Overhead Protocols

Overhead Protocols

Contact Info:
Poh Chang Chew at UTD Scuba Diving (Instructor)
Company: Unified Team Diving
Email: chewpc@utdscubadiving.com

Instructor: Poh Chang Chew
Email: chewpc@utdscubadiving.com

Overhead Protocols

By: Poh Chang Chew at UTD Scuba Diving (Instructor)
Instructor: Poh Chang Chew
Region: Philippines
Where: Anilao Philippines, Anilao, 4202
Event by Appointment: Please arrange time with Instructor.

Event arranged by appointment.

The UTD Overhead Protocols course is a mandatory prerequisite to UTD’s Wreck 1 and Cave 1 classes, and acts as Part 1 of any overhead environment course. As there are so many skills and techniques common to both wreck and cave diving, the Overhead Protocols class presents the student with the foundational skills that are necessary to be a safe, thinking diver in any overhead environment.

This three-day class takes place in non overhead environment (open or confined water), generally at depths of 30’/10m or less, and introduces the student to line-laying, line retrieval, no-visibility line following, touch contact communication and skills, critical skills while 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, valve failures, etc. These are tested to a level similar to that of  Tech 2 skills, but complicated by the necessity of staying on a line and simulating the need to navigate back to open water.

Completion of this class qualifies a diver to move on to UTD Wreck 1 or UTD Cave 1, each of which is another three-day class that takes place in the actual overhead environment. If a student wishes to complete both Wreck 1 and Cave 1, he/she will not need to repeat the Overhead Protocols class, eliminating the repetition of the line skills. Both Wreck 1 and Cave 1 contain a complete review of line procedures in case there is a time gap between the Overhead Protocols class and Wreck 1 or Cave 1.

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


  • Must be a minimum age of 18 years
  • Must have a minimum of 75 dives beyond open water qualification
  • UTD Rescue and Emergencies Procedures or equivalent
  • Must be able to swim at least 300 yards/275 meters in less than 12 minutes without stopping
  • Must be able to swim a distance of at least 60 feet/18 meters on a breath hold
  • DAN Membership and Insurance or equivalent


The UTD Overhead Protocols class is normally conducted over a 3-day period.  It involves a minimum of 24 hours of instruction, encompassing both classroom and in-water work.

Course Limits

  • General training limits as outlined in Section 1.6
  • Maximum depth 60 feet/18 meters
  • No overhead environments
  • No decompression


  • Online Classroom – Overhead Protocols
  • Gas Planning Worksheet
  • Essentials of Overhead Diver DVD is recommended

Academic Topics

  • UTD organization, limits of training, and course completion requirements
  • Reel and guideline use
  • Dive team order and protocols
  • Touch contact
  • Use of safety spools and reels
  • Basic navigation skills

Land Drills & Topics

  • UTD equipment configuration
  • Reel and guideline use in standard operating procedures
  • Team order and protocols
  • All equipment failures
  • Use of safety spools/reels
  • Reel and guideline use in emergency procedures, including touch contact and air-sharing techniques
  • Lost diver procedures
  • Lost guideline procedures
  • Basic navigation skills
  • Visual referencing skills

Required Dive Skills & Drills

  • Pre-dive planning to include:
    • Assess and review diving limitations
    • Dive plan review
    • Equipment review
    • Equipment familiarization
  • Navigation, to include:
    • Visual reference
    • Guideline and Markers use
    • Limited and simulated zero visibility
  • Procedures for gas failures; including valve manipulation, air-sharing, and regulator switching (as appropriate), included but not limited to Zero visibility scenarios
  • Demonstrate proficiency in safe diving techniques, including pre-dive preparations, in-water activity, and post-dive assessment.
  • Air-sharing scenarios to include:
    • Breath hold management
    • Out of air diver
    • Air-sharing of at least 200 feet/60 meters
  • Use of various propulsion techniques according to environment (silt, high flow, delicate)
  • Use of touch contact for limited and simulated zero visibility situations.
  • Use of line following techniques for limited/no visibility experiences.
  • Demonstrate the efficient deployment of a reserve light in less than 30 seconds.
  • Demonstrate excellent buoyancy control skills.
  • Perform a Lost Diver drill while remaining calm and maintaining a horizontal attitude and neutral posture.
  • Perform a Lost Line drill while remaining calm and maintaining a horizontal attitude and neutral posture.
  • Demonstrate effective valve-management by switching regulators, shutting down a valve ,and then returning the valve to the open position.
  • Demonstrate proficiency with guideline management in the following situations:
    • Simulated zero visibility line following; this would incorporate touch-contact skills
    • Efficient deployment of the guideline while following international protocol
    • Efficient removal of the guideline
  • Resolving line entanglement scenarios

Equipment Requirements

  • Tanks/Cylinders: Students are required to use dual tanks/cylinders connected with dual outlet isolator manifold, which allows the use of two first stages.
  • Regulators: Two first-stages, each supplying a single second stage. One of the second stages must be on a 7-foot/2-meter hose. One of the first stages must supply a pressure gauge and provide inflation for a dry suit (where applicable).
  • Buoyancy Compensator: Back-mounted wings, mated with a harness and back plate.
  • At least one depth-measuring device.
  • One timekeeping devices.
  • Compass
  • Mask and fins: fins must be of the non-split variety. Back up mask required.
  • At least one cutting device.
  • Wet Notes with u/w pencil
  • One spool with 100 feet/ 30 meters of line, per diver.
  • One primary reel per team, with a minimum of 300 feet/90 meters of line.
  • Three lights: one primary and two secondary.
  • Exposure suit appropriate for the duration of exposure.

Event Reviews

nothing compares 05 April 2016
By Giovanni Valotto MD

I guess this is not "simply" a scuba class. Beyond the practical skills learned there is more, much more. There is a change in the approach to diving. This is the best lesson I learnt. These have been truly hard days. But I really would start over again and again from the very beginning.

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