Stage cave diving allows the cave diver to penetrate the cave further while using extra stage tanks and can be done in either Sidemount or back mount configuration.
This is an advanced cave diving course. It is perfect for trained full cave divers who have been building up experience while swimming in caves and are interested in further pushing the adventure into the cave environment.
Your penetration distance in the cave becomes more important, and so does your dive time. Along with gas volume management, you might have to use different gas mixtures as the extended time at depth may result in mandatory decompression. If you have not yet taken the TDI Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures courses, you might want to consider combining these 3 courses. Staging a deco tank at the beginning of your stage cave dive can make a great deal of a difference in terms of time and warmth but, of course, in terms of safety. Remember, the more efficient the exit, the safer the cave dive.
Stage diving is a great way to dive in the cave, and the stage cave course is a mandatory step towards DPV cave diving. It follows the progressive penetration principle, will lead you further into the cave, and correct gas management will add extra safety and redundancy.
There might not seem much to learn during the stage cave course; however, the configuration of the gear and efficiently handling the extra tank is a great deal. And it can be quite challenging to repeat all the skills you mastered during your cave course while dealing with the new configuration.
You will learn how to use a stage rig correctly and, most importantly, how to set up your diving harness correctly, safely, and effectively communicate as a team during dropping and retrieval procedures. Most importantly, the location on the cave line.
Believe it or not, this extra tank can make things quite tricky, your side trim will be affected, and your propulsion techniques might require a little adjustment.
There are several ways to manage your gas while Stage cave diving and many situations to be considered. Gas management will depend on the configuration of all the divers in the team. Are we diving back mount? Are we diving side mount? Are we all diving in the same configuration, or are we in a mixed team of side mount and back mount divers? Gas management can be very different.
Team positioning and awareness are just as important, and there is little more to it during stage cave diving. You might need to adjust a bit to our new volume and buoyancy.
Reach our stage pressure, and we drop. Remembering his training, select a correct place to drop the stage, do not interfere with other teams, and limit your impact on the cave.
Stage Cave Course Equipment
- 2 sets of regulators, each with 1 first and second stage, with at least 1 pressure gauge for backmount and 2 pressure gauges for Sidemountand inflation hose
- 1 stage regulator with 1 first and second stage, and 1 pressure gauge
- BCD (wing) and harness or Sidemount Wing (with a min lift of 40 pounds)
- Appropriate exposure suit (longer dives and DPV dives usually mean colder dives, consider adapting your dive suit to the kind of diving you are doing)
- Dive Computer with depth gauge and back up computer or bottom timer
- Backmount or Sidemount
- 2 Line Cutting Device or knife
- Primary and two Back-up Lights
- 1 Safety Reel (2 recommended) – Primary and navigation spools can be borrowed from your indtructor during the course and guided cave dives
- Directional Line Arrows as many as needed to safely mark your navigation into the cave + 3 for safety
- Non-directional Line Markers, REM or cookies as many as needed to safely mark your navigation into the cave + 3 for safety
- Mask and Back-up mask