If there is a single word that best describes the layout of most north-Florida cave systems, it is maze. Many cave accident victims assume they are swimming into a single, sewer-like conduit. Upon turning to exit, they discover multiple passageways behind them — and that which passage leads to safety is not always clear.
- Compounding this problem is the fact divers who lack training in ultra-precise buoyancy control and anti-silting propulsion techniques often leave a trail of zero visibility behind them.
- Disoriented divers frequently assume that swimming into clearer water will lead them to safety. Ironically, doing so will take them further from the entrance.
- In many fatalities, the victims actually had sufficient breathing gas to exit. However, because they could not locate the exit, they squandered that gas before reaching safety.
This is why among the most important safety rules is having a continuous guideline to the cave entrance.