DPV Cave Diver course

For cave divers, a Diver Propulsion Vehicle or DPV is the ultimate force multiplier.

  • With a DPV, you can motor further in ten minutes than most divers can swim in 30 minutes.
  • A DPV can make carrying multiple stage cylinders nearly effortless.
  • When used by itself, a DPV can take you farther than you can get swimming with one — or even two — stage bottles.
  • When combined with stage cylinders, a DPV can take you farther into a cave than you can go any other way.

There is a reason, however, why DPV use is the most heavily regulated of all cave diving activities.

  • A DPV can take you farther in 15 minutes than you can swim out using your remaining gas. The normal Rule of Thirds won’t work when using DPVs.
  • DPV use requires that you pay constant attention to the guideline. If you turn away for just a few seconds, you can end up so far from the line that your chances of finding it again are slim.
  • DPVs can — and have — caused considerable environmental damage to caves.
  • If you hit your head on the cave ceiling while swimming, it may hurt. Do it while sailing along on a DPV and you could easily be knocked unconscious. In a cave, that would be fatal.

Some Florida state parks, such as Peacock, ban DPV use due to environmental concerns. At other parks, such as Madison Blue, you need a special permit to use a DPV. At Ginnie Springs, the only way you can use a DPV is to show a DPV Cave Diver card.

The bottom line is, if you want to use a DPV in a cave (and not get yourself killed while doing it) you need proper training. That’s what we give you in this course.


  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have 50 or more cave dives
  • Be certified to the Full Cave Diver level or equivalent
  • Possess Nitrox Diver certification

Time frames

  • The DPV Cave Diver course generally takes two days and approximately four dives.
  • To maximize range, you can combine this course with our Stage Cave Diver course. This takes a total of four days and eight dives. The NSS-CDS calls this the Advanced Cave Diver course.
  • With sufficient notice, we can usually accommodate requests for specific course dates.

Required equipment

  • Mask and flat-bladed scuba fins with adjustable or spring heel straps
  • Adequate thermal protection for prolonged exposure to 21° 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
  • A DPV suitable for cave diving

Be aware than any equipment you use must meet very specific requirements. Learn more…

Items such as primary, deco and stage cylinders, primary lights and DPVs, which my be difficult to travel with, are available for rental. Be sure to alert us if you will need any of these.

 Choose your price

DPV Cave Diver Course

Go further
$ 600 Single student price
  • Two days
  • Four or more dives
  • Inquire about multi-student discounts

DPV Plus Stage Cave Diver

Go much further
$ 1,200 Get both certifications
  • Four days
  • Eight or more dives
  • Inquire about multi-student discounts
Best value

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