Photo courtesy of Adrian Sapota
Overhead training is designed for divers seeking to go inside cave and wreck environments. Wreck and cave training does not necessarily require a multitude of overtly technical skills, e.g., multiple breathing gases or multiple stage bottles. One can safely learn to dive in wrecks and caves without excessive depth and or decompression requirements.
The Foundational Classes
The Essentials of Overhead and Overhead Protocols classes are the foundational classes to both the Cave Diving programs and the Wreck Penetration programs. These classes do not have to be conducted in the cave or wreck environment. They may be conducted in your local diving environment. These two classes build the necessary foundational skills in 20'/6m of water after which you can continue on to do the Cave or Wreck Penetration programs.
Overhead Protocols is a required prerequisite for Cave and Wreck Penetration classes.
Cave Diver Program
The Cave Diver program consists of a multi-step process starting with Cave 1 and Cave 2. These courses are designed to be building block courses that introduce a diver to cave environments and the protection and conservation of this delicate aquatic environment. These building blocks are designed to be a slow progression. First, in Cave 1, the diver works on basic cave diving skills needed to penetrate into a cave following the "mainline." Later, in Cave 2, the diver develops the skills to penetrate further into the cave and safely navigate a wide variety of tunnels and passages that make up this complex underwater labyrinth.
Upon completion of these two courses, divers are trained and qualified as a full cave diver upon the completion of Cave 2, with the ability to explore the mainline, unlimited side passages, conducting T’s, jumps, gaps, circuits, and traverses using gas management rules of 1/3rds and a maximum depth of 100’/30m. The Cave 1 certification expires 24 months from the certification date at which point the diver must retake the class or move up to Cave 2.
A certified Cave 2 (full cave) diver with the relevant experience can take the prestigious Stage Mini allowing them to add a stage bottle to extend their penetration distance into a cave. Additionally, they can progress on to Cave 3 (technical cave diver) and onto other specialties designed for the overhead environment like the overhead scooter endorsement, Advanced Side-Mount Diver, and Rebreather Cave Diver.
Cave Diver 2 and higher classes do not expire.
Wreck Penetration Program
Wrecks are an obvious attraction to any diver. They hold a promise of history, of mystery, and going where few dare. Of course, they also hold a tremendous potential for danger to the unwary diver. Even with the essential equipment, doubles and guidelines, it is a complicated endeavor and there are many subtle and potentially dangerous issues a diver must be acquainted with while penetrating a wreck. Even if a diver is familiar and comfortable with all of the essential gear, the introduction of an emergency can create undue levels of stress that can cause poor decision-making.
UTD's wreck penetration classes strive to both instruct students in techniques for proper wreck diving, and to simulate "failures" in a controlled manner to ensure the retention of protocols even in the face of problems.
We always believe in training beyond your level of diving, as opposed to diving beyond your level of training.