The Program

The Basic Cave Diver Program is the amalgamation of skills and knowledge necessary to safely dive in Cavern and Sinkhole rated sites. Training covers areas that may have zero visibility and the potential for unlimited visibility.

Basic Cave training consists of the equivalent of five full days of theory and diving.

Cavern Site

Defined as body of water which has a maximum depth of 20 metres, slight overhangs, near vertical ascents and where daylight is always visible (eg limestone caverns, dams, flooded quarries, lakes etc). The maximum linear penetration allowed is 40 metres from the surface.

Sinkhole Site

Defined as a body of fresh water which can have large passages (no restrictions too small for two divers to swim adjacent to each other) and which exceeds 20 metres in depth. The maximum linear penetration into overhead areas allowed is 40 metres. The CDAA recommends a maximum depth of 40m on air.


Before commencement of a CDAA Basic Cave diver training program the candidate must:

  1. Hold an Advanced Open Water level recreational SCUBA diver award or equivalent and be qualified as an Open Water diver for a minimum of 12 months.
  2. Have logged a minimum of 50 dives (post Open Water level) totalling a minimum of 25 hours, including at least two night dives and five dives deeper than 20 metres.
  3. Be a minimum of 18 years old.
  4. Successfully complete a diving medical statement. If any contraindications are flagged then a full diving medical examination will be required.


To include CDAA history, cave geology, equipment considerations, predive checks and safety drills, buoyancy and anti-silting, communications, reel and guideline use, gas management and calculation, physiological considerations, access procedures, dive planning, emergency procedures, hazards, accident analysis.


Minimum requirements include:

  1. Suitable exposure suit (for >10 degrees water)
  2. Mask and fins (straps taped or replaced with velcro/spring heels respectively)
  3. Small sharp cutting device
  4. Watch or bottom timer or computer (preferably on wrist)
  5. Depth gauge or computer
  6. BCD or Wing/Backplate/Harness
  7. Twin cylinders combined minimum capacity of 2200 litres
  8. Two regulator first stages each with one second stage attached, one of which has a hose that is at least 2 metres in length
  9. One primary and two back up lights
  10. Submersible decompression tables
  11. Wetnotes or pencil and slate
  12. Two submersible pressure gauges (SPG) if using a twin independent system (only 1 required if using an isolation manifold)
  13. Primary reel with a minimum of 100m of line (may be supplied by instructor)

Skill Sessions

To include reel use, line placement techniques, reel locking and abandonment, blackout line following, air sharing while following a line, buoyancy and anti-silting techniques, communications, emergency management, S drills, flow checks, full valve shutdowns.

Supervised Dives

A total of 7 dives. One confined water dive in pool or cavern 2-3 hours.
Six training and site dives in CDAA rated Caverns and Sinkholes.