Cave Training Sites:
Ginnie Springs, Peacock Springs, Manatee Springs, Madison Blue Springs, Little River, Morrison Springs, Vortex Spring, Twin Caves, Hole in the Wall, Jackson Blue Spring, etc.
(Cave diving class in northern Florida. Photo by Justin Bates.)
Cave Diver Courses
Cave diver training is divided into four initial levels. Cavern diving is enjoyed in the daylight zone of a cave where sunlight acts as one's primary light. Intro to Cave divers are allowed to venture into the perpetual darkness of the cave using 1/6 of their gas supplies for penetration and must remain close to the main guideline. Apprentice cave divers are allowed to make simple jumps off the line or complete gaps in the line while utilizing 1/3 of their gas supply for penetration. Finally, "Full Cave" divers are allowed to make complex circuits and traverses using 1/3 of their gas supply for penetration. Even though caves are always dark they become different environments at night. Sunlight no longer welcomes you to the exit and a guideline to open water is critical. The wildlife drawn to the springs at night is thrilling above and below the water. Most cave instructors only teach during the day and keep "office hours" during training. Trace will introduce you to the peace and tranquility of the springs and caves at night. You will usually make 2 - 3 training dives a day (two daylight dives and one night dive) during class. After full cave you can expand your range with stage bottles and the use of diver propulsion vehicles, or increase your depths and dive times as a cave decompression diver.
Watch this video if you are thinking about exploring inside a cave or shipwreck without training. You need CAVE TRAINING to Cave Dive. You need SHIPWRECK PENETRATION TRAINING to go inside a wreck.
Cave divers do not have direct access to the surface in the event of an emergency. In a worst-case scenario, a cave diving team may find themselves experiencing a catastrophic malfunction of the gas supply at maximum penetration. They may need to swim half a mile or more out of a cave while sharing gas and making complex navigational decisions. Without careful propulsion techniques, silt may be disturbed on the bottom, walls, and ceilings of caves reducing visibility to zero. Lights may fail leaving divers in the dark. Divers who wish to dive in caves need proper training. Proper training allows divers to mitigate the risks and truly enjoy the serenity and beauty of one of the most unique and romantic environments on earth ... or rather, under it.
Passionate. That is the word most cave divers use to describe their love of cave diving. While others may think cave diving is just swimming by a bunch of "wet rocks" those who have taken the first few kicks into cave class discover an almost indescribable journey.
(Trace Malinowski entering the Devil's Eye system with three cave students. Photo by Justin Bates.)