Full Cave Diver Course

Full Cave Diver course by Technical Diving International (TDI) standards.

The TDI Full Cave Diver course can be taken as the last portion of the full program when you are already certified as an Intro to Cave Diver. Or, as a whole course from Intro to Tech, Sidemount Diver, Cavern, Intro, and Full Cave  Diver courses combined.

The Technical Diving International (TDI) Full Cave Diver program consists of three sections:

1. Cavern Diver:

This course is designed to develop the minimum skills and knowledge for cavern and overhead environment diving within the limits of light penetration; in addition, outlines specific hazards associated with cave diving. The cavern diver course is 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.

Qualifications limits of Graduates:

  1. Daylight: Diving within natural light of the cavern entrance
  2. Limit penetration to 1/3 of a single diving cylinder or 1/6th if using double cylinders
  3. Maximum 61 linear meters / 200 linear feet from the surface
  4. 40 meters / 130 feet maximum depth
  5. No decompression diving
  6. Avoid restrictions; no areas too small for 2 divers to pass side-by-side
  7. Safety stops as appropriate or necessary
  8. Maintain a continuous guideline
  9. Use proper cavern diving equipment
  10. Removal of life support equipment within the overhead environment is not allowed at this point

Upon successful completion of this course, graduates are qualified to enroll in:

TDI Introductory Cave course

Student Prerequisites:

  1. Minimum age 18, (15 with parental consent)
  2. Provide proof of an Open Water Scuba Diver certification
  3. Minimum of 25 logged dives

Course Structure and Duration:

Water Execution:

Four cavern dives conducted at 2 different sites

Duration:

The course must be conducted over a minimum of 3 days (2 days if combined with Intro to Cave)

2. Intro to Cave:

An introduction to the basic principles of cave diving utilizing a single primary guideline. Introductory cave diving is the second level in the development of safe techniques for cave diving, directly building upon the cavern diver course.

This introduction to cave diving is not intended to train divers for all facets of cave diving. The objective of this course is the perfection of skills taught in the cavern diving program, in addition to the adoption of additional techniques and procedures.

Qualification limits of Graduates:

  1. Single guideline cave diving
  2. Penetration is limited to1/3 of a single diving cylinder or 1/6th if using double cylinders
  3. 40 meters / 130 feet maximum depth
  4. No decompression diving
  5. Maintain a continuous guideline
  6. Proper cave diving equipment must be used

Upon successful completion of this course, graduates are qualified to enroll in: TDI Full Cave course

Student Prerequisites:

  1. Minimum age 18, 15 with parental consent
  2. Provide proof of certification as a TDI Cavern Diver or equivalent

Course Structure and Duration:

Water Execution:

  • Six single guideline cave dives conducted at 2 different sites

Duration:

  1. The course must be taught over 4 days
  2. If combined with a cavern diver course, a minimum of 5 days and 8 dives

3. Full Cave Diver:

The Full Cave Diver course is the third stage of training in the series of TDI’s Cave Diver development program. Advanced cave dive planning, the practical execution of different types of cave systems and scenarios divers encounter are presented. The objective of this course is to expand and critique previous skills accomplished in the TDI Cavern and Introductory Cave Diving programs. Emphasis is placed upon dive planning and skill perfection through actual complex navigation and cave penetration.

Qualifications of Graduates:

  1. Penetration is limited to the 1/3 air rule
  2. 40 metres / 130 feet maximum depth
  3. No equipment removal in cave
  4. Maintain a continuous guideline
  5. Proper cave diving gear must be used
  6. No decompression diving
  7. Complex navigation cave dives planning and execution

Student Prerequisites:

  1. Minimum age 18.
  2. Certification as a TDI Introductory Cave Diver or equivalent.
  3. If courses are taught concurrently, ALL requirements for all courses must be met and registrations processed upon completion.

Course Structure and Duration:

Water execution:

Eight cave dives are required at three different sites.

For divers entering the cave program without cavern / introductory cave diving certification, 16 cave dives are required.

Duration:

  1. The course must be taught in no less than 5 days.
  2. If the TDI Cavern and Intro to Cave courses are combined, the course must be a minimum of 8 days long.

The following equipment is required for each student:

  1. Double cylinders, (two single cylinders for Sidemount certified students) limited to the 1/6 air rule.
  2. Two regulators with pressure gauge and alternate air source on a 2 meters / 7 feet hose.
  3. Buoyancy compensator device (BCD) with a power inflator.
  4. Exposure suit adequate for cavern environment (minimum 5mm with hood).
  5. Mask and fins, NO snorkel.
  6. Two line cutting devices.
  7. Safety reel with a minimum of 37 meters / 125 feet of line.
  8. One primary reel.
  9. A primary and two back up lights.
  10. Two dive computers or one computer and a bottom timer and depth gauge.
  11.  Wrist slate and pencil.
  12.  Three directional line arrows and three non-directional line markers.

Required Skill Performance and Graduation Requirements:

  • Adequate pre-dive planning
  • Equipment check and equipment matching
  • Bubble checks
  • Specialized propulsion techniques
  • Proper buoyancy control
  • Proper body posture (Trim)
  • Proper stress analysis (detection and management)
  • Properly deploy and follow a guideline with eyes open and closed; simulating a loss of visibility.
  • Air share with a buddy with eyes open, following the guideline.
  • Share air with a buddy with eyes closed using touch contact communication while following the guideline.
  • Remove and replace mask while in contact with the guideline.
  • Demonstrate light/hand-signals and touch contact.
  • Proper use of directional and non-directional markers.
  • Use of safety reel in lost diver procedures.
  • Safety reel use in a lost line drill.

Recommended courses prior to enrolling in a cave or technical diving course

Sidemount Diver Course:

This course is designed for certified divers to learn how to safely utilize side-mounted primary cylinders as an alternative to the traditional back-mounted configuration.

It can be combined with other popular TDI courses such as Decompression Procedures, Extended Range, Trimix, Advanced Trimix, and Advanced Wreck. If combined the standards for both courses must be met.

Qualifications of Graduates:

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

  • Complete safety and decompression stops as appropriate or necessary.
  • Planned dives do not exceed the diver’s current certification level.

Student Prerequisites:

  1. Minimum age 18.
  2. Certification; SDI Open Water Scuba Diver or the equivalent.

Course Structure and Duration:

Water execution:

Three dives are required with a minimum accumulated bottom time of 90 minutes.

Duration:

  1. 4 hours of classroom and briefings.
  2. The course must be taught over a minimum of 2 days.

Required Equipment:

This equipment is required for each student:

  1. Dual cylinders, volume appropriate for planned dive, and student gas consumption.
  2. Two independent first and second stage regulators each with a submersible pressure gauge.
  3. Buoyancy compensator device (BCD) with power inflator appropriate for sidemount diving configuration.
  4. Exposure suit adequate for the diving environment.
  5. Mask and fins.
  6. Dive computer and an additional depth and timing device; backup computer recommended.

You must be able to perform the following in-water skills during dives:

  1. Demonstrate various propulsion techniques: frog kick, modified frog kick, modified flutter kick, backward kick, helicopter turns, and hand pulling if appropriate for the environment.
  2. Exhibit adequate buoyancy control; ability to hover at a fixed position in the water column without moving hands or feet.
  3. Display adequate trim; ability to maintain proper position during the descent, bottom, and ascent portion of the dive.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to perform the following exercises while maintaining trim and buoyancy in the water column:
  • Unclipping and attaching sidemount cylinders.
  • Perform gas switches with and without a mask.
  • Demonstrate the ability to safely manage gas in independent cylinders.
  • Display conservation, awareness, and back referencing techniques.
  • Deploy a lift bag.

In order to complete this course, students must:

  1. Perform all land drills and dive requirements safely and efficiently.
  2. Demonstrate mature, sound judgment concerning dive planning and execution.
  3. Maintain an appropriate level of awareness and respect for the environment.

Introduction to Technical Diving Course:

The TDI Intro to Tech course is the foundation of the amazing world of technical diving.

This course is designed as an introductory course to all the different types of technical diving using double back-mounted cylinders with manifold and an isolator valve. This course is the equivalent to a sidemount diver course, but using back-mount configuration.

Objective:

The objective of this course is to familiarize yourself with the technical diving equipment configurations; to enhance open water diving skills (such as buoyancy, trim, and situational awareness), and to start learning about advanced gas planning techniques within a no-decompression context. Although this course is strictly a no-decompression diving course, you are permitted to use Enriched Air Nitrox (EANx) mixes, provided the gas mix is within your current level of certification.

Student Prerequisites:

  1. Minimum age 18, 15 with parental consent.
  2. Certification an SDI Open Water Scuba Diver or equivalent.
  3. Provide proof of 25 logged open water dives.

Course Structure and Duration:

Open Water Execution:

  1. A minimum of 3 dives must be conducted.
  2. All dives must be conducted at depths within the diver’s current level of certification but no dives should exceed 23 meters / 75 feet.
  3. If the TDI Intro to Tech is taught in conjunction with Cavern Diver, only a total of 4 dives are required.
  4. More may be conducted at the discretion of the instructor.

Required Equipment:

  1. Double cylinders.
  2. Two primary regulators.
  3. Primary and alternate second stages required on all primary cylinders.
  4. Submersible pressure gauge.
  5. Dive computer.
  6. Wing style BCD.
  7. Ascent reel with lift bag/surface marker buoy:
  • Appropriate for the maximum planned depth.
  • Lift bag with at least 11 kg / 25 lbs of lift.
  • Exposure protection appropriate for the local diving conditions.

Required Skill Performance and Graduation Requirements:

Students are required to successfully complete the following open water skills:

Land drills:

  1. Selection and preparation of equipment.
  2. Conduct team-oriented skills (buddy checks) for lift bag deployment.
  3. Gas matching among buddy teams.
  4. Demonstrate familiarity with basic hand signals.
  5. Display adequate pre-dive planning with limits based on the team and personal gas consumption.

In-water drills:

  1. Weight check.
  2. Demonstrate adequate buoyancy control (ability to hover at a fixed position in the water column without moving hands or feet).
  3. Display adequate trim (ability to maintain horizontal during the descent, bottom, and ascent portion of the dive).
  4. Exhibit no-silting propulsion techniques: frog kick, modified frog kick, modified flutter kick, backward kick
  5. Show the ability to perform the following exercises while maintaining trim and buoyancy in the water column:
  • Give a demonstration of regulator exchange and regulator recovery skills.
  • Mask partial flood and clear with minimal air loss.
  • Perform a mask removal and clear with minimal air loss.
  • Evidence the ability to perform a safety drill (S-drill) while maintaining trim and buoyancy in the water column.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform a valve drill while maintaining trim and buoyancy in the water column (if double cylinders are being used).
  • Exhibit the ability to deploy a surface marker buoy or lift bag while maintaining trim and buoyancy in the water column.
  • Show good situational awareness.

In order to complete this course, students must:

  1. Complete all open water requirements safely and efficiently.
  2. Demonstrate mature, sound judgment concerning dive planning and execution.

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