Why is special training
needed for cave diving?
Safe cave diving is not quite as simple as merely trying to keep the entrance in sight at all times or learning to use special equipment. There are many other aspects of these activities that one can learn only in cave diving courses. These include:
- Guideline and Reel Use: Learning to use a reel and guideline is not a do-it-yourself proposition; it requires as much instruction and practice as learning to master buoyancy control — if not more so. We devote a significant portion of Cave Diver training to proper use of a guideline and reel, and give each student plenty of opportunity to practice.
- Specialized Buoyancy Control, Body Position and Propulsion Techniques: Without these specialized skills, the average open-water diver quickly turns the most pristine cave environment into a silty, disgusting mess. This not only impairs the enjoyment of cave diving, it is downright dangerous. Thus, special buoyancy-control, body positioning and propulsion techniques are an integral part of Cave Diver training.
- Equipment Modification: Normal open-water diving equipment is actually hazardous in environments. Cave diving requires highly specialized equipment that is vastly different from what divers use in open water. Cave Diver training focuses on identifying, acquiring and fine-tuning the specialized equipment that divers need for this unique activity.
- Dive Planning: Planning a cave dive is nothing at all like planning an open-water dive. In open water, a dive planning may consist solely of waiting to reach a cylinder pressure of 500 to 1,000 psi, then surfacing. In contrast, the cave diver who waits until his or her pressure-gauge needle hits the "red" zone, before starting to exit, will likely never see daylight again.
Cave Diver training places heavy emphasis on the highly specialized dive planning procedures required for safer penetrations of overhead environments. This involves not only breathing-gas management, but attention to factors such as sequence, depth, duration, distance and direction.
At one time, recreational divers could use most of north-central Florida’s freshwater springs without someone scrutinizing their training and experience. Today, state park authorities and private owners restrict access to most of these sites to certified Cave Divers.
What are the additional benefits of Cave Diver training? »