On this page we will explain a bit more in detail the rules and guidelines of diving in a cenote which a diver or a guide needs to adhere on a cavern tour. Don’t worry, you don’t need to learn all these things, that is our job as guides! And of course we will give you a proper dive briefing before each dive in which we will cover all the things you need to know about the planned dive.
But maybe you are curious about cenote diving but not sure if it is something for you? Here we are going to explain to you that diving in a cenote still is diving as you already know. But that we also have to learn and respect that we are dealing with an overhead environment and that these rules and guidelines were made for your own safety.
The maximum of divers per guide is 4 divers. The guide always dives in front of the group and follows the permanent guideline. The divers follow the guide throughout the whole dive in a single file profile as you can see on the picture. The distances between the divers is no more than 2m/ 6ft. The guides needs to be able to see all the divers at any time of the dive.
The rule of thirds, as soon as we dive in an overhead environment this is how we calculate our air. So the first third we use to enter the cavern, the second third is to get out of the cavern the last third is for emergencies only. This could be an equipment failure or one of our team members is running out of air. But if everything goes fine every diver should be out of the cavern when they reach the last third.
Things we don’t need – Things we don’t do
Here you see the perfect position of a diver who dives in a cavern or cave. You need to stay as horizontal as possible and the finning technique we use is called the frog kick. We use these techniques to make sure that we don’t silt up a lot of sediment from the floor due to how it affects the visibility. In any case this is the modern way we dive today and we recommend everybody to become familiar with these techniques as soon as possible. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with these techniques yet, our guides will give you a few tips how to be able to dive like this. We also take care in ensuring that the first few dives are not conducted in places where this can be an issue even if you do a “wrong” kick or two.
No snorkel, a snorkel is not necessary in an overhead environment because we don’t have direct access to the surface and because of the danger of entanglement.
No knifes, we don’t bring knifes because you don’t want to accidentally cut the wrong things, for example our permanent guideline.
No gloves, the temperature is around 25°celsius/ 77°fahrenheit so there is no need for gloves and we also want to avoid touching things.
No carvings, we are diving in an ancient, and for many people, sacred places. To respect that and to conserve our cavern and caves it is absolutely forbidden to make any carvings on decorations or handprints on sediment parts.
No touching, breaking or souvenir taking. We are diving in a very old environment and all the nice decorations like stalactites and stalagmites needs to be protected as much as possible. Decorations which lay in the water do not keep growing, so once they are gone, they are gone forever.
Before each dive we do an in-water check to make sure nobody has pressure gauges, any other hoses or items tangling around. We want to dive as streamlined as possible.
- There must be a natural daylight source.
- Within 60m/200ft there must be a place to be able to breath and/or an exit out of the cavern.
- There are no restrictions, or with other words it is given that 2 divers can cross at any time of the dive.
Requirements for a diver
- PADI® Open Water Diver, equivalent or higher.
- The decision for dive sites which we will dive together is made after we did get to know each other in the water.
A diver who participates in one of our programs for cenote diving, dives with normal recreational scuba gear. Such as:
- Regulator (DIN or INT connections)
- Dive Computer or a time device, depth gauge and table
- Wetsuit (recommended: 5mm or thicker)
- Dive Light (is provided)
- Weights (is provided)
- Standard 80cft/ 11,2ltr single aluminum tank (is provided)
Requirement for cavern guides
- Full Cave Diver
- minimum PADI® Divemaster, equivalent or higher.
- Trained in the local area.
- furthermore, we also make sure that all our guides are actively cave diving and not just holding the certification card.
Full Cave Equipment
A cavern guide needs to dive in Full Cave Equipment:
- 2 Tanks (2x 80cft/ 11,2ltr standard aluminum tanks with DIN connection)
- Wing + backplate or sidemount rig
- 2 Regulators with DIN connection and long hose configuration and mechanical pressure gauge
- 1 Primary dive light
- 2 Backup dive lights
- 2 Masks
- Primary reel (if needed)
- Safety spool
- Navigation kit/ marker
- Dive computer
- BackUp dive computer or a time device, depth gauge and table
- 2 Line cutter
- Power fins
- Weights (if needed)