Advanced Cave Side Mount

Advanced Cave Side Mount

Advanced Cave Side Mount

Business: Unified Team Diving

Price of Digital Course

UTD Advanced Side Mount Cave Diver training develops cave diving proficiency in this specific configuration. This very demanding open circuit training seeks to refine the cave diving techniques of certified Cave Divers who have both mastered the requirements of UTD Essentials of Cave Side Mount diving and gained the necessary experience in side mount configuration at their level of certification. To succeed, students must be practiced in the  basic aspects of cave diving and comfortable in diving the side mount configuration at their level.

The Advanced Side Mount Cave Diver course builds upon previously learned skills, focusing on extending essential cave diving techniques. These skills include: a focus on environmental awareness, dive buddy and team awareness, problem resolution, stress management, self evaluation, navigation, basic survey techniques, extended exposure strategy, while using multiple stage bottles. This training is heavily experience- and stage bottle-based, and includes many practical, task-oriented skills that must be mastered before a student is competent to safely dive at this level.



  • Must meet UTD General Course Prerequisites as outlined in Section 1.6.
  • Minimum age of 18.
  • Completed UTD registration process.
  • UTD Cave Diver (or equivalent) and Essentials of Cave Side Mount.
  • Must have completed twenty five (25) experience cave dives in Side Mount configuration  at current level of certification.
  • Standard gases are used. Nitrox and/or Helium certification required if breathing any gas with higher O2 content than 22% and/or using a helium based mix.

Course Content

Training is usually over a 5-day period and  requires a minimum of ten (10) hours of academics / dry runs and at least ten (10) in-water dives. These must be a combination of demonstration/critical skills and experience dives. Additional training and dives are at the discretion of the instructor and are based on the level of training the student is seeking.

Course Limits

  • General Training Limits as outlined in Section 1.4.
  • Student to Instructor ratio is not to exceed 3:1 during any overhead diving activity.
  • Open circuit gas consumption: minimum of 2/3 of gas supply for cave exit (normal stage limits apply, where applicable).
  • No critical skills training dives are to exceed a depth of 100 feet / 30 meters.
  • Max Depth - according to students’ current certification level.
  • Minimum 10 feet/3 meters of visibility to enter a cave.
  • Minimum 100 cu. ft./2832 liters of gas to enter a cave.
  • UTD Z-System or similar Side Mount configuration.
  • No goal-oriented dives.

Online Classroom Courses and Text

  • Online Classroom Materials - Advanced Side Mount Cave Diver.
  • Cave Side Mount Worksheet.
  • Cave Diver and Essentials of Side Mount DVDs (recommended).

Academic Topics

  • UTD organization.
  • Side Mount diving principles.
  • Side Mount theory as it applies to cave diving.
  • Dive planning and gas management, including stage bottles.
  • Negotiating restrictive areas.
  • Air sharing and valve procedures.

Land Drills and Topics

  • Dive team protocols.
  • Configuration of the Z-System or equivalent for cave Side Mount diving.
  • Gas sharing drills.
  • Configuration of multi-cylinder Side Mount system.
  • Multiple cylinder gas management.
  • Simulated failures of the stage bottles.
  • Simulated failures of the distribution block.
  • Simulated failure of the drive hose connection.
  • Zero visibility communication.

Required Dive Skills and Drills

  • All skills and drills as outlined in the general diving skills as outline in Section 1.5.
  • All skills requirements of requested crossover level as outlined by UTD Class structure.
  • Emergency out of gas management.
  • Multiple cylinder gas management.
  • Unclipped drive hose failure.
  • Distribution block failure.
  • Gas switch failures.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the use of stage cylinders for the purpose of extending penetration and deco bottle to accelerate and enhance decompression.
  • Drop and retrieve stage and decompression cylinders with minimum cave impact and without changing buoyancy 3 feet/1 meter specifically to avoid any visibility reduction.
  • Retrieve stage and decompression bottles and switch bottles in simulated zero visibility.
  • Demonstrate stage bottle gas sharing scenarios within the team.
  • Demonstrate the proper use of stage bottles in restrictions.
  • Demonstrate adequate procedures to enter and exit a restriction, including “no-mount” restrictions.
  • Demonstrate a calm demeanor while sharing gas in a cave exit for at least 900 feet/300 meters.
  • Demonstrate a calm demeanor while sharing gas through a restriction, minimizing ceiling impact.
  • Demonstrate a calm demeanor while sharing gas in simulated zero visibility for at least 600 feet/200 meters.

Required Equipment:

  • All equipment noted in paragraph 3.0.
  • UTD Z-System side mount configuration or equivalent for Side Mount diving.
  • Appropriate multiple AL80 stage bottles with appropriate Side Mount rigging.

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