Sidemount Diving for the Overhead Environment

While cave diving has traditionally been taught mostly with back mounted double tanks (doubles), we have found that diving in sidemount configuration can improve some of the logistics of cave diving. For instance, navigating the varied terrain around cave entrances is often simpler with one tank at a time versus back mounted doubles. Once in the water, many people also prefer the additional feeling of freedom and the redundancy in their gas supply. We use a DIR-like standard configuration, which makes switching from back mount fairly easy and facilitates procedures for mixed teams.   

Side mounted tanks are independent, which allows for true gas redundancy. This can reduce stress should one tank malfunction under water. With the tanks by your side, it is also much easier to visually assess the problem. The Sidemount for the Overhead Environment course is designed for students who are already Cave Divers. In this course, we explain the proper gear configuration and help you adjust your gear so it fits correctly. We also cover the complexities of diving in a mixed team, that is, one diver in a sidemount configuration and one diver in doubles. Divers learn how to deal with emergencies, no matter what the team’s gear configuration. The class can also be taught in conjunction with the Cavern, Intro to Cave or Cave Diver class for people who prefer to dive sidemount right from the start of their overhead diving career. We are extremely passionate about this discipline as around 90% of the open circuit diving we do is done in Sidemount. Our years of experience diving sidemount led us to become involved in the design and production of different pieces of equipment that make sidemount diving easier. Of course, our international dive experience allows us to answer any questions you have about using this configuration, no matter where your diving takes you. You are welcome to use any sidemount configuration you prefer, however, we recommend the will gladly let you use one of ours, free of charge, during your training.

Certification for this course is offered through PSAI Mexico. This course takes a minimum of 4 days to complete and is available to all Cave Divers or those with an equivalent certification. Alternatively can be combined with any of our cave diving courses.

Course Content Includes:

  • The history of sidemount diving
  • How is sidemount applicable to cave diving?
  • Psychological aspects of diving sidemount in the overhead environment
  • Emergency procedures and procedures
  • Understanding your configuration and reacting to gas failures
  • Gas sharing within the team 
  • Various cave related skills including zero visibility exits


Want to learn more about our services? Here are some Frequently Asked Questions.

ProTec offers various certification combinations to help you reach your cave diving goals. Check out our cave diver Training Tracks to help you plan your trip.


“Great training and dive guidance. Highly recommend them for sidemount training.”

Eric N.