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An Introduction to Cave Diving
Many cave divers might object to having this discipline included in the Techincal Diving section of SportDiverHQ. Regardless of their perceptions, cave diving fits well into the definition of technical diving. The activity involves an actual ceiling, the cave passage, and often involves a decompression ceiling as well.
Like most technical diving disciplines, cave diving is an equipment intensive activity. Becuase the diver does not have direct access to the surface, everything needed for survival must be backed-up. Virtually every piece of life-support equipment is carried in duplicate. Due to this fact, cave divers have refined equipment configuration into an art.
Largely cave divers trust their health, safety and well being to a thin thread of braided nylon leading to the surface. In fact, analysis of past accidents have shown that the lack of a continuous guide line to open water is the number one cause of fatalties in not only cave diving, but wreck penetrations as well.
The path to becoming a cave diver typically involves a three tiered structure; Cavern Diver, Intro to Cave Diver, Cave Diver. The Cavern Diver course is generally accepted as a recreational level program offering only limited pentetration into the cave environment. Intro to Cave normally involves single tank penetrations into the cave system beyond the natural light zone. The Full Cave Diver course obviously takes the diver deeper into the cave using double tanks and in some cases, a single stage bottle. All three courses tend to emphasize good buoyancy control, streamlined equipment configurations, proper gas management procedures, line reel handling and the rules of accident analysis.
Without question, cave diving is not an activity that should be pursued by everyone. More accurately, very few divers should consider this actitivity. Cave diving requires great comfort in the water, excellent skill execution and above average competence as a scuba diver. Should you, however, find yourself motivated to pursue this exciting form of sport diving, be sure to choose your intructor carefully.
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