What is sidemount ?

Sidemount diver and Instructor Training with Mathew Partridge

I first tried a basic sidemount configuration back when I was at high school in the early 90’s during some fun dry caving I used to do down in Wooky and Cheddar caves in the UK. This consisted of a webbed harness a small pony tank and my drysuit, I had no idea back then how it would grow to become such a fashionable way to dive as it is today.

For me sidemount diving has its application in restricted spaces and is not the best tool for all kinds of diving, It may be transporting logistics to the dive site is a problem or penetration into a wreck or cave requires the ability to remove cylinders to pass, then sidemount application is certainly the way forward. Divers looking to transition to sidemount may wish to just dive this way in open environments and take a basic recreational certification to learn the very basics of sidemount diving, this however is not the training I provide. I specialize in cave and wreck diving therefore believe in training the skills and mindset required for safe overhead penetration in sidemount.

It is possible to take certification as a technical diver or cave diver in sidemount configuration, divers are required to have the foundational skills mastered prior to entering such a training program, its not a good idea to still be messing around setting up your system and learning to cave dive at the same time. There are lots of need to know’s and nice to know points to effectively diving sidemount, time spent correctly adjusting the harness for good fit and setting up the cylinders and configuring the regulators are coved in a good basic sidemount class, basic skills like removing and replacing the cylinders, switching regulators and dealing with basic failures should all be squared away prior to enrolling into an overhead class.

The mindset of a cave/sidemount diver may often be a solo diving one as being in tight spaces may render a buddy useless in certain situations, that said I still personally teach team diving in combination to maximize safety were possibly and enhance the enjoyment of diving in teams.

I have over 15 years of wreck and cave diving experience, in my classes I can draw from this in teaching a real life program designed with progressive skills sets and mentoring a thinking diver approach to cave and wreck diving using sidemount techniques. My classes are demanding and requires a high level of proficiency from each candidate to meet the program standards, certification is not going to save your life inside the cave so be rest assured the content and skill sets go way beyond the agency specific standards.

If your interested in becoming cave wreck trained using sidemount and would like to find out more about my classes please do not hesitate to contact me. info@tech-ccr.com








This course provides the training required to allow candidates to competently and safely use sidmounted tanks to execute none overhead dives to a maximum depth of 45m. The course follows the advanced nitrox outline. The objective of this course is to train candidates in the proper techniques, equipment requirements and hazards involved in Sidemount diving for recreational and technical scuba. This course is run over 3 full days including academic presentations, equipment configuration workshops, 4 training dives and a final exam.

Student Prerequisites:

  • Minimum age of 18, basic Nitrox diver, 25 logged open water dives.

Download the full TDI Sidemount Course as pdf Document






This course is split into three levels, Cavern, Intro to Cave and Full Cave.

Each level builds progressively on the previous class. The objective of this course is to train candidates in the proper procedures needed for the preparation and execution of cave dives using a sidmount configuration. Cavern sidemount takes 3 full days, Intro Cave sidemount takes also 3 full days. The full cave diver sidemount class takes 5 full days. Levels can be combined depending on divers ability. All clases include accademic sessions, land and cave equipment workshops and overhead dives and an end exam. mastery of the techniques required for each level of diving are required prior to certification at each level.

Student Prerequisites :

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Show proof of 25 dives for Cavern and Intro Cave and 50 dives for the Full Cave class.
  • Each level must be completed prior to progression onto the next but divers may choose to combine all three in order to become a fully certified cave diver.

Download the full TDI Cave Sidemount Course as pdf Document




This course enables the successful candidate

to engage in Advanced Wreck penetration dives using a sidemount configuration. The objective of this course is to train candidates in the proper procedures required to plan and execute these types of dives with a margin of safety. This course is generally run over 4-5 full days and includes 6 wreck dives.

Student Prerequisites :

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Show proof of certification of Advanced Open water diver with 50 dives.
  • Provide proof of certification as a basic Wreck or Cavern diver from a recognized agency

Download the full TDI Advanced Wreck Sidemount as pdf Document