NSS-CDS Training Program

Advanced Cave Diver

Advanced Cave

This course provides an alternative to the NSS-CDS Cave Diver course. It includes all of the academic and skill development from the full Cave Diver course, plus all the content and training of the NSS-CDS Stage Diving specialty course and the content and training of the First Responder program.

An important factor when deciding between this course and the “regular” Cave Diver course is that of need. You must ask, As a newly-certified Cave Diver, just how far do I really need to go?

Among the advice most instructors give newly-certified cave divers is, “Gain experience slowly. Don’t task load yourself unnecessarily.” Carrying stage bottles is very task loading. For those without sufficient experience, it increases risk while diminishing enjoyment.

The fact is, you can easily make 100 or more cave dives before you encounter everything there is to see within the range of a single set of doubles or sidemount. Why add the burden of dragging around a stage bottle to this?

Many instructors feel the only justification for taking the Advanced Cave Diver course is you live some distance away and coming back later to take the Stage Cave Diver course would be difficult. Otherwise, you may be better off just sticking with the “regular” Cave Diver course.


  • Be at least 18
  • Possess a minimum of Nitrox and Advanced Open Water Diver certifications, or equivalent, from one or more widely recognized diver training organizations
  • Hold NSS-CDS Apprentice Cave Diver certification or equivalent from a widely recognized diver training organization
  • Have logged at least 50 dives
  • Prior to or concurrently with this course, students must acquire training and certification in decompression procedures and the use of high-oxygen-content gas mixtures for decompression.


  • Typically five days past Apprentice Cave Diver
  • Typically ten or more dives
  • At least 500 minutes of bottom time past Apprentice Cave Diver

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