Prerequisite experience and training

What are the prerequisites for learning to cave dive? Some training organizations have very specific requirements for enrolling in Cave Diver training. Some don’t. But, from a practical standpoint, if you don’t meet certain prerequisites, you aren’t likely to succeed.

You can save time, money and effort by making sure you have the necessary training and experience before you begin. Here is what you need.

Prior experience

Suffice it to say, Cave Diver training is not something you can do right out of your Open Water Diver class. You need to have enough dives under your belt so that you are utterly comfortable and relaxed under water. You also must be able to draw from prior experience to help you adapt to a new and very different environment. And, yes, you need exceptional buoyancy control skills.

Training agencies require varying levels of experience to enroll in specific technical or cave diver courses. These numbers represent a bare minimum. Realistically, you should have at least 50 logged dives prior to beginning the process. At least 100 or more would be better.

Prior training

Again, specific requirements vary by training agency. Here is what we prefer to see, though.

Recreational certifications: Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent is the bare minimum. Rescue Diver or equivalent is better. Many of our students are Divemasters or Instructors. At the very least, you should possess Divemaster/Instructor-level knowledge and skills.

Some form of Nitrox Diver certification is essential. This helps maximize bottom time on no-decompression dives and shortens stop times on deco dives.

Technical certifications: In the days before tech training was widely available, Cave Diver courses were the only way divers could learn to dive doubles, make decompression dives or perform complex gas-management calculations. Now this kind of training is readily available to divers everywhere.

Many tech diver courses are ones you can take in combination with Cave Diver training.

  • CDS Basics Orientation Orientation: If you lack prior technical diver training, need to learn how to dive sidemount or backmounted doubles, or want to perfect your buoyancy, trim and propulsion skills to the level required for Cave Diver training, this is the program for you. Learn more…
  • Drysuit Diver: Cave Diver training is no place to be using a drysuit for the first time. If you plan to dive dry during your course, you need prior Drysuit Diver training and experience.
  • Advanced Nitrox/Deco Procedures: In north Florida, diving beyond the Apprentice Cave Diver level invariably involves decompression. Although decompression diving in caves can be much less complex than it is when diving on deeper wrecks, having this training can make you better prepared for what we do in cave diving. Learn more…

Again, if you cannot obtain this training prior to arriving for your cave course, we can teach these courses in conjunction with them. The exception is Drysuit Diver training; you really need to complete this in advance, as well as gain additional experience diving dry.

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