GUE Fundamentals

What is it?

The GUE Fundamentals course is designed to cultivate the essential skills required by all sound diving practice, irrespective of level or environment. GUE Fundamentals is a superb introduction to GUE diving and performs a three-fold function...

  • Provides the recreational diver, who does not desire further diver training, with an opportunity to advance his/her basic diving skills, thereby developing more comfort, confidence, and competence in the water.

  • Provides the diver with aspirations of more advanced diver training with the tools that will contribute to a greater likelihood of success.

  • Provides non-GUE trained divers with a gateway to GUE training. Covering advanced buoyancy and trim, kicks, problem resolution, basic self resue and team resuce techniques, basic decompression management, gas planning and nitrox, GUE Fundamentals acts as a stand alone tune up for the experienced technical diver or an introduction to technical diing for someone wishing to move to the deeper or overhead realm.


GUE Fundamentals in depth


  1. Must be a minimum of 16 years of age
  2. Must be a certified open water diver from a recognized training agency


The GUE Fundamentals class must be conducted over at least four full days, encompassing both classroom and in-water work. Classes in which the student-to-instructor ratio (both in water and surface) does not exceed 3:1 may be conducted in no fewer than three full days. Course requirements include a minimum of ten hours of academics and five in-water sessions; at least two of these dives must include a depth of at least 25 feet / 8 meters.

 Course Limits

  1. Student-to-instructor ratio is not to exceed 4:1 during any in-water training and should be adjusted downward to account for bad conditions and/or poor visibility
  2. Maximum depth 60 feet/18 meters
  3. No decompression
  4. No overhead environment diving

Course Content

Combining lecture and in-water sessions, this course focuses on cultivating the basic skills required for all sound diving practice. It is focused on increasing diving fun by reducing stress and increasing diver proficiency through proper control of buoyancy, trim, propulsion, teamwork, and other GUE principles. Course requirements include a minimum of ten hours of academics and five in-water sessions; at least two of these dives must include a depth of at least 25 feet.

 Required Training Materials

•               Doing it Right: The Fundamentals of Better Diving. Jarrod Jablonski, GUE, 2001, High Springs, Florida

•               GUE Fundamentals Workbook.





Academic Topics

  1. GUE organization
  2. Why GUE Fundamentals?
  3. Diving proficiency
  4. Buoyancy and trim
  5. Streamlining and equipment configuration
  6. Propulsion techniques
  7. Situational awareness
  8. Communication
  9. Breathing gas overview
  10. Dive planning and gas management
  11. Diver preparedness

Land Drills and Topics

  1. Dive team protocols
  2. S-drill and valve-drill
  3. Equipment fit and function
  4. Propulsion techniques
  5. Pre-dive drills
  6. Surface marker deployment
  7. Unconscious diver recovery

Required Dive Skills and Drills

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in safe diving techniques; this would include pre-dive preparations, inwater activity and post-dive assessment
  2. Must be able to swim at least 300 yards/275 meters in under fourteen minutes without stopping. This test should be conducted in a swimsuit and, where necessary, appropriate thermal protection
  3. Must be able to swim a distance of at least 16 yards/15 meters on a breath hold
  4. Demonstrate awareness of team-member locationa dna a concern for safety, responding quickly to visual cues and dive-partner needs.
  5. Efficiently and comfortably demonstrate how to donate gas to an out-of-gas diver
  6. Efficiently and comfortably demonstrate how to donate gas to an out-of-gas diver, followed by an ascent to the surface, utilizing minimum decompression. 
  7. Comfortable demonstrate at least three propulsion techniques that would be appropriate in delicate and/or silty environments; students should demonstrate comprehensions of the components necessary for a successful backward kick.
  8. Demonstrate a safe and responsible demeanor throughout all training.
  9. Demonstrate proficiency in the ability to deploy a surface marker while using a spool.
  10. Demonstrate proficiency in underwater communication.
  11. Demonstrate basic equipment proficiency and an understanding of the GUE equipment configuration.
  12. Demonstrate dive-rescue techniques, including effective managment of an unconscious diver. Differencs between