CDS Basics Orientation

Many of our cave diving students come to us with prior training and experience diving either backmounted doubles or sidemount. This is usually as a result of having taken one or more technical diving courses.

Some students, however, lack this experience. Unfortunately, diving doubles or sidemount involves much more than simply throwing on a set for the first time and hoping everything works out.

The good news is that we have a special program designed specifically for students who are new to diving doubles or sidemount. Among the many things it covers:

  • Cylinder and harness setup and configuration
  • Harness adjustment
  • Hose routing and configuration
  • Buoyancy, trim and propulsion for cave and tech diving
  • Emergency procedures for doubles users

Taking this course prior to or in conjunction with cave diver training will help put you on even footing with those students who’ve had the benefit of prior technical training and experience.

It is possible to take CDS Basics Orientation as a standalone program. Most of our students, however, take it in conjunction with our Apprentice Cave Diver course.


  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be certified to the Advanced Open Water Diver level or equivalent
  • Possess Nitrox Diver certification

Time frames

  • The CDS Basics Orientation course generally takes two days and approximately four dives.
  • If your goal in taking this course is to get ready for cave diver training, your best value is to take this course in combination with our Apprentice Cave Diver course. Doing so will save you both time and money.
  • With sufficient notice, we can usually accommodate requests for specific course dates.

Required equipment

As your goal in taking this course is to learn the basic set up and operation of the equipment you will use as part of your cave and/or tech diver training, you will need that same equipment for this course. This includes:

  • Mask and flat-bladed scuba fins with adjustable or spring heel straps
  • Adequate thermal protection for prolonged exposure to 21° C/72° F water
  • Backmounted doubles or sidemount harness
  • BC air cell with adequate lift for the cylinders used
  • Backmounted double cylinders with isolation manifold or…
  • …two properly configured 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
  • Stage bottle and regulator

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

Items such as cylinders and primary lights, 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

Know what you’re getting: Prices include instruction and eLearning fees. Bear in mind, the cost of eLearning, by itself, can be worth anywhere from $140 to $280 or more. Thus, a $640 course from us may actually cost the same as a $500 course from someone else if you have to pay for elearning separately.

Certification cards: We issue these only when earned. Simply taking part in a course does not guarantee certification. For cave courses, certification cards from multiple training agencies may be available. C-cards generally cost around $30 each, depending on agency. Your instructor can tell you more.

CDS Basics Orientation

Become a Winged Warrior
$ 600 Single student price
  • Two days
  • Four or more dives

CDS Basics Orientation

Become a Winged Warrior
$ 500 Per student for two or more
  • Four days
  • Eight or more dives
Best value

eLearning included at no extra charge

Computer-aided instruction is an integral part of nearly every course we teach. The Why? is simple: eLearning helps get our students in the water sooner and spend more time there. It’s why we include the cost of any applicable eLearning programs — usually a $140 value — in our courses at no extra charge. This translates directly into an extra day of in-water training. The value of that? Priceless.

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