1. Be Trained for Cave Diving; Remain
Within the Limits of Your Training
Amazingly, the one thing nine of ten diving accident victims have in common is the lack of formal training in how to dive this unique environment in as safe a manner as possible. And, because they lack such training, many victims are simply unaware of the need to carry sufficient lights, follow the Rule of Thirds or run a continuous guideline from the cave entrance.
Even in those instances in which accident victims had formal cavern or cave diver training and certification, death more often than not resulted from divers exceeding the limits of their training. Cave Diver training, in itself, does not prepare divers for depths in excess of 130 feet. Yet, in nine out of ten trained cave diver fatalities, the victims were diving below 130 feet, on air. Go figure.
If you choose to enjoy the spectacular beauty of north-central Florida’s caverns and caves, you can achieve the highest possible level of safety by enrolling in a minimum of a two-day Cavern Diver course, and employing the knowledge, skills and experience you will acquire as part of that training. Barring this, you should limit your diving to commercially operated sites, such as Ginnie Springs, Devil’s Den or Blue Grotto, which cater to “ordinary” recreational divers, or to state parks, such as Peacock or Manatee. Even here, it is vitally important you follow all the safety rules imposed by the site’s or park’s management.
If you find yourself diving elsewhere in this area, your best bet is to not carry or use a dive light. Doing so will help prevent you from penetrating underwater caverns or caves far enough to get into trouble.