Technical Diver Level 3



The Technical Level 3 (Tech 3) course is the culmination of a series of three courses designed to establish technical diving excellence and facilitate deep, mixed gas diving. Emphasis is placed on aggressive diving profiles including advanced decompression theory, advanced gas mixture/management, control over extreme exposures to Oxygen and proficiency in the use of a DPV for propulsion at depth. This course is heavily experience-based and deals mostly with the practical implications of deep diving; divers are expected to be capable technical divers.




  1. Must meet GUE General Course Prerequisites as outlined in Section 1.6
  2. Must be a minimum of 21 years of age
  3. Must be GUE Tech 2 qualified and GUE Cave Level 1 trained
  4. Must have a minimum of 300 logged dives with at least 200 dives in double cylinders and at least 50 dives beyond Tech 2 training
  5. Must be able to swim a distance of at least 60 feet/18 meters on a breath hold
  6. Must be able to swim at least 600 yards/550 meters in less than 14 minutes without stopping. This test should be conducted in a swimsuit and, where necessary, appropriate thermal protection.




The GUE Tech 3 class is normally conducted over a 7-day period and involves a minimum of forty (40) hours of instruction. Training consists of at least ten (10) dives of which six (6) are critical skills/drills and four (4) are experience dives as defined by GUE standards.


Course Limits


  1. General Training Limits as outlined in Section 1.4
  2. Student to instructor ratio is not to exceed 3:1 during in-water training or land drills


Course Content


The GUE Tech 3 course is normally conducted over a 7-day period, and cumulatively involves a minimum of forty (40) hours of class-oriented instruction (lecture and in-water) designed to instill divers with an advanced understanding of mixed gas diving. Special emphasis here will be placed on extended exposures and their associated considerations (dive planning, gas management, DCS, Oxygen toxicity, DPV propulsion, and thermal concerns).


Course requirements include a minimum of six (6) critical skill dives (3 days) with training in scooter diving, multiple stage/deco bottles, navigation, advanced gas management and advanced decompression strategy, and four (4) Trimix experience dives (4 days) with practical implementation of critical skills during deeper/longer diving.



Required Training Materials


  1. Doing it Right: The Fundamentals of Better Diving. Jarrod Jablonski, GUE, 2001, High Springs, Florida.
  2. Getting Clear on the Basics: The Fundamentals of Technical Diving. Jarrod Jablonski, GUE, 2001, High Springs, Florida.
  3. Beyond the Daylight Zone: The Fundamentals of Cave Diving. Jarrod Jablonski, Panos Alexakos and Todd Kincaid, GUE, 2001, High Springs, Florida.
  4. The Physiology and Medicine of Diving. Peter Bennett and David Elliott, W. B. Saunders Company Ltd, London.


Academic Topics


  1. GUE organization
  2. Limits of training and course completion requirements
  3. Conservation
  4. Logistical planning, project support, and operational planning
  5. Advanced diving techniques including scooter diving, use of multiple stage/deco bottles, navigation, advanced gas management, and advanced decompression strategy


Land Drills & Topics


  1. Spool, reel, and guideline use
  2. Dive team order and protocols
  3. Scootering protocols
  4. Touch contact
  5. Advanced navigation skills


Required Dive Skills & Drills


  1. All skills and drills as outlined in General Diving Skills, Section 1.5.
  2. Assess and review diving limitations.
  3. Skillfully demonstrate gas failure procedures; including valve manipulation, gas-sharing, and regulator switching (as appropriate).
  4. Demonstrate the ability to deploy a lift bag/surface marker buoy in less than two minutes while hovering stationary. Participants should not vary in depth more than 5 feet/1.5 meters.
  5. Be able to skillfully demonstrate at least two propulsion techniques that would be appropriate in delicate and/or silty environments.
  6. Demonstrate good touch contact skills for limited and simulated zero visibility situations.
  7. Demonstrate excellent reel and guideline use.
  8. Demonstrate proficiency in gas-sharing while managing multiple stages.
  9. Demonstrate safe and efficient operation of a DPV.
  10. Demonstrate proficiency in gas-sharing while piloting a DPV.
  11. Demonstrate the ability to run/retrieve a guideline while scootering.
  12. Demonstrate the ability to tow a diver whose diver propulsion vehicle has failed.
  13. Demonstrate proficiency in managing scooter times (power management protocols).
  14. Demonstrate the effective deployment of a reserve light in less than 30 seconds.
  15. Demonstrate excellent buoyancy control skills.
  16. Demonstrate a clean and efficient removal of multiple stage and/or decompression bottles while hovering horizontal.
  17. Demonstrate facility with advanced decompression procedures by: 1) demonstrating the ability to explain trends in decompression tables, and 2) by explaining a strategy for managing decompression in the event of a lost decompression gas.
  18. Demonstrate the knowledge to safely carry out all decompression obligations assuming the loss of all back gas.
  19. Demonstrate capacity with navigation, including compass operation and natural navigation techniques.


