GUE’s Cave Diver Level 1 course is designed to prepare divers for the rigors of the underwater cave environment and to establish an appreciation of its subtle dangers. Among its other outcomes: introduce divers to the principles of cave diving and the skills and knowledge required for limited penetration into underwater caves; instill environmental awareness; cultivate proficiency in dive-planning; cultivate teamwork; promote an understanding of cave environments; and teach stress management, navigation, conservation, standard and emergency procedures, cave-diving techniques, and an appreciation of the hazards of cave diving.
Applicants for a Cave 1 course must:
- Submit a completed registration form, a medical history, and a liability release to GUE Headquarters.
- Be physically and mentally fit.
- Hold insurance that will cover diving emergencies such as hyperbaric treatment, e.g. DAN Master-level insurance or equivalent.
- Be a nonsmoker.
- Obtain a physician’s prior written authorization for the use of prescription drugs, except for birth control, or for any prior medical condition that may pose a risk while diving.
- Be a minimum of 18 years of age.
- Have earned a GUE Fundamentals “Technical” certification.
- Have a minimum of 100 dives beyond open water certification.
The Cave 1 course is normally conducted over five days, requires 12 dives (at least 10 cave dives) and a minimum of 40 hours of instruction, encompassing classroom, land drills and in-water work.
Cave 1 Specific Training Standards
- Student-to-instructor ratio is not to exceed 6:1 during land drill or surface exercises, but cannot exceed 3:1 during any overhead diving activity.
- Gas consumption: 1/3 of the starting gas supply should be subtracted from the total gas supply and reserved for emergencies. Of the remaining amount divers may use up to 1/3 for penetration. This process may be continued until divers reach the minimum starting volume of 100ft3 / 2800 liters.
- Maximum depth of 100 feet/30 meters.
- Minimum 30 feet/9 meters of visibility to enter a cave.
- Minimum 100 cubic feet/2800 liters of gas to begin a Cave 1 dive.
- No passages in which divers are forced to travel single file for a prolonged distance. (i.e., approximately 10 feet /3 meters).
- No complex navigation (jumps, traverses, circuits).
- May navigate beyond one permanent intersection (also known as a “T”) and an unlimited number of temporary Ts. Permanent Ts are identified by the lack of a visible jump spool; temporary Ts provide visual access to a diver’s jump spool. All T intersections should be marked with non-directional markers.
- May navigate gaps; a gap occurs where the main line ends and begins a short distance later. Normally this occurs where the line has reached another entrance/exit point.
- No planned decompression
- No scooter diving
- No exploration
- No stage-cylinders
GUE training materials and recommended reading as determined by the course study packet received via online download after GUE course registration.
- Introduction: GUE organization and course overview (objectives, limits, expectations)
- Environmental and cave conservation
- Guideline use and cave etiquette
- Dive team order and protocols
- Touch contact
- Basic navigation skills
- Dive planning
- Decompression theory
- Gas management
- Accident analysis
Land Drills and Topics
- Guideline use and cave etiquette
- Guideline use during emergency scenarios, including touch contact and gas sharing emergencies
- Lost diver procedures
- Lost guideline procedures
- Basic navigation skills
Required Dive Skills and Drills
- Demonstrate proficiency in safe diving techniques; this would include pre-dive preparations, in-water activity and post-dive assessment.
- Demonstrate awareness of team member location and concern for safety, responding quickly to visual indications and dive partner needs.
- Demonstrate a safe and responsible demeanor throughout all training.
- Demonstrate proficiency in underwater communication.
- Demonstrate basic proficiency managing a GUE equipment configuration.
- Demonstrate safe ascent and descent procedures.
- Must be able to swim at least 400 yards/375 meters in less than 14 minutes without stopping. This test should be conducted in a swimsuit and, where necessary, appropriate thermal protection.
- Must be able to swim a distance of at least 60 feet/18 meters on a breath hold while submerged.
- Demonstrate proficiency in cave navigation, to include: visual reference, guideline use, limited and simulated zero visibility.
- Demonstrate proficiency in managing breathing system failures, including proper assessment and valve manipulation with regulator switching as appropriate.
- Demonstrate proficiency during gas sharing scenarios.
- Comfortably demonstrate at least three propulsion techniques that would be appropriate in delicate and/or silty environments; one of these kicks must be the backward kick.
- Demonstrate proficiency in the use of touch contact for limited and simulated zero-visibility situations.
- Demonstrate the ability to mentally record depth, time, and gas consumption during a dive and apply these parameters to future dive planning.
- Demonstrate the efficient deployment of a reserve light.
- Demonstrate the ability to search for a missing diver while performing a simulated missing diver drill.
- Demonstrate the skills needed to locate a lost line while performing a simulated lost line drill.
- Demonstrate good buoyancy and trim, i.e. approximate reference is a maximum of 20 degrees off horizontal while remaining within 3 feet/1 meter of a target depth.
- Demonstrate diver rescue techniques, including effective management of unconscious diver.
GUE base configuration as outlined in Appendix A, plus:
- GUE double tank configuration
- Primary and back-up lights
- Back-up mask
- One primary reel per team
- One safety spool with 150 feet/45 meters per person
- Six line markers; three directional and three non-directional
Prior to the commencement of class, students should consult with a GUE representative to verify equipment requirements and appropriateness of any selected equipment.