GUE Diver Propulsion Vehicle Level 1 (DPV)

Course Outcomes

GUE’s Diver Propulsion Vehicle Level 1 course is designed to introduce divers to the skills and knowledge required to safely use underwater propulsion vehicles in open water. Other course outcomes include: knowledge of the basic principles of DPV diving, dive planning, teamwork while using a DPV, environment and conservation awareness, stress management, navigation, standard and emergency procedures, DPV maintenance and troubleshooting, and the potential hazards of diving with a DPV.


Applicants for a DPV 1 course must:

  1. Submit a completed registration form, a medical history, and a liability release to GUE Headquarters.
  2. Be physically and mentally fit.
  3. Hold insurance that will cover diving emergencies such as hyperbaric treatment, e.g. DAN Master-level insurance or equivalent.
  4. Be a nonsmoker.
  5. 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.
  6. Be a minimum of sixteen years of age.
  7. Have passed GUE Recreational Level 1 Diver or GUE Fundamentals at the “Recreational” level.
  8. Have a minimum of 75-five logged dives beyond either GUE Recreational Diver Level 1 or open water certification.


Course Content


The DPV 1 course is normally conducted over three days, and includes five dives and a minimum 24 hours of instruction, encompassing classroom, land drills and in-water work.

DPV 1 Specific Training Standards

  1. Student-to-instructor ratio is not to exceed 6:1 during land drill or surface exercises; ratios cannot exceed 3:1 during any in-water training.
  2. Maximum depth of 100 feet/30 meters or the limit of the student’s certification, whichever is shallower.
  3. No overhead environment diving.
  4. Minimum starting visibility of 20 feet/6 meters.


Training Materials

GUE training materials and recommended reading as determined by the course study packet received via online download after GUE course registration.


Academic Topics

  1. Introduction: GUE organization and course overview (objectives, limits, expectations)
  2. Equipment considerations
  3. DPV components
  4. DPV maintenance
  5. Surface marker buoys and spools (for deco platforms)
  6. Dive planning
  7. Operational planning
  8. Support
  9. Teams
  10. Team planning
  11. Procedures
  12. Gas planning
  13. Gas matching
  14. Considerations for managing and stowing a DPV while not in use


Land Drills

  1. Proper position while using a DPV
  2. Runaway DPV
  3. Dive team order and protocols
  4. Basic navigation skills
  5. Pre-dive drills


Required Dive Skills and Drills

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in safe diving techniques; this would include pre-dive preparations, inwater activity, and post-dive assessment.
  2. Demonstrate awareness of team member location and concern for safety, responding quickly to visual indications and dive partner needs.
  3. Demonstrate a safe and responsible demeanor throughout all training.
  4. Demonstrate proficiency in underwater communication.
  5. Demonstrate basic proficiency managing a GUE equipment configuration.
  6. Demonstrate safe ascent and descent procedures.
  7. Demonstrate good buoyancy and trim, i.e. approximate reference is a maximum of 30 degrees off horizontal while remaining within 5 feet/1.5 meters of a target depth.
  8. Must be able to swim at least 300 yards/275 meters in less than 14 minutes without stopping. This test should be conducted in a swimsuit and, where necessary, appropriate thermal protection.
  9. Must be able to swim a distance of at least 50 feet/15 meters on a breath hold while submerged.
  10. Demonstrate proficiency adjusting buoyancy while using a DPV.
  11. Demonstrate effective use of compass and navigation.
  12. Demonstrate ability to match speeds with team members.
  13. Demonstrate ability to tow a diver with a non-functional DPV.
  14. Demonstrate control while dealing with a runaway DPV.
  15. Demonstrate proper procedures for gas-sharing and regulator switching as appropriate.
  16. Demonstrate proficiency in surface marker buoy deployment.
  17. Demonstrate familiarity with required course equipment.
  18. Demonstrate proficiency in gas-sharing scenarios with a gas-sharing event.
  19. Demonstrate cylinder valve management appropriate to the configuration being used.
  20. Demonstrate proficiency with effective decompression techniques, including depth and time management.


Equipment Requirements


GUE base configuration as outlined in Appendix A, plus:

  1. Approved DPV

An approved DPV is one that is tow-behind style with adjustable speed 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.

Explore GUE Standards

Prior to the commencement of class, students should consult with a GUE representative to verify equipment requirements and appropriateness of any selected equipment.