Equipment Requirements


Each student should have, and be familiar with, all of the following required equipment.


  1. Tanks/Cylinders: Students are required to use dual tanks/cylinders connected with a dual outlet isolator manifold, which allows for the use of two first-stages. All dives must start with a minimum of 80 cubic feet/2250 liters of gas. Divers must also maintain the use of at least four appropriately marked stage bottles. Stage bottles should include: one Oxygen cylinder, one cylinder for use at 70 feet/21 meters, one cylinder for use at 120 feet/36 meters, and one cylinder for use at 190 feet/57 meters.
  2. Regulators: Two first-stages, each supplying a single second-stage. One of the second-stages must be on a 7-foot/2-meter hose. One of the first-stages must supply a pressure gauge and provide inflation for a dry suit where applicable. Four first-stage regulators, one for each stage/decompression cylinder; each one is to supply a single second-stage and a single pressure gauge.
  3. Backplate System: A rigid and flat platform, of metal construction with minimal padding, held to a diver by one continuous piece of nylon webbing. This webbing should be adjustable through the plate and should use a buckle to secure the system at the waist. A crotch strap attached to the lower end of this platform and looped through the waistband would prevent the system from riding up a diver's back. A knife should be secured to the waist on the left webbing tab. This webbing should support five D-rings; the first should be placed at the left hip, the second should be placed in line with a diver's right collarbone, the third should be placed in line with the diver's left collarbone, the fourth and fifth should be affixed to the crotch strap to use while scootering or towing/stowing gear. The harness below the diver's arms should have small restrictive bands to allow for the placement of reserve light powered by three in-line c-cell batteries (where necessary). The system should retain a minimalist approach with no unnecessary components.
  4. Buoyancy Compensation Device: A diver's buoyancy compensation device should be back-mounted and minimalist in nature. It should come free of extraneous strings, tabs, or other material. There should be no restrictive bands or "bungee" of any sort affixed to the buoyancy cell. In addition, diver lift should not exceed 80lbs. Wing size and shape should be appropriate to the cylinder size(s) employed for training.
  5. Approved DPV
  6. At least one depth-measuring device
  7. One timekeeping device
  8. Survey compass and slate
  9. Decompression tables
  10. Mask and fins: Mask should be low volume; fins should be rigid, non-split
  11. At least one cutting device
  12. Wet Notes
  13. One reel/spool with 100 feet/30 meters of line per diver
  14. One primary reel per team, with a minimum of 300 feet/90 meters of line
  15. One primary light: A primary light should be minimalist in design; its power source should consist of a rechargeable battery pack residing in a canister powering an external light head via a light cord. Primary lights should produce the equivalent output of 50 watt halogen/10 watt HID lighting or greater.
  16. Two reserve lights: Reserve lights should be non-rechargeable in-line three c-cell battery lights with a minimum of protrusions and a single attachment at its rear. The light should be activated by twisting the front bezel towards the body, deactivated by turning it away from the body.
  17. Exposure suit appropriate for the duration of exposure
  18. At least one surface marker buoy per diver



Note: Prior to the commencement of class, students should consult with a GUE representative to verify equipment requirements. Whether or not a piece of equipment fulfills GUE's equipment requirement remains at the discretion of GUE and its instructor representatives. Participants are responsible for providing all equipment or for making provisions to secure all necessary equipment before the start of the course. In general, it is better for the student to learn while using his or her own equipment. However, students should exercise caution before purchasing new equipment to avoid acquiring substandard equipment. Please contact a GUE representative prior to making any purchases. Information about recommended equipment can be obtained from the equipment considerations section of GUE's web site.

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