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Cave Diving Zone 1 Certificate


To instruct and qualify an advanced sport diver in the techniques required for diving in overhead environments within line of site to the entrance, in a safe and controlled manner.


Cavern diver is the first of a three certification series that is designed to develop Cavern and Cave diving proficiency. Candidates are not required to possess prior overhead environment experience. This certificate is intended to provide the basic information necessary for an advanced sport diver to safely participate in overhead environment diving - within line of sight to the surface. While it is recognised that a sinkhole such as Wondergat or Chinoi may be regarded as a normal diving venue by many, these are classified as caverns (entrances to larger caves) and should not be entered without specialised training. The certificate “Cave Diver (Zone II)”, covers the more traditional aspects of narrow, water-filled passages associated with cave diving. This certificate does not provide the candidate diver with the capability of diving beyond his or her existing depth qualification.


  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must submit the Technical Diving Medical certificate clearing the holder as fit to participate in underwater diving prior to participating in any practical training. A medical practitioner using the CMAS-ISA Technical Medical Examination Form must have carried out the medical examination not more than 12 months previously.
  • Should not be a smoker.
  • Should not be using any prescription or otherwise drugs before or during the course, without the written consent of a qualified diving doctor.
  • Should be capable of swimming 25 metres underwater on a single breathhold.
  • Should be capable of swimming 200 metres.
  • Must hold a CMAS-ISA Advanced Nitrox Diver Certificate.
  • Must have carried out and logged the following dives in open water with a minimum depth of 10 metres and a duration of at least 30 minutes (except where the special nature of the dive precludes this on safety grounds)
    - 10 night dives.
    - 10 zero-visibility dives, using a shotline with a swim-line on the bottom, of which at least 2 should be for the search and recovery of an item.
    - 5 deep dives to a depth of at least 40 metres that do not form part of any certification requirements, using any appropriate breathing gas for which the candidate is already certified.
    - 2 dives requiring the use of a compass for navigation.
    - 2 dives in water with a muddy bottom, demonstrating adequate buoyancy control i.e. no stirred-up silt.
  • To write the Cavern Diver (Zone I) examination:
    - Must attend a Cavern Diver (Zone I) course overseen by a CMAS-ISA specially approved in-date Technical Instructor (Course Convenor).
  • To apply for the Cavern Diver (Zone I) Certificate:
    - Must achieve a pass mark of at least 65% in the theory examination (2 hours) set by the Course Convenor and approved by the CMAS-ISA Technical Diver Training Taskgroup.
    - Must pass the prescribed practical tests.
    - Must read the Code of Practice for Cave Diving, as issued by CMAS-ISA, and return a signed copy with the application for the certificate.
    - The candidate must have logged at least 5 cavern dives as specified by the Course Convenor. At least 3 of these are to be carried out under the supervision of the instructor.


course covers the following aspects:

  • Selection of diving gear to suit the overhead mission requirement.
  • Revision of all theoretical aspects of deep diving.
  • Rope, reel and guideline techniques.
  • Working and theoretical knowledge of decompression, including action to be taken in the event of omitted or shortened decompression.
  • Diving accident management, with emphasis on drowning, air embolism and decompression sickness. Should be familiar with in-water recompression and the use of an oxygen resuscitator.
  • Dive planning, with emphasis on air management and decompression planning.


Parts 10, 11, 12 & 13 must be completed within 1 year of writing the theory examination. Failing which, parts 10 & 11 must be re-done. The above-mentioned prerequisites are the minimum required for the CMAS-ISA Cavern Diver (Zone I) certificate.