Day 3 - The third day consists of more dry runs and 3 critical skills dives with complex failures centered around managing failures while maintaining line awareness.  The dives will be followed by video debriefing and the review of the test. 


All classes are video'd for educational review, as we believe this is invaluable for students to visually focus on their individual in-water skills, situational awareness, communication, and team diving. Learning to self evaluate is an important aspect of any class, and video is one of the most important tools we have for instruction. 

You will be evaluated during the class to obtain the UTD Overhead Protocols certification. This certification will allow you to enter the UTD Cave 1 or Wreck 1 curriculum.

Our focus is the complete dedication to your diving skills, knowledge & in water practice.

To help prepare for the rigors ahead, contact us


Minimum 18 years of age

UTD Essentials, Essentials of Tech or Essentials of Overhead or equivalent and UTD Rescue & Emergency Procedures or equivalent

A minimum of 75 dives beyond open water qualification

Overview/Course limits

Maximum depth is 60’.  Average depth 20 - 30'

All dives are to maintain a working PO2 of no greater than 1.4

Standard gas is Nitrox 32%

Double tank configuration

No overhead environments

Instructor to student ratio maximum 6:1 in open water, during land drill, surface exercises and Experience Dives but 3:1 during any direct in-water critical skills training.


Complete the UTD academic materials (online or book)

All UTD classes are non-smoking

The use of prescription drugs must be authorized prior to the onset of diver training by a physician

Must be able to swim a distance of at least 50 feet/15 meters on a breath hold

Must be able to swim at least 300 yards/275 meters in less than 14 minutes without stopping

All participants must tow a diver in full equipment, in the environment they will be diving in at least 400 yards in 16 minutes

All participants must demonstrate a rescue of a diver simulating oxygen toxicity

Recommended Reading

Basic Cave Diving, a Blueprint for Survival - Sheck Exley

Cave Diving Communications - Joe Prosser and H.V. Grey

Required Equipment UTD Technical Equipment Configuration

See our Equipment Requirements Page

Rentals are available for most equipment. If you have any questions on equipment requirements or rentals, please contact us prior to registering.


Day 1 - Typically we begin with a 3 - 4 hour initial session consisting of introductions, and dry runs of the skills and some practice before entering the water. Skills include line laying & retrieval, valve failures, out of gas procedures and team positioning.  Students then have 3 dives putting these skills and concepts into practice.  We conclude with a video review and a few more hours of lecture focusing on gas planning & management, decompression and contingencies.

Day 2 - The second day is much the same as the first, including dry runs on land focusing on line following, navigation, touch contact procedures, broken line, lost line and lost teammate procedures, 3 more dives, video review and more lecture.

This class is designed for those individuals who want to learn by doing, not just thinking. With an emphasis on practical, in-water training through development and simulation dives as well as experience dives, where the divers will plan, perform and execute their own technical dives under the supervision of the instructor, this class builds safe, competent and skilled divers.

For those intimidated by or wanting a better understanding of the monster of decompression, we start at the very beginning and work slowly and carefully to our present understanding.

The end result?  Competent and knowledgeable tech divers who understand how to properly plan and perform technical dives in their range of training using helitrox 25/25 and 100% oxygen for accelerated decompression using ratio deco.

Overhead Protocols is the first half of the UTD Cave 1 and/or Wreck 1 curriculum.  By separating these courses into smaller blocks the class offers 2 benefits to the student.

First, it allows them to take the first half of their cave or wreck training at home, freeing up time on their vacation to enjoy their own non-class dives as well as gaining experience.  

Second, it allows them to learn these new skills in a building block fashion, giving them time to absorb the new knowledge and practice the new skills in a non-overhead environment at their own pace.

This building block method introduces the student to line laying, line retrieval, no-visibility line following and touch contact communication & skills as well as critical skills while line following.  It also introduces protocols for line failures such as lost line, broken line, lost teammate, line entanglement and loss of visibility.  Once these skills are learned, simulated failures are then introduced while on the line.  These failures are similar in intensity and complexity to technical training, but are complicated by the necessity of staying on the line and simulating the need to navigate back to open water.

Completion of this class qualifies the diver to enter the UTD Cave 1 and/or Wreck 1 course, each of which is a 3 day class and is taught in an actual overhead environment.  Overhead Protocols can be combined with Cave 1 or Wreck 1 into a single 5 day class.

This is a critical skills class. Failures will be introduced by the instructor to facilitate problem identification and resolution and building capacity and bandwidth for more progressively challenging diving.

Completion of this class does NOT certify the student to enter an overhead environment.

Who is this class designed for?

This class is designed to prepare the diver for Cave 1 or Wreck 1 in a non-overhead learning environment.  By learning the essential protocols in a non-overhead environment, the student is able to focus on the skills without the added stress of being in an overhead. It teaches how to safely dive in an overhead environment as a team, and manage failures as a team.  It creates confidence in emergency procedures and problem management and the ability to begin their training in an actual overhead environment.

This class is designed for those individuals who want to learn by doing.  With an emphasis on practical, in-water training through development and simulation dives, this class builds safe, competent and skilled divers who are prepared to begin training in an overhead environment.

Why this class?

Diving in an overhead environment requires proper training, a heightened sense of awareness and in-water comfort.


It also requires the diver to be proficient with the protocols necessary to minimize risks and ensure a safe and enjoyable diving experience for the entire team.

This class allows the diver to learn the essential skills, protocols and procedures required for safe diving in an overhead environment prior to training in an actual overhead and without the time constraints that typically accompany overhead environment training due to travel or vacation plans.

The Overhead Protocols course enables the student to take the first half of their Cave 1 or Wreck 1 training in their local geographical area where they can then practice and become proficient with their newly learned skills prior to beginning their actual wreck or cave training.

This benefits the student in two ways.  First, by breaking their training into two smaller portions, the students have the advantage of being able to practice their newly learned skills on their own time prior to their actual overhead training.  When the students are ready to start their overhead training, they already have the basic foundation and are better prepared, allowing them to focus and concentrate on learning to dive in the overhead.  Second, it decreases the training time required for the actual overhead training, allowing the student to enjoy their own non-training dives while gaining their own ever-important experience.

Class Information

This class is structured around 3 days, and involves a minimum of 8 hours of classroom instruction and 9 dives. This class is designed to provide a working knowledge of the essential procedures, protocols and skills necessary to enter training in an overhead environment including line laying, line retrieval, no-visibility line following, touch contact communication & skills, line failures such as lost line and broken line and lost teammate procedures.