The UTD Cave Diver 1 course is designed to be the first step in educating and refining the students’ skills within the cave environment to both protect the cave and to become a certified Cave Diver. This is achieved through an intense diver education program that acquaints individuals with an understanding of established cave conservation procedures and an appreciation for the subtle dangers often associated with this overhead diving. This course covers the basic principles of cave diving, introducing the skills and knowledge required to penetrate and navigate the main line of an underwater cave environment. Training includes an emphasis on awareness, cave dive planning, cave environments, stress management, conservation, standard procedures, emergency procedures, techniques, problem solving, and the hazards of cave diving.
Upon completion Cave Diver 1 divers will be able to safely practice for up to 24 months, penetrating the cave, and following and exploring the mainline with 1/3rd of their gas or a max of usable gas to penetrate (usable gas is total gas minus rock bottom).
Unlike other UTD certification cards the UTD Cave Diver 1 card does expire after 24 months (2 years) from completion of your class unless you continue your experience and education and complete the second part, Cave Diver 2 of the Cave Diver program and become a fully certified Cave Diver - which has no expiration. To qualify for this type of instruction participants must be proficient divers with advanced buoyancy control skills and foundation in the protocols. UTD does not assume that cave training is for everyone. In fact, only very capable divers, who are quite comfortable in the water, should consider this form of diving.
Note: Cave 1 and Cave 2 can be combined into a single 6 day program called Cave Diver.
Training includes an emphasis on awareness, cave dive planning, cave environments, stress management, navigation, conservation, standard procedures, emergency procedures, techniques, problem solving, and the hazards of cave diving. To qualify for this type of instruction participants do not need prior overhead training but must be proficient divers with advanced buoyancy control skills. UTD does not assume that cave training is for everyone. In fact, only very capable divers, who are quite comfortable in the water, should consider this form of diving.
- Must be a minimum age of 18 years
- Must have a minimum of 75 dives beyond open water qualification
- UTD Overhead Protocols class
- UTD Rescue and Emergencies Procedures or equivalent
- Must be able to swim at least 300 yards/275 meters in less than 12 minutes without stopping
- Must be able to swim a distance of at least 60 feet/18 meters on a breath hold
- DAN Membership and Insurance or equivalent
- Student to Instructor ratio is not to exceed 3:1 during any overhead diving activity
- Minimum gas reserve for exit is 2/3rds
- Maximum depth 100 feet/30 meters
- Minimum 30 feet/9 meters of visibility to enter a cave
- Minimum 100 ft3 /2832 liters of gas to enter a cave
- No passages in which divers are forced to travel single file
- No navigation decisions in the cave. Unlimited navigation decisions in the cavern zone.
- No O2 or planned decompression
- No scooter or rebreather diving
- No exploration or line and/or line markers modification
- No goal-oriented dives such as video/photo (unless cavern)
- No stage cylinder use allowed
- No SOLO diving
The UTD Cave 1 course is normally conducted over a 3-day period, and cumulatively involves a minimum of 24 hours of instruction (lecture and in-water) designed to instill divers with an appreciation for the dangers, challenges and beauty of the cave environment. Special emphasis here will be placed on the unique challenges posed by overhead exposure and the identification, management and resolution of life-threatening adversity.
Course requirements include ten hours of academics and nine (9) dives at a minimum of three different locations. At least six (6) of these dives will be beyond the daylight zone.
UTD Online Classroom – Cave Diver
- Gas Planning Worksheet
- Essentials of Overhead Diving DVD is recommended
- UTD organization, limits of training, and course completion requirements.
- Reel and guideline use.
- Dive team order and protocols.
- Touch contact.
- Use of safety spools and reels.
- Basic navigation skills.
Land Drills & Topics
- UTD equipment configuration
- Reel and guideline use in standard operating procedures.
- Team order and protocols.
- All equipment failures
- Use of safety spools/reels.
- Reel and guideline use in emergency procedures, including touch contact and air-sharing techniques.
- Lost diver procedures.
- Lost guideline procedures.
- Basic navigation skills.
- Visual referencing skills.
Required Dive Skills & Drills
- Pre-dive planning to include:
- Assess and review diving limitations
- Dive plan review
- Equipment review
- Equipment familiarization
- Map use
- Navigation, to include:
- Visual reference
- Guideline and Markers use
- Limited and simulated zero visibility
- Procedures for gas failures; including valve manipulation, air-sharing, and regulator switching (as appropriate), included but not limited to Zero viz scenarios
- Demonstrate proficiency in safe diving techniques, including pre-dive preparations, in-water activity, and post-dive assessment.
- Air-sharing scenarios to include:
- Breath hold management
- Out of air diver
- Air-sharing of at least 200 feet/60 meters
- Use of various propulsion techniques according to environment (silt, high flow, delicate)
- Use of touch contact for limited and simulated zero visibility situations.
- Use of line following techniques for limited/no visibility experiences.
- Demonstrate the efficient deployment of a reserve light in less than 30 seconds.
- Demonstrate excellent buoyancy control skills.
- Perform a Lost Diver drill while remaining calm and maintaining a horizontal attitude and neutral posture.
- Perform a Lost Line drill while remaining calm and maintaining a horizontal attitude and neutral posture.
- Demonstrate effective valve-management by switching regulators, shutting down a valve in less than 15 seconds, and then returning the valve to the open position again in less than 15 seconds.
- Demonstrate proficiency with guideline management in the following situations:
- Simulated zero visibility line following; this would incorporate touch-contact skills
- Efficient deployment of the guideline while following international protocol
- Efficient removal of the guideline
- Resolving line entanglement scenarios
- Tanks/Cylinders: Students are required to use dual tanks/cylinders connected with dual outlet isolator manifold, which allows the use of two first stages. All dives must start with a minimum of 100ft3/2882 liters of gas.
- Regulators: Two first-stages, each supplying a single second stage. One of the second stages must be on a 7-foot/2-meter hose. One of the first stages must supply a pressure gauge and provide inflation for a dry suit (where applicable).
- Buoyancy Compensator: Back-mounted wings, mated with a harness and back plate.
- At least one depth-measuring device.
- One timekeeping devices.
- Mask and fins: fins must be of the non-split variety. Back up mask required.
- At least one cutting device.
- Wet Notes with u/w pencil
- Two spool / reel, with 100 feet/ 30 meters of line, per diver.
- One primary reel per team, with a minimum of 300 feet/90 meters of line.
- Three lights: one primary and two secondary. Primary light with 3hr burn time and at least 50 watt equivalency. HID highly recommended. Recommended back-up primary light head. “
- Two backup lights with at least 3hr burn time and minimum of 6 watt equivalent, recommended Led type
- Exposure suit appropriate for the duration of exposure. Argon bottle with balanced reg, BP mounted is allowed only in cave 1 class and is not needed in nitrox and/or wetsuit dives.
- At least five line markers, of which at least three should be directional (line arrows) and two non-directional