Introduction to Cave Diving

Currently there are several different agencies that offer the Intro to Cave Course, and the main difference between them are some stipulations in certain gear configurations (single tank vs double tanks) during (at at some locations, after) training.

Before undertaking and cave training in either backmounted doubles or sidemount, you MUST be proficient and comfortable in your gear choice. Caves are NOT the place to learn new gear!

The Intro to Cave course builds on the skills and knowledge the student acquired in their cavern course. During the Intro to cave course, students depart the daylight cavern zone and conduct limited, linear explorations (of the main line only) of some of the well traveled cave systems.

The Introduction to Cave Diving course is not intended to train divers for all facets of cave diving.

What it is:
The Intro to Cave course develops the minimum skills and knowledge for safe cave diving. Topics include cave diving planning, good cave diving techniques (proper line and light use), emergency procedures, problem solving, and other specialized needs of cave diving (ecosystem awareness and minimizing potential damage to the delicate cave system). An introduction to the basic guideline configurations typically found inside of popular cave-diving locations will be given. Accident analysis continues to form the basis of the training.

Agencies we teach for:

Course Cost:
See Prices Page

This includes your cave manual, your dive training, a certification card from your chosen agency, and photos (above and below water).

Cavern and Intro Combo deal available, see Prices Page!

Other costs:
What not included is gear hire, gas fills, food, lodging, dive site fees & transportation. Dive site fees range from $10-$30, depending on site. We use Nitrox for cave diving, which costs more than air.

A book called Basic Cave Diving: A Blueprint For Survival by Sheck Exley is also required for all Cave students.

The more you read and prepare for your cave course, the more enjoyable it will be for you!

Gear you need to provide:
You will need to have the following gear:
* Mask (low volume)
* Fins (no split fins!, straps must be spring straps or taped)
* 2 regulators (must be high performance, and serviced within the last year)
* Long hose (7 footer) on one of your regulators
* Back plate and wing (with sufficient lift to manage tanks)
* Wet/drysuit (Drysuit strongly recommended)
* Weights.
* Tanks can be a dual orifice (Y valve) single tank, or doubles/sidemount configuration, depending on students choice/previous experience.
Whatever tanks chosen must supply sufficient gas to complete class dives and equipped with Din valves.

* Primary Light, Canister Style Minimum 10Watt HID
* Two Backup Lights
* A primary reel (at least 400 feet of line),
* Safety reel (minimum 75 feet of guideline)
* Computer or watch with tables
* Backup Bottom Timer/Depth/Computer
* Knife (recommended is a Z knife, to be arm or chest mounted)
* At least three line arrows and three cookies
* Wetnotes or Slate and pencil

Cave diving is a very demanding activity, and a gear intensive pursuit, your life and that of your buddy depends on the gear you use.
Choose your gear wisely!

If you have questions about gear choices call us! We have a wide selection of what is currently on the market, and have been training cave divers for many years, so we know whats good and whats not. Most local dive shops do not know what is appropriate gear for cave diving, and will sell you gear that has no place in a cave. Please call us in advance of your gear purchases.

What the course entails:

The cave course is an academic and water based course that builds on the students cavern skills. Depending on your current gear configuration and preference, you can build on your current open water gear set up, or use double tanks (either sidemount/manifolded doubles). Whatever you choose to wear, you must be comfortable, proficient, and have it streamlined.

How we teach it:
There are two parts, the academics and the wet portion.

The academics are done at home from your Cave Manual. This guide is very well structured, informative learning tool, and excellent alternative to multiple day or evening lectures.

After you work through the manual, you will do a written test, either at home or some point before your cave course begins. You need to achieve at least 80% on your written test to pass.

When you meet with your Instructor you will do lots of land drills:
- Proficiency in the use of spools and reels while handling a light.
- Team and line placement procedures
- Zero visibility/Touch contact procedures while following a line
- Emergency procedures for lost line, lost buddy and air sharing
- Use of line markers

You will also do a full review of the academics including (but not limited too):
- Accident Analysis
- Psychological considerations of cave diving, these include stress, attitude, awareness, reaction to and building stress in self and others, stress management and philosophy.
- Guideline techniques and reel usage
- Equipment and equipment configuration
- Dive planning and gas management
- Accident prevention procedures.
- Land owner relations and cave conservation
- Cave formation and terminology
- Diving limitations including the rule of thirds & dissimilar tank sizes.

Wet Training
For the wet training, we typically do two days in the water (and at least 4 dives), and a series of vital skills such as:

- S-drills, equipment checks and gear matching will begin every dive.
- Demonstrate specialized propulsion techniques without disturbing silt in the surrounding area (eg frog kick, modified flutter).
- Effective communications with both light and hand signals.
- Appropriate gas management
- Follow a line with your eyes closed, without a mask, using the touch contact method of communication.
- Running and following a safe guideline in caves
- Familiarization and exploration of caves
- Air sharing in a simulated out-of-air scenario during exit from cave.
- Lost line and lost diver procedures
- Use techniques for efficient conservation-minded propulsion techniques.
- Shut down drills

All dives will include a pre-dive briefing, bubble check, ‘s’ drill, gear matching, good dive team skills, safety stop and post dive critique.

Note: this is not a fully inclusive list, just an overview!

Specific skills depend on training agency.

Cave diver with single tank dual orifice set up exiting the cave on backup light.

It should be noted that participation in this class does not guarantee certification.

Over the Intro to Cave course, divers must concentrate on developing awareness of team members, light signals, and the guideline. We demand good technique for the safety and efficiency of both themselves and other divers, and for preservation of the cave environment. Each student must do the required number of dives, all the skills, and demonstrate that they are comfortable with planning and executing safe and fun cave dives before they receive their certification card.

Another basic (and often overlooked) aspect of cave diving is an understanding and appreciation of the fragile nature of cave systems. You are there by choice; the caves are not, so respect their delicate ecological balance. Caves have been there long before us, and is it our responsibility as divers, to ensure their survival for future generations. Caves are important for geological and archaeological reasons, as well as for providing homes for a multitude of animals.

After successful completion of your academics and water work, you will awarded your certification as an Intro to Cave Diver. This is your ticket to explore other caves, with other dive buddies. However, at Dayo Scuba we also mentor our students (at no extra cost), so you can gain additional experience in your favorite type of diving.

Age requirements:
You must be at least 18 years old to receive an Intro to Cave certification, there is no maximum age.

Minimum number of students per class:
We need 2 or more people to make an Intro to Cave Diver class; private, one-on-one classes can be organized for a separate fee.

How many people are in each class?
Our Intro Cave Diver classes range in size, from 1-3 students (3 is the maximum per instructor). As we travel out of town for this class, usually there are at least two instructors, and another cavern/cave class going on at the same time as yours.

Schedule/Timing for Intro to Cave Diver Course:
We train all the time, and have multiple instructors on staff, many full time, so we do weekday and weekend classes.

Call us or check out our Calendar for dates of upcoming courses.

How long does the course take?
Usually we complete the wet portion of the Intro to Cave class in 2 days, with at least four dives. Sometimes it is necessary to be in the water more than 2 days because of learning difficulties or weather issues. If necessary, you can come back, free of charge, and join in another Intro to Cave Course to finish your training. We will also train you for any extra days you may need to get you properly certified. It is our mission to make you a safe and competent diver.

Where we do our course:
We usually do our Intro to Cave training in North Florida, the caves there are very beautiful, and ideal for training (Orange Grove Springs, Peacock Springs, Little River Springs). We are very limited to cave choice around the Orlando area. We dive at least two different cave for the Intro to Cave course.

Prerequisites for Course:

* Before participating in the Intro to Cave Diver course, you will be asked to fill out a standard liability release form and a medical statement. If you answer YES to anything on the medical form we will require that you get it signed off by a physician.

* Cavern Diver certification

* Advanced Open Water certification, or equivalent.

* You must be Nitrox certified.

* This class requires that all student divers already possess perfect buoyancy skills, in their gear configuration of choice for the course.

* Introduction to Cave Diving Training - Dayo Scuba Orlando Florida is required for all cave and technical classes.

Standards for the Intro to Cave Course:

* The first Intro to Cave dive is conducted within 500 feet linear distance from the surface.

* Maximum depth for Intro to Cave training dives will not exceed 100 feet/30 meters.

* All Intro to Cave dives will be started with at least 30 feet of visibility.

* No decompression diving

* No restrictions (tight areas any area smaller than which cannot be negotiated by two divers swimming side by side)

* At no time, ever, will life support gear be removed from the diver while in the overhead environment.

* Penetrations are limited to 1/3 of a single diving cylinder, 1/6 of doubles.

* Penetrations are limited to simple linear swims only. No jumps, circuits, traverses, or mazes are allowed.

What you can do afterwards:

* Dive, dive, dive in the MANY caves across the state of Florida, indeed anywhere!!!

* You will be a much safer, more competent and comfortable diver after completion of your Intro to Cave course.

* The safe diving practices learned during your Intro to Cave course will apply to all types of diving you do in the future, including open water recreational diving.

* Continue your diver training with more specialized training.

*The Intro to Cave course is a prerequisite to other Cave Courses.

To Register
Email/Call us or Sign up online now!! or click on the prices link below.