There are three levels of training courses you must take before being fully certified to cave dive. Once you complete your cavern course, the next steps are an intro to cave diving course, an apprentice cave diving course, and finally a full cave diving course. Each of these courses provides different levels of training and requires different prerequisites.
An intro to cave diving course is the second level in your cave training after completing a cavern course. In this course, you depart the daylight zones of a cavern and enter cave tunnels using linear penetration on the main lines in a cave system. This course refines your basic overhead environment skills, teaches you various emergency procedures within the cave, enhances your propulsion techniques, and builds your mindset to safely dive in a cave system. Penetrations into the cave are limited and at a conservative pace. The course continues to build your skill level but does not prepare you for all levels of cave diving.
Additional equipment required is a primary reel with at least 400 feet of line, at least three battery powered lights, one being a primary light and two backup lights, a tank with a dual orifice such as an H-valve, an additional regulator with a minimum five foot hose, and line markers. All of your standard cavern course gear is also required.
The intro to cave diving course is generally taught over a two-day period and requires at least five dives.
An apprentice cave diving course is the third level in your full cave diving certification after a cavern course and intro to cave course. Training emphasizes expanded dive planning skills through conducting dives, provides an introduction to jump and gap procedures and continual improvement of the procedures, skills, and emergency drills previously presented at the cavern and intro to cave courses.
Gear requirements are double cylinders with a manifold, a seven-foot hose one of your regulators, compass, line arrows, and at least two secondary reels for gaps and jumps.
The apprentice cave diving course is generally taught over a two-day period and requires at least four dives.
A full cave diving course if the final training course in your pursuit of a full cave diver certification. This course exposes you to more sophisticated cave diving scenarios, expands upon the skills you learned in previous courses, builds your navigational skills, and introduces cave surveys. A primary focus of the course is to show you the proper procedures for completing traverses and circuits. When conducting these dives, you’re responsible for all dive planning, gas management, and the execution of the dive.
There are no additional gear requirements than that of the apprentice cave diving course.
The full cave diving course is generally taught over a four-day period and requires at least eight dives.