasons to sidemount; it offers the solo diver superior redundancy, it gives the older diver who doesn’t wish to deal with the weight of steel doubles a different option and of course, satisfies the desires of those who have the urge to crawl into small spaces to see what’s on the other side!

The prerequisites for this course are Full Cave or Cave 2 with a minimum of fifty non-training logged cave dives. Due to the nature of our location in North Florida, we can cater the course to your needs; whether you simply want to get the weight off your back, experience superior redundancy or you wish to learn how to dive in small, restrictive type cave, we can work with the type of sidemount diving you wish to do.

Sidemount originated in Europe as a means of exploring sumps (water filled passages in dry caves) and was refined for Florida cave diving in the late 70’s by Woody Jasper and company. These early pioneers experimented with these different configurations in order to enter low bedding plane type cave that was previously impassable to the back mounted diver and in doing so, discovered thousands of feet of new cave!

Now with the advent of newer technology, we are finding more and more of these untouched tunnels as we delve further back in to the recesses of the earth. Up until just a few years ago, divers were building their own sidemount harnesses from scratch, but now there is a wide variety of commercially available sidemount rigs, which make entering this type of advanced diving easier than ever before.

Topics covered over the two day course will include rigging of the sidemount harness and bottles, psychological ramifications of sidemount diving, gas management, line running and following in limited visibility, bottle removal and replacement and an array of other skills. Cave sites will be chosen according to the type of course the student wishes to pursue, a Jon boat and/or a canoe is available for river trips but this will not always be an option depending on the time of year, please feel free to contact me with any special requests.

I do have extra sidemount rigs that are available for students use, but the purchase of one’s own system is highly recommended as the sidemount harness is a very personal piece of equipment, tailored to each individual and we are here to assist you with that during your class!

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.

If you have any further questions regarding equipment considerations, scheduling or any other aspect of sidemount diving, please feel free to contact me via email and usually I’ll respond back to you within twenty four hours.