Cavern Instructor

This is the first step in a process that can eventually lead to TDI Full Cave Instructor certification. Those steps are:

  • TDI Cavern Instructor
  • TDI Intro-to-Cave Instructor
  • TDI Full Cave Instructor

Of course, there are some instructors who have little interest in going beyond the Cavern Instructor rating. Either way, this is where you begin.

Bear in mind, there are some agencies that will let you self-certify as a Cavern Instructor merely by filling out an application and claiming to have made a minimal number of dives. The cave community, however, is very small and you are under constant scrutiny by your fellow professionals. The last thing you want to do is gain a reputation as someone who cuts corners.

Becoming a TDI Cavern Instructor is a two-phase process.

  • The first phase is Orientation. This can take place before, during or after the Internship phase — although it’s best done before. The only prerequisite for this phase is that you complete the TDI Cavern Diver eLearning course.

During the Orientation, we:

  • Review your Cavern Diver eLearning student report.
  • Review the TDI Cavern Diver course standards.
  • Discuss many of the practical aspects of teaching an effective Cavern Diver course.
  • Answer any questions you may have.

The next phase is Internship. During this phase, candidates will be expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Perform all of the skills expected of a TDI Cavern Diver student, but at a demonstration-quality level.
  • Teach, under the supervision of one of our staff instructors, all land- and in-water phases of a Cavern Diver course.


These include:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be an instructor who has been in Active statues with an internationally recognized scuba training agency for at least one year
  • Have a minimum of TDI Nitrox Instructor certification or equivalent
  • Have a minimum of TDI Full Cave certification or equivalent
  • Have logged at least 100 full cave dives
  • Have taught at least four TDI courses

According to TDI standards, candidates must also observe, assist with or co-teach at least one complete Cavern Diver course. Realistically, this will require interning with as many as three such courses (and possibly more).

Not yet a TDI Instructor? Find out how easy it is to cross over.

Time Frames

This orientation portion of this program generally takes a morning, afternoon or evening. With sufficient notice, we can generally conduct this program when and where it is most convenient.

Interning with at least one (and, more likely, three or more) Cavern Diver courses will take “as long as it takes.”

Course Location

We usually conduct the orientation session either at our office in Gainesville, Florida, or in the classroom at Blue Grotto Dive Resort in Williston, Florida.

Internship can take place at any of a variety of popular north-central Florida locations. Conditions will generally dictate where for any given course.

Required Equipment

As there is no in-water work associated with the orientation session, no equipment is needed. During the internship phase of the program, however, you will need to supply a complete set of personal cave diving equipment, including:

  • Mask and flat-bladed scuba fins with adjustable or spring heel straps
  • Adequate thermal protection for prolonged exposure to 22° C/72° F water
  • Sidemount or backmounted doubles harness
  • BC air cell with adequate lift for the cylinders used
  • Either backmounted doubles or two sidemount cylinders
  • Two separate regulator first and second stages
  • At least one mission-capable dive computer
  • Slate or wet notes
  • Two Z-knives or comparable cutting tools
  • One primary light
  • Two backup lights
  • Two safety reels/spools with a total of at least 50 m/150 ft of line


The orientation portion of this program includes:

  • TDI Cavern Diver eLearning course
  • TDI Cavern Instructor registration fee

The internship phase of this program will entail additional costs. Learn more…

There may be additional savings if you take this course in conjunction with one of our other instructor training programs.

Additional Courses