Apprentice Cave Diver

If you have decided cave diving is for you the Apprentice Cave course is the starting point.The class requires a minimum of four days and eight cave dives. There is a lot of great training in store for you. Listed below are many of the things you will learn during this course.

You will learn how to:

  • Properly configure your gear for cave diving.
  • Properly and safely use reels and spools. We will help you with selection of the best reels for you.
  • Properly maintain buoyancy control, trim and overall comfort in the water.
  • Safely and comfortably exit the cave with your buddy in simulated total darkness.
  • Safely and comfortably exit a cave with your buddy in simulated total darkness.
  • Properly and safely exit a cave with a backup light.
  • Properly and safely conduct a search for your buddy should you become separated.
  • Properly and safely locate the guideline should you lose sight of it.
  • Properly and safely exit the cave in simulated zero visibility should you or your buddy have a total gas supply failure.
  • Use varying Propulsion techniques in the cave.
  • Properly and safely navigate the main line in the caves and caverns.

  • You will also learn:

  • Cave geology and cave formation basics.
  • Proper and safe gas management.
  • Cave diving accident analysis.
  • Cave conservation.
  • Landowner relations.
  • Varying types of cave guidelines, jumps, gaps, traverses, complex circuits, and how lines are marked for navigation.
  • Cave dive planning.
  • How to maintain team cohesion.
  • Light and hand signals for cave diving.
  • Methods and psychology to avoid panic. Perceptual narrowing and task loading avoidance.
  • How to avoid line entaglement.
  • Manage decompression.
  • These are the basic motor skills you will learn as well as the basic academics for you to begin your journey to become a fully certified Cave Diver. The next step after Apprentice Cave is the Full Cave Diver course. The Full Cave diver course will focus on these skills and academics and also will expand your learning by actually conducting some complex navigation cave dives, and more.
    You will conduct at least eight cave dives in this course


  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have logged at least 50 dives.
  • Have proof of Advanced Open Water Certification.
  • Have proof of Nitrox Certification.
  • Have proof of tech diver training or undergo such training in conjunction with the Apprentice Cave Diver course.
  • You may take the Apprentice Cave Class in conjunction with Advanced Nitrox if you have no formal tech training/certifications.
  • The Following classes meet this requirement: NSS-CDS Basics, Tec-40, Decompression Procedures, or Advanced Nitrox.
  • These Tec classes will add some days of additional training time.
  • See The Overall Prerequisites for Cave Diving Regarding Tec Training

    Gear Requirements

  • Pocket foot fins. No split fins, no full foot/recreational fins.
  • Side or backmount doubles, minimum volume 160 cubic feet.
  • Air cell with adequate lift capacity.
  • 5 mil wetsuit minimum, 7 mil preferred or drysuit.
  • Two safety reels/spools.
  • Two separate regulators, one with a seven foot hose.
  • Technical dive computer--ask me about computers.
  • Slate or wet notes.
  • One primary light and two battery powered backup lights.
  • Tanks and primary lights may be rented here in Cave Country.


  • The fee for this course is $1,500.
  • Fees include e-learning and certification processing for one card. Additional cards are $25.00.
  • Fees do not include gas fills, park entry fees, transportation or lodging.
  • Lodging is available at The Rum House.

  • General Discussion About This Course

    Since this is first course in the pathway to "Full Cave" there are a LOT of brand new skills that you will learn that are cave diving specfic and some of those skills are listed above. This is a lot of fun and is very fulfilling to the diver who is eager to improve their in water skill set, it is also a lot of work.

    Divers report to me that they sleep VERY WELL after a day of this training for two reasons: Satisfaction that they are learning and simply being tired from a FULL day of diving and learning new things.

    Never have I had a diver complain to me that the classroom sessions are boring, even though we often times spend over eight hours on academics over a few days.

    Also I have never had a diver complain to me that the course was a waste of their time or that they did not feel the course challenged them enough -OR- not worth the money they spent.

    This training has been reported to me as the BEST and most thorough training they have ever undergone.

    You will see a lot of cave during this class. We will see several different caves and caverns during the class to help you become more well rounded in your journey to becoming a Full Cave Diver.


    Call or text Jim at 352-363-0013


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    Updated October 2, 2023