GUE’s Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) Cave course is designed to cultivate mastery-level skill in the use of underwater propulsion vehicles in the cave environment. Other course outcomes include: reinforcing the outcomes of GUE’s DPV Level 1, managing the ramifications of using multiple DPVs and stage bottles, and environment-specific applications.
Applicants for a DPV Cave 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 passed GUE’s DPV 1 course or secured a waiver from GUE Headquarters.
- Have passed GUE’s Cave 2 course.
- Have a minimum of 50 Cave 2 dives beyond certification.
- Own a GUE sanctioned DPV with sufficient burn time for the cave environment.
The DPV Cave course is normally conducted over five days and includes seven dives and a minimum of 40 hours of instruction, which encompasses classroom, land drills, and in-water work.
DPV Cave-Specific Training Standards
- Student-to-instructor ratio is not to exceed 3:1 during land drills or surface exercises, and cannot exceed 2:1 during in-water training.
- Maximum depth is not to exceed 100 feet/30 meters.
- Minimum starting visibility of 30 feet/9 meters.
The Diver Propulsion Vehicle Cave course is largely an experience-based course; training materials will consist of handouts that will be distributed to trainees by their instructor during the course.
- Introduction: GUE organization and course overview (objectives, limits, expectations)
- Equipment considerations
- DPV components
- DPV maintenance
- Leashes (lengths, knots, lanyards)
- Stage and decompression cylinders
- Exposure suit for the cave environment
- Dive planning (operational, team, support, objectives)
- Matching different speeds while using a DPV
- Emergency procedures (includes: gas sharing, towing diver, and run away scooter)
- Gas planning
- Trigger time and multiple scooter use
- Towing a DPV
- Stage management
- Line use (installing, following, and retrieving)
- Managing, switching, dropping, and stowing DPVs
- Proper position while using a DPV
- Ready position
- Runaway DPV
- Switching DPVs
- Dropping DPVs
- Use of a primary light while operating a DPV
- Team order and protocols
- Use of spools and reels
- Pre-dive drills
Required Dive Skills and Drills
- Must be able to swim at least 500 yards/450 meters in less than 14 minutes without stopping. This test should be conducted in a swimsuit and, if 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 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 while on a DPV.
- Demonstrate basic proficiency managing the GUE equipment configuration.
- Demonstrate safe ascent and descent procedures.
- Demonstrate proficiency adjusting to maintain proper buoyancy and trim while using a DPV. Approximate reference is a maximum of 20 degrees off horizontal while remaining within 3 feet/1 meter of a target depth.
- Demonstrate proficiency in laying and retrieving line with a DPV; this includes use of a primary reel and jumps/gaps.
- Demonstrate proficiency in switching from one DPV to another.
- Demonstrate proficiency in all aspects of stage and decompression bottle management while managing DPVs.
- Demonstrate proficiency in calculating accurate available trigger time.
- Demonstrate effective use of compass and navigation.
- Demonstrate ability to match speeds with team members.
- Demonstrate ability to tow a diver.
- Demonstrate control while dealing with a runaway DPV.
- Demonstrate proficiency with the sequential management of an out-of-gas episode.
- Demonstrate ability to tow an out-of-gas diver for a distance of 500 feet/150 meters.
- Demonstrate proficiency in managing breathing system failures, including proper assessment and valve manipulation with regulator switching as appropriate.
- Demonstrate proficiency with effective decompression techniques, including depth and time management.
- Demonstrate an efficient exit on a backup light.
- Demonstrate ability to follow a guideline in a simulated no-visibility while managing stage(s) and DPV(s).
- Demonstrate ability to manage equipment through restricted areas with concern for the environment.
GUE base configuration as outlined in Appendix A, plus:
- Two approved DPVs
An approved DPV is one that is a tow-behind style with variable speed adjustment and clutch mechanism. The DPV must include an attached cord at the back with a bolt snap to be clipped on the front crotch strap D-ring. The DPV should also have a leash attached to the front to be used for towing a disabled DPV.
Prior to the commencement of class, students should consult with a GUE representative to verify equipment requirements and appropriateness of any selected equipment.