Can you see the light? If you dive within the light zone of a cave–the area near the cave entrance where natural light is always visible–you're in the cavern zone. The Cavern Diver course offers divers a first glimpse into the truly amazing and beautiful world of underwater caves. Many if not most of the fantastic dives in the Florida springs require at least a cavern certification.

The Cavern Diver course prepares divers to explore the portion of a cave system that is within direct sight of daylight as safely as possible. The course can either be a standalone course or the first step in a comprehensive program of overhead-environment training that leads to full Cave Diver certification.

Since the Cavern Diver course serves as an extension of open water diving and your first introduction to the cave environment, most open water dive gear can be adequately modified for this course. In addition to standard open water gear, additional required equipment includes two lights (one should be of a tubular body design- not pistol or lantern grip) and a safety reel. Double tanks may be used at this level after consultation with your instructor.

Course Duration: Two days, four dives


• Be certified to at least the Advanced Open Water Diver level, or have equivalent training/experience.
• Possess above-average buoyancy-control skills.
• Be extremely comfortable and relaxed in the water -- even without a mask.
• Be thoroughly familiar with the function and use of their personal dive equipment (see required equipment list).
• Have logged a number of dives, particularly in the months just prior to participating in overhead environment training.


The Cavern Diver course costs $300 and includes all required books, tanks, and a certification card. Any required equipment rentals and cavern entrance fees are additional.


The Cavern Diver course incorporates academic learning, dry-land exercises and in-water training. Academic topics include:

• Cavern Diver training: Intent and limitations
• Cave conservation, landowner relations
• Accident analysis and corresponding safety rules
• Cavern/cave formation and terminology
• Cave and cavern entrance types
• General and specific hazards of the overhead environment
• Equipment requirements and modification
• Cavern/cave diving techniques overview
• Cavern/cave dive planning procedures
• Standard cavern/cave diving communications
• Psychological aspects of cavern/cave diving; stress management 
  Problem solving and emergency procedures.

Dry-land exercises cover:

• Equipment modification
• Basic reel use
• Guideline deployment, including tie-offs and wraps
• Guideline retrieval, including team member role responsibilities
• Guideline following under adverse conditions/touch-contact communication
• Gas sharing while maintaining guideline contact In-water training includes repetition of all dry-land drills, plus:
• Anti-silting propulsion techniques
• Simulated loss-of-visibility and loss-of-breathing-gas emergencies
• Multiple practice cavern dives

 Required Equipment:

• Mask
• Fins (adjustable fins & wetsuit boots recommended)
• Full-length wetsuit (5mm or greater)
• Weight belt (if necessary)
• Buoyancy control device
• Regulator first stage with 2 second stages
• 7-foot Second Stage hose
• Depth gauge & timing device (or dive computer)
• Primary dive light
• Back-up dive light
• Safety Reel (one per diver)