NSS-CDS Training Program

Cavern Diver

Cavern Diver

The NSS-CDS Cavern Diver course is a safety and awareness course aimed at open-water sport divers. It is not a prerequisite for, nor does it count toward Cave Diver training and certification. Students in the Cavern Diver course use standard, single-tank sport diving equipment. They may not use sidemount, backmounted doubles or CCRs.

So, who should take the Cavern Diver course? It may be you if:

  • You have no desire to dive beyond sight of daylight.
  • You are unsure whether you want to incur the time commitment or expense associated with becoming a fully certified Cave Diver.
  • You are looking for a course which can greatly expand your skills and abilities as an open-water sport diver. (One which just happens to include the opportunity to make some really cool dives.)

Students who take the Cavern Diver course can:

  • Safely dive in overhead environments while remaining within clear sight of the entrance and daylight.
  • Avoid mistakes which may be fatal in overhead environments.
  • Educate fellow divers about the risks and hazards inherent in cavern and cave diving.
  • Improve critical diving skills such as buoyancy, trim and propulsion.
  • Improve the functionality of their single-tank, recreational dive gear.
  • Better dive in a team with similarly trained buddies.
  • Use dive lights in state parks and other sites where such use is limited to certified Cavern and Cave Divers.

More significantly, Cavern Diver students will be better equipped to assess whether they possess the skills needed for Cave Diver training. They can also better evaluate whether it is worth the time and expense to do so.

The Cavern Diver course covers many of the same skills we teach in NSS-CDS Cave Diver training. We just do so with students in normal, single-tank sport diving equipment.


  • 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
  • Have logged at least 25 dives


  • Typically two days
  • At least four dives
  • At least 90 minutes of bottom time

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Course Standards

Form These are the standards instructors must follow when teaching this course. It includes information on student and instructor prerequisites, course content, skill requirements and limits of training.