Overhead Protocols

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Introduction

The Overhead Protocols course is a mandatory prerequisite to any UTD wreck penetration or cave diving course and acts as the first step of any overhead environment certification.  Because there are many skills and techniques common to both wreck and cave diving, the Overhead Protocols course presents the student with the foundational skills that are necessary to be a safe and thinking diver in any overhead environment.

This three-day course takes place in non-overhead environments generally at depths of 30’/10m or less, and introduces the student to laying line, retrieving line, no-visibility line following, touch-contact communication skills, critical skills with no-visibility line following, lost line, lost buddy and lost light.  Once these skills are learned, the class introduces a series of simulated failures while on the line:  out of air situations and valve failures for example.  These are tested to a level similar to the UTD Technical 1 course, but complicated by the necessity of staying on a line and simulating the need to navigate back to open water.

Completion of this course qualifies a diver, within one year, to move on to Wreck Penetration 1 or Cave 1, each of which is another 3 to five day course that takes place in the actual overhead environment.  If a student wishes to complete both Wreck Penetration 1 and Cave 1, the student will not need to repeat the Overhead Protocols course.  Both Wreck Penetration 1 and Cave 1 contain a complete review of line procedures in case there is a time gap between the Overhead Protocols course and Wreck Penetration 1 or Cave 1.

Overhead Protocols can be combined with Wreck Penetration 1 or Cave 1 into a single, 5-day class.

Course Information

The Overhead Protocols course is normally conducted over a 3-day period, and cumulatively involves a minimum of 24 hours of instruction (lecture and in-water) designed to introduce divers to the general skills common to all overhead environments including, but not limited to, wreck penetration and cave exploration.

Course requirements include ten hours of academics and 9 dives.

Course Limits

  • Maximum depth 60’/18m
  • Standard gas is air (21% O2) or Nitrox 32
  • Must stay within no-decompression limits
  • No overhead diving

Requirements

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Must have completed UTD Essentials of Overhead, or a technical endorsement, or equivalent
  • Must have completed UTD Recreational 2 with Doubles Mini or equivalent
  • Must have at least 75 dives beyond open water certification
  • Must complete UTD online registration process
  • Must be able to swim 60'/18m on a breath hold
  • Must be able to swim 300 yards/275m in less than 12 minutes without stopping
  • No smoking
  • Use of prescription drugs must be authorized by a physician prior to training

Equipment Requirements

Prior to the commencement of the course, students should consult with a UTD representative to verify equipment requirements.  All participants are responsible for providing all equipment or for making provisions to secure all necessary equipment before the start of the course.

In general, it is better for the student to learn while using their own equipment.  However, students should exercise caution before purchasing new equipment to avoid acquiring substandard or unnecessary equipment.  Please contact us prior to making any purchases.

Sidemount Equipment Requirements

  • Cylinders:  sidemount pluggable double cylinders with appropriate stage rigging and quick disconnects
  • Low pressure distribution system such as a Z-Distribution Block or Z-Isolator Manifold
  • Regulator system: primary second stage with a donatable 5’ or 7’ hose stowed in a wrapped fashion around the diver’s neck, and a backup second stage bungeed around the diver’s neck in a necklace fashion
  • Buoyancy compensator/trim device: rear inflation-type/wing or trim device
  • Z-System harness or equivalent
  • Depth-measuring device
  • Time-keeping device
  • Compass
  • Mask
    • Non-split fins with spring-straps
  • Cutting device
  • Exposure suit appropriate for the duration of exposure
  • Primary light and backup light
  • Spool with minimum 150'/50m of line
  • Line marker kit with at least 5 directional and 5 non-directional markers
  • Two thigh-mounted pockets
  • Neoprene hood
  • One primary reel per team, with a minimum of 400'/120m of line
  • Optional:  spool with minimum 70’/21m line and a surface marker buoy
  • Optional:  wetnotes and writing utensil

Backmount Equipment Requirements

  • Cylinders: backmount double cylinders
  • Regulator system: primary second stage with a donatable 5’ or 7’ hose stowed in a wrapped fashion around the diver’s neck, and a backup second stage bungeed around the diver’s neck in a necklace fashion
  • Buoyancy compensator/trim device:  rear inflation-type/wing or trim device
  • Backplate and harness system
  • Depth-measuring device
  • Time-keeping device
  • Compass
  • Mask
  • Non-split fins with spring-straps
  • A cutting device
  • Exposure suit appropriate for the duration of exposure
  • Primary light and backup light
  • Spool with minimum 150'/50m of line
  • Line marker kit with at least 5 directional and 5 non-directional markers
  • Two thigh-mounted pockets
  • Neoprene hood
  • One primary reel per team, with a minimum of 400'/120m of line

  • Optional:  spool with minimum 70’/21m line and a surface marker buoy
  • Optional:  wetnotes and writing utensil