Cavern Diver

Are you a serious adventure seeker wishing to explore overhead environments? Sign up for the TDI Cavern Diver course!

This course is designed to develop the minimum skills and knowledge for cavern and overhead environment diving within the limits of light penetration, and outline specific hazards associated with cave diving. The cavern diver course in not intended to provide instruction for cave diving environments. The objective of this course is to train divers in the proper planning, procedures, techniques and hazards of cavern diving.

Who this course is for:

  • The certified diver who has interest in moving forward with overhead environment diving and expanding their diving techniques, capabilities, and more!

Course prerequisites (these requirements must be met prior to commencement of training):

  • Minimum age 18, 15 with parental consent
  • Provide proof of an SDI Open Water Scuba Diver or equivalent
  • Proof of 25 logged dives

What you can expect to learn:

The TDI Cavern Diver course takes an in-depth look at all of the following and more:

  • Policy for cavern diving
  • Gas management procedures and management to include dissimilar volumes
  • Psychological considerations of cavern diving
  • Equipment considerations including:
    • Cylinder options
    • Regulator options
    • Buoyancy compensator/harness options
    • Proper weighting
    • Reel options
    • Equipment configurations
  • Communication (light and hand signals)
  • Swimming techniques
    • Body posture/trim
    • Buoyancy control
    • Line following
    • Propulsion (finning) techniques
  • Physiology
    • Breathing techniques
    • Stress management
  • Cavern environment
  • Cavern conservation
  • Problem solving
    • Emergency procedures
    • Equipment failure
    • Silting conditions
  • Accident analysis
  • Cavern diving etiquette
  • Review of dive tables and decompression theory

Some of the required skills you will have to demonstrate include:

  • Properly deploy a guideline
  • Properly follow a guideline with eyes open and closed (simulating loss of visibility)
  • Air share with a buddy with eyes open, following a guideline
  • Air share with a buddy with lights off and eyes closed, using touch contact while following the guideline
  • Remove and replace mask while in contact with the guideline
  • Demonstrate conservation, awareness, and back referencing techniques
  • Demonstrate light/hand signals and touch contact
  • Demonstrate anti-silting techniques
  • Simulate a primary light failure and use back up light to exit
  • Demonstrate buoyancy control, proper trim, and propulsion techniques
  • Equipment check and matching
  • Demonstrate adequate predive planning

What’s in it for you?

Upon successful completion of this course, graduates may engage in cavern diving activities without direct supervision so long as the following limits are adhered to:

  • The diving activities approximate those of training
  • Planned dives do not exceed diver’s current certification level
  • Penetration is limited to the “rule of thirds,” OR 1/6th if using doubles to a maximum depth of 40 metres/130 feet
  • Penetration is limited to 61 linear metres/200 linear feet from the surface
  • Proper cavern diving equipment must be used
  • Maintain a continuous guideline
  • No restrictions or areas that are too small for 2 divers to swim side by side
  • Safety stops as appropriate or necessary

TDI Cavern Diver minimum certification requirements:

  • Perform all land drills and cavern dive requirements efficiently
  • Demonstrate mature, sound judgment concerning dive planning and execution
  • Maintain an appropriate level of awareness and respect for the environment
  • Log all training dives

How to take this course:


Cavern/Overhead Enviornment Articles

  Discover Cavern Diving
  Cave Diving and The Dangers Without Proper Training
  Lost in a cave: Becoming the Aware Cave Diver
  Cave Diving 101
  Cave Diving: More Teamwork than a Marriage