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Cave and cavern diving.A complete guide

What is cave and cavern diving?

Cave diving and cavern diving are diving specializations. The first certifications are those of open water diving.

Cavern diving is the exploration of naturally covered environments. This type of diving is not for people who are

just taking their first steps in diving.

Group of divers in a cavern
Group of divers in a cavern

Many certified open water divers have a desire to level up when it comes to scuba diving, opting for something more adventurous, such as cave diving.

Cave and cavern exploration should be done gradually. Once you feel safe under the sea you can start doing short dives and small tests in places where it is possible to make the exit visible.

It is essential that you take the training courses and follow the advice that we will give you later.

To become a cave diver you must gain experience in diving and focus on gaining the additional diving skills that a cave diver should have.

You will need to learn how to handle emergency situations and stay safe first.

For cave diving you will need to get certified.

What is the difference between cave diving and cavern diving?

In cave diving, divers do not exceed the viewing capacity allowed by sunlight. That is, they do not go beyond a distance of 60 meters, already including the depth, and they always have the help of sunlight in their immersion.

Cavern diving by definition is a form of recreational diving. This means that divers can obtain certifications through open water training bodies.

On the other hand, cave diving requires a more advanced level of preparation, due to the degree of difficulty involved in going beyond the underwater rocky depths, without light and often without prior knowledge of the place.

That is why cave diving is considered a form of technical diving. This certification can be obtained only through cave diving organizations.

cave diving and cavern diving scheme
Cave diving and cavern diving scheme

What is cave diving?

Due to the complexity of the activity of exploring underwater cavities, many times previously explored, and sometimes not, there is a difference in terms between cave diving and cavern diving.

The most widely accepted convention is that cavern diving refers to exploration that reaches as far as the sunlight reaches and where the exit point can be easily located. The term cave diving has been left for a more advanced level, where reel and lines must necessarily be used to locate the exits.

cave diving
Cave diving

Why go for cave diving?

One of the reasons is that cave diving allows you to dive in very clear waters like the ones you only find in these places.

You can also observe rock formations, which cannot be seen elsewhere.

The animals and plants found in the caves are literally without comparison.

These are some of the reasons why divers choose to go after this certification.

Who can access the cave diving certification?

To become certified in cave diving, it is important to prepare well.

It requires rigorous training and a number of prerequisites must be met.

One of those requirements is to have advanced open water certification.

Also the applicant must have at least one hundred dives.

This last requirement might seem a bit exaggerated, but if we take into account that your life will depend on your preparation, the previous steps are not too many.

Cavern diving
Diver following the sunlight

Is it more difficult to dive in caverns or caves?

In cavern diving you have natural light to help you, and the distance from the exit to the outside is not that distant. In cave diving the divers go deeper into the rock formation and for most of the dive they have no natural light.

Therefore, the degree of preparation and experience required for one and the other are different.

Above all, what they always try to do is protect the diver’s safety and comply with all safety processes for your peace of mind.

In practice many times the most experienced divers are the ones who tend to skip the safety steps. So apart from training, mindfulness and mental preparation are also part of training.

cave and cavern diving
Cave diving-cavern diving -open water

What equipment do I need to dive in caves?

We can name several things that you will need for cave diving:

First of all, there is the normal diving equipment. We strongly recommend that you use a dry suit for this type of diving, because caves are places where sunlight does not reach, and therefore the temperature is usually very low.

In addition, you will need a main light and a backup auxiliary light. Some even recommend two backup lights.

You will need several security lines and a reel. You must carry enough oxygen for the outward journey, for the return, and a reserve one.

Your instructor’s dive center may also recommend other items, such as perhaps a collapsible tube or some technical diving equipment.

Needed equipemen for cave diving
Cave divers with their equipement

Tips to get started in cave diving:

Do your homework

Nowadays we have the facility of being able to see audiovisual materials of almost any type of activity that we like to do.

Like athletes preparing for an important match, we recommend that you watch videos and inform yourself as much as possible about the place where you are going to carry out the dive.

Try to study the characteristics, the way in which other divers have perhaps carried out the activity. Strengths and points to study.

Prepare yourself physically

To perform cave exploration it is important that you prepare yourself physically and mentally.

You do not need to be an extreme athlete to dive in caves, but it is always important to be in good physical condition to perform this activity, since you are going to immerse yourself in places where it is not so comfortable to move, and where you must have a certain degree of concentration and performance.

Apart from this, you will probably need to carry the equipment to the dive site itself, and back.

Find a good instructor

People who have cave diving certification have necessarily gone through rigorous levels of difficulty in order to obtain it.

These levels of demand are necessarily much higher than recreational diving.

However, it is important that you look for an instructor with whom you have the degree of confidence that you need to be able to carry out this activity.

You can have a previous interview to be able to know the experience of the instructor, and perhaps ask how long it has been since his last dive, for example.

The important thing is that you choose a person who, apart from having the certification, also gives you the degree of confidence necessary to be able to learn with him.

Scuba diver in cavern
Scuba diver in cavern

Get certified before you venture

It is important that you go to certified agencies to prepare and obtain the certification, before venturing to know these interesting places like the caves.

There is also the possibility of taking private courses with specialists once the certification is obtained.

Consider safety first

Cave diving is an activity where you can enjoy a lot, however, it is not something in which you should put yourself to the test or take it as a personal challenge.

There are many sports and recreational activities where life is not at stake, where you could perhaps put yourself to the test.

However, in cave diving, you should always put safety first, and you can enjoy a whole new world of experiences without comparison.

Summary: Cave and Cavern Diving

Cave diving is more difficult than cave diving, and requires a greater degree of preparation.

Cavern diving is recreational diving and in most cases you can get certified with the same bodies that grant certification for open water diving.

You can become certified in cave diving after meeting the requirements through Technical Diving Certification bodies.

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