A cavern diving course is the first step towards a full cave certification. A cavern course allows you to explore the portion of the cave system that remains within sight of the entrance, takes place during daylight hours, and remains within no decompression limits. This course exposes you to diving in an overhead environment in a controlled setting, which allows you to determine if cave diving is really for you.
Photo: Steve Straatsma
Cavern courses are generally taught over a two-day period, which includes classroom lectures, field exercises, line drills, and a minimum of four cavern dives. The course teaches you dive planning, proper procedures, about the cave environment, propulsion techniques, buoyancy skills, and problem solving. It also shows you equipment modifications that are required to safely enter an overhead environment.
Cavern courses are extensions of open water certifications (advanced certification is generally required) and your first taste of diving in an overhead environment. Many times, your open water gear can be configured to safely dive in a cavern environment. However, there are specific gear requirements such as two battery powered lights and a safety reel that you must have to safely cavern dive.
The primary purpose of the cavern course is to teach you to safely operate in a cavern environment. The course focuses on the building the skills and problem solving procedures needed to safely dive in a cavern.
For the exact training requirements for your course, contact your instructor or training agency.