If you ask any cave diver, they will tell you that cave diving is not a sport. Rather it is a way of life, and some even consider it a craft. Cave diving is one of the most dangerous activities that you can do, and there are numerous reports of deaths and people getting lost while doing it. We must find out why cave diving is dangerous.
Why is cave diving dangerous? Cave diving is one of the most technical forms of diving you can attempt and should never be done with a recreational scuba license. It often requires advanced training physically and mentally, and one of the biggest dangers to people is the mental aspect of losing their bearings and often getting lost.
While this is one of the reasons cave diving is dangerous, there are numerous other reasons which also make cave diving one of the most dangerous sports you can attempt.
This article aims to help you understand some of these dangers and ensure that you are prepared for what cave diving will ultimately throw at you.
If you want to learn more about Cave Diving: What It Is And How to get started, I wrote a whole article that I encourage you to read.
Dangers Of Cave Diving
To help you better understand and prepare for cave diving, you will need to look at some of the dangers of the sport. The dangers of cave diving can be astronomical, which would significantly affect your idea of the sport.
Here are some of the dangers of cave diving that you should keep in mind:
One of the biggest dangers of cave diving is the environment in which you are cave diving. The environments are often enclosed, which could lead to claustrophobia.
Many people would often lose their bearings and begin to panic when they lose control or feel claustrophobic. This can cause individuals to lose their diving capabilities, leading to bad decisions.
One of the biggest issues with cave diving is the environment of the cave, which often leads to limited available light.
With such a lack of visibility, it becomes increasingly easier for divers to get lost when they are diving. Most divers will have diving lines, which guide them back to the starting point or the surface area.
The cave can also be littered with sediment and silt, which could easily upset the visibility of the diver with a flashlight. One bad movement might cause you to kick up some of these things, which would block the visibility of the diver significantly and often render the light useless as well.
3- Lack Of Escape
The overhead environment is one of the obvious dangers for many cave divers, and it often blacks them from escaping bad situations.
The lack of escape can cause panic, and if something goes wrong, you don’t have the luxury of simply bailing out. If this happens in open water, you can return to the surface before reattempting the dive.
The problem is that if something goes wrong, the diver needs to find an additional area where they can get to the surface in an unknown location.
Additionally, the diver might also need to turn back to the starting point, which often requires them to remain cognizant in finding their way back to the starting location.
4- Limited Air Supply
The limited air supply issue is not directly related to cave diving adventures. Limited air supply would often be a problem for normal divers as well. However, we have mentioned that a normal diver could easily bail out of the dive and simply return to the surface if they need to.
Unfortunately, the cave diver needs to make sure they have enough air supply to get them back to the starting location or even help them find a different way out.
Things like stress and other unforeseen circumstances could drastically affect the diver’s breathing rate, which means that the projected air supply might not be sufficient.
5- Unforeseen Circumstances
One of the first things that all cave divers will tell you is to prepare for the unknown and to expect the unexpected.
However, some caves have been pre-scouted, which means that divers will have some idea of how to approach the dive. Unfortunately, things like rock falls or even caves collapsing on themselves have led to divers being trapped.
The problem with this is that when you don’t have anywhere to go, you will need to find somewhere to go, and this could lead to severe panicking from the divers, which can lead to additional stressors.
It is important to ensure that you truly understand some of the dangers and that everything is not in your control.
6- Cave Gasses
Aside from the gas, you are carrying in your cylinder, which will be very heavy in the water but have some buoyancy; the caves can also have some harmful gasses. This means that even if you find somewhere to resurface, you could be in for some bad gasses like plenty of carbon dioxide, which would completely block the oxygen.
While predicting the gas levels inside caves are not that easy, you must prepare for things like this to happen.
You might be diving, and the levels of carbon dioxide would potentially harm your cave diving experience, and this could lead to some significant issues for the divers.
How To Reduce The Risks Of Cave Diving?
The great thing about the modern era and modern technology is that you can reduce some of the risks associated with cave diving.
We have asked a professional cave diver and some researchers who study these watery caves to advise us on what protocol and steps you can take to reduce the risks of cave diving.
1- Proper Training
One of the first things you should remember is your training. You might want to push the limits and explore different areas that you shouldn’t, but the training you have will save your life from critical situations.
As a cave diver, you must stick to these forms of training to ensure that you can bail out of certain situations safely.
One of the best ways to ensure you are safe and to have someone look out for you is to consider cave diving in groups. Doing it as a team would help to ensure that you can have someone to rely on when things go south.
You might have a team member with more skills or better mental preparation than you do to ensure that you can efficiently be protected if something goes wrong.
3- Having The Right Gear
You must make sure you have the right gear for cave diving. While you might be able to use certain elements of your scuba gear, not all of them will be sufficient for cave diving.
Cave diving-specific gear would often be more expensive. However, it would still ensure that you have all the adequate protection you need from the caves.
4- Proper Planning
It can be hard to plan for certain aspects of cave diving. However, some of the more commercial caves have often been explored, and these will offer you plans and ideas of how the caves work.
Additionally, you have people who can advise you on the cave and how it works. Proper planning would ensure that you can plan and make sure you have a basic understanding of the cave.
Why Do People Go Cave Diving?
Now that you know some of the dangers of cave diving, you might be wondering why people attempt to do it. The fact of the matter is that cave diving is something that some people would often enjoy, and some people simply love the thrill of putting their lives at stake.
Additionally, cave divers often get to see new and exciting elements of the earth that others will never be able to comprehend. Yes, cave diving involves incredible risk when you look at some of the stats. However, many would argue that the reward is something that would make up for the dangers of cave diving.
Cave diving can be incredibly fun if you understand some of the fundamentals and you try to understand how it works.
However, would want to recommend that you have specialized training, and something like the RAID 2 certificate is one of the most important forms of certification you can have to ensure that you are prepared.
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Cave diving is riddled with dangers, but it can also be fun. If you are one of those adventure junkies looking to explore a few caves, we would suggest making sure you are adequately prepared.
Let us know in the comment section if you have ever attempted or plan to attempt cave diving for yourself.