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What is cave diving ?

Cave diving is a form of penetration diving (as are wreck, ice and mine diving). Divers have no direct access to the surface and must handle potential problems directly underwater and exit the cave to reach safety. A continuous guideline is placed to the reference the exit.
Cave diving exploration was responsible through the years for most of the progress in dive equipment, configuration and dive techniques. 

Why is cave diving considered a separate cursus ?

Cave diving is one of the most refined forms of technical diving, which may combine many of its aspects, like diving in greater depth, decompression diving and breathing mixtures other than air. But also, it has some specifics such as diving under a ceiling, distance to the exit, confined spaces and complete darkness.

When did it start and where ?

There has been quite a few dardevils around Europe on the very beginnings, including South of France. The first cave diving activities, though, were registered when the Cave Diving Group was founded in England in the late 1930’s, in order to provide basic safe training to English cavers.

Who can become a cave diver ?

Students must show above-average fundamental skills as well as the right mind set-up. Cave diving requires a high level of preparation, knowledge and technical abilities. Divers must display a safe and conservative attitude and must show the willingness to learn and to improve.

Is it necessary to undergo specific training to cave dive ?

Yes. No amount of open water diving experience can prepare you for the cave environment. In fact, the vast majority of divers who perished in underwater caves where not specifically trained for cave diving. Many of those divers were open water scuba instructors. You don’t know how much you don’t know.

Where can I train ?

You can train in many places, but we strongly recommend that you take your course in an area with an active cave diving community. This should ensure that you get the most modern training available. Mexico is widely recognized to be the best place to train, since some of the greatest cave divers in the world live there, enjoying and exploring the largest cave systems in the world.

How do cave divers find their way out ?

They lay/follow a continuous guideline from the open water all the way to the deepest point of penetration and follow it on the way out. Cave divers are trained to face situations such as the loss of guideline, getting entangled in it or finding it broken on the way out.

How do cave divers manage their gas supply ?

Cave divers use the “rule of third” as a minimum safety for gas management. Divers always keep at least two thirds of their gas supply to exit the cave, one third to cover the exit distance in normal circumstances and a safety third to be used in case of problem or delayed exit.

What kind of equipment is used ?

Cave divers use redundant life support equipment organized in clean, streamlined and accessible configuration with a minimalistic mind-set.  Cave divers typically use back-mounted twin cylinder, side-mounted cylinder or rebreathers. Advanced cave divers frequently use stage/decompression cylinders and DPV’s.

Is it true that cave diving is a dangerous activity ?

For some outsiders, cave diving is perceived as one of the most dangerous sport in the world. But in fact, cave diving have extraordinary high safety records among specifically trained cave divers. Modern cave diving instructors and agencies pretend that cave diving is safer than recreational open water diving. This is due to the high prerequisites in terms of experience, training, time and equipment cost.Accident analysis databases suggest that very few divers have died while following accepted rules and protocols, and while using proper equipment configuration accepted by the cave diving community.

What can I expect from my course ?

Cave diving training is demanding in terms of knowledge, diving techniques and mind preparation. You will learn how to handle redundant gear configurations, complex dive planning and gas management, while reinforcing fundamental skills and develop a suitable mind setup for cave diving, raising your awareness level and your conscience of the environment.

Which hazards are specific to cave diving ?

Cave diving is one of the most challenging kinds of diving. Visibility can vary from nearly unlimited to non-existent, and can go from one extreme to the other in a matter of seconds. Cave divers must count with a ceiling that doesn’t allow surfacing in case of problem. Navigation in cave systems may be complex and the risk of being lost exists. Combined with a limited supply of breathing gas, this means that there is little or no space for mistakes or confusion. Other hazards include but are not limited to: complete darkness, confinement, strong currents and siphons, distance to the exit, silt outs, entanglement, disorientation, depth, yo-yo dive profiles, etc.

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