2. Maintain a Continuous
Guideline to the Cave Exit
If there is a single word that best describes the layout of most north-central Florida cave systems, it is “maze.” Many cave diving accident victims assume they are swimming into a single, sewer-like conduit. Imagine their shock when, upon turning to exit, they discover multiple passageways behind them — and that which passage leads to safety is not always clear.
Compounding this problem is the fact that divers who lack training in ultra-precise buoyancy control and anti-silting propulsion techniques, which cave diver courses provide, often leave a trail of poor visibility behind them. Disoriented divers frequently assume that swimming into clearer water will lead them to safety. Ironically, doing so in a cave will tend to lead them further from the entrance.
In a substantial number of cave diving fatalities, the victims actually had sufficient breathing gas to exit, when at their furthest point of penetration. However, because they could not locate the exit, they squandered that gas before reaching safety.
This is why among the most important of all cavern- and cave-diving safety rules is running a continuous guideline that will lead divers directly to the cave entrance. Even though the maze-like configuration of many north-central Florida caverns and caves may momentarily deceive divers, properly used guidelines don’t lie.
Be Trained and Remain Within Your Limits »