Introductory Cave Diver

A.  Purpose

  1. This Program is designed to provide an introduction to the cave diving environment for Sport Divers.

B.  Prerequisites

  1. Must be qualified as an Overhead Environment Diver or equivalent qualification (NSS/CDS, NACD or CDAA Cavern Diver).
  2. Must provide proof of a minimum of 25 logged dives or sufficient experience to satisfy the instructor that the student has the ability and knowledge to continue into this level of training.
  3. Must be a minimum of 15 years of age with a parent or guardian authorization, or a minimum of 18 years of age without guardian approval.

C.  Program Content

  1. A continuous guideline that allows for a safe exit at the entrance will be in place at all times during training in a cave.
  2. A minimum of 90 minutes of bottom time must be completed in caves within 4 to 6 dives. There may be no crediting of previous dive time for this Program.
  3. Land drills:
    a. Use of guide lines.
    b. Following guide lines with and without vision.
    c. Lost diver procedure.

D.  Equipment Requirements

  1. All students must be taught the concept of gas matching.
  2. All bottom mix tanks must be equipped with dual-outlet (H or Y) valves.
  3. A (1.5-meter to 2-meter) long hose must be attached to one of the second stages on the primary gas supply.
  4. A primary reel and a safety reel.
  5. Three lights: one primary light and two backup lights.

E.  Program Limits

  1. There may be no more than 3 students per Instructor inside the cave with starting visibility of 30 feet (9 meters), or 2 students per Instructor with starting visibility of 20 feet (6 meters), or 1 student per Instructor with starting visibility of 12 feet (4 meters).
  2. No dives may be conducted to depths greater than 130 fsw (39 msw).
  3. Each diver must have at least 60 cubic feet (1700 free liters) of breathing gas.
  4. The Rule of Thirds will be applied on all dives.
  5. All appropriate safety or required decompression stops must be performed.

F.   Qualification Requirements

  1. The Introductory Cave Diver is qualified to dive in single tanks only with the Introductory Cave Diver qualification, regardless of whether the training was completed in single or double tanks.

G. Water Skills Development

  1. A confined water session must be completed before conducting any cave dives. Have 2 divers, starting at a distance of 40 feet (12 meters) apart, swim in a simulated out-of-air situation (without breathing, and exhaling slowly) towards each other with eyes closed, following a guide line, and begin gas sharing.
  2. After resting for 3 breaths, divers should swim following the guideline to its source, while continuing to share breathing gas. Both divers must maintain contact with the line.
  3. Share gas along line for a reasonable distance while on a cave dive.
  4. Simulate gas failure with valve shutdowns for both primary and secondary regulators. The entire drill must be completed in less than 1 minute.
  5. Practice regulator shutdowns while swimming without a noticeable change in swim pace.
  6. Practice use of reels and lines.
  7. With eyes closed, follow line and maintain contact with both the buddy and guide line (while on a cave dive).
  8. Share gas and maintain contact with line while keeping eyes closed or lights off (while on a cave dive).
  9. Demonstrate proficiency in propulsion techniques taught in the Overhead Environment Program. Share gas with first diver leading by 3 body lengths. Second diver, while simulating an out of air situation, gets lead diver's attention and begins to share gas for a reasonable distance. During at least one cave dive, the student is to do an out of air drill at a random selection time and without the buddy being aware of whether it is a real or practice session.
  10. Perform an "S" drill prior to commencement of all dives.