You, your mind and body are the most important part of the life support system. You must become an attentive and competent diver. Every piece of your equipment should be chosen as if your life depended on it, because it is really does.
The configuration of your equipment should provide the maximum level of safety. With the development of diving new ideas, styles and improvements arrives that we can do, if needed. Do not be closed to everything new, think, analyze, and apply new technologies if they increase your level of safety and do not contradict the general concept of cave diving equipment.
The cave diving community has always been at the forefront of the latest underwater technology. Cave divers continue to dive deeper and further than most other divers. What cave divers have learned and developed strongly influence the entire diving community. The amount of equipment required for cave diving varies depending on the conditions and goals of the dive. You must choose the equipment that suits the current tasks and the environment. However, there is a single basic standard for all cave divers. We will discuss the differences so that you can personalize your gear as much as possible.
The knowledge and experience described in this article comes from many years of experience and thousands of completed dives.
It is easy to explain why cave diving put in the highest demands on the equipment used. By their nature, cave dives are much longer than open water or shipwreck dives. The dive itself takes place in total darkness and in an overhead environment, often with scheduled decompression. In such extreme conditions, the diver must be completely self-sufficient and self-confident. One of the basic postulates of cave diving emphasizes that the equipment must guarantee the possibility of self-rescue, and provide a large margin of safety. The diver must anticipate possible malfunctions or breakdowns of the equipment, and at the same time be able to cope with the resulting breakdown on his own.
The equipment configuration should be as simple as possible, convenient and provide easy access to any of its elements. All elements must be located in such a way that the diver can find them by touch. Everything must be secured, as their loose position leads to entanglement or breakage. It is reasonable to place devices on the wrists, it reduces resistance and is more convenient to use.
The length of the hoses must correspond to the length of the body, all hoses must be laid as streamlined as possible and not go beyond the plane of the body. You can bungee loops (medical tubing, or other similar material) to attach a spare regulator. Work on proper hose routing to keep your configuration as organized and clear as possible.
Many cave and technical divers use bungee loops to hold the second stages of the regulators in the triangular area under the chin. This allows you to quickly find the second stage if necessary. Also, team members in this case always know where the regulators are located.
There is no single ideal gear configuration. Divers, like equipment, are all different “shapes and sizes”. What is perfect for one may not be right for another. You can experiment with all parts of your equipment to find the one that works for you. Always stay open to new gear configuration techniques. While some really great techniques have been introduced in recent years, there is always room for improvement. Learn from your fellow divers, what works for them may work for you. It is very important to develop new ideas and new equipment.
An important consideration in the process of configuring equipment is the principle of simplicity. Do not take with you what you do not need. The margin of safety should be within reasonable limits, and should not create even more potential points of failure: the configuration should remain as streamlined as possible so as not to damage the fragile environment. Know your equipment by touch – valves, hoses, clearly deco-marked cylinders should be extensions of your hands. Always look for ways to slightly improve your equipment and its comfort, because in the end it is your life insurance.