Staying Connected – A Beginner’s Guide to Lines in Cave Diving

An interesting short overview of some important tools used for overhead penetrations (caves, mines, wrecks):


Cave navigation…

Wreck diving & cave diving are sharing some similarities in safety procedures, protocols and operations. Some of them are related to using of directional & non-directional markers, jumps, lines, spools…

The following material “Zen and the Art of Mexican Cave Navigation“published in GUE‘s blog InDEPTH is a very good reference to analyze, learn and apply in any overhead environment.

Dive Safe!


Cutting diving tools in overhead environment – wrecks

The diver’s cutting device is mentioned as “auxiliary accessory” during the sport diving (training) levels. The SCUBA diving marketing is offering us a wide options of tools of various sizes and shapes, made of steel or titanium

Sport Divers tend to attach the cutting device (knife, eezycut, scissors etc) in various places (BCD, body – arms or legs), based on their personal preferences and activity performed.

As Technical Diver, you are performing a different kind of diving, including using of mixed gases & deco obligations or in an overhead environment. Or any combination. And as part of your extended planning, risk assessment should be on your dive preparation planning list. And cutting devices are part of your equipment, by default. Good quality tools!

Halcyon Explorer

When performing a dive inside of a wreck (overhead environment: caves, mines, wrecks), or around a wreck, your cutting device plays a very important role in your safety. Lost or handing cables, ropes, fishing lines or fishing nets, even carpets or pieces of furniture may represent a great danger underwater. And even greater when you are obliged to perform a deco stage or you have no clear “physical ceiling” (in an overhead) and you get entangled. And the time is counting down faster! While on the dry land you can easily rich your diving tool in almost any position, no matter where your knife of eezycut tool is placed, underwater is totally a different story.

You’ll be bulky, even in sidemount, sometimes in tight space and therefore, reaching your cutting tool must be easy and with minimum physical and mental stress.


You must be able to access your cutting tools (knife, eezycut, scissor) with both hands. No leg mounted or Rambo style.


Where to secure the cutting tools?

Webbing mounting (in the chest area and/or on the harness belt) where is easy accessible for both hands. Preferable, one device “knife” – small/medium size, and one device Eezycut.

If Eezycut is preferred attached on the wrist/forearm or dive computer straps/bungee cords, use (if possible) one tool for each hand.

Scissor can be stored in the leg pocket.

GUE DIR style

Try and follow the KISS principles: Keep It Stupid Simple!

Stay safe & Have fun dives!


SDI/TDI 5*Dive Center

ANDI Training Facility

Wreck diver: specialty or designated training course?

As most of you maybe already noticed, cave diving (overhead environment) have a media supremacy over the wreck diving (overhead environment) and this is a unfair misleading information. Maybe this due the fact that some old (and new) diving explorers are doing more cave diving then wreck diving.

Some agencies are classifying cave diving as overhead environment as designated course(s) (TDI, GUE, ANDI, UTD), while wreck diving is called “specialty” (PADI, TDI/SDI) and less “overhead curse”.

But there are training agencies (ANDI, IANTD, SSI, NAUI, UTD) were are dedicated overhead cave & wreck courses. At some other agencies, the “wreck” definition does even not exist in their curriculum (BSAC, CMAS).

But what the divers need to understand is the fact that an overhead environment is there, called “cave” or “wreck” and must be treated with maximum responsibility at all the times.

Each overhead environment is coming with its own particularities, related with specific areas characteristics, periods of the year, degradation over the years, other external (variable) factors. This makes dive planing quite difficult sometimes, with various alternatives & back-up options (especially when talking about exploration). What diving plan and gear configuration apply perfect to one team & dive, might not be so good for other team at the same dive.

Wreck diving must be taken step by step. There is no one single big and overall level to cover everything. The progress in wreck diving must be completed in small and solid steps, based on your background training (OC or CCR, NSR or deco etc). The complexity of wreck diving is way beyond just ticking off another “wreck”…. or a pile of iron.

Wreck diver certification does not automatically qualify  as a wreck diver if you don’t have a proper equipment, updated training, good team & support. Stay updated with your skills and knowledge and always, always put safety first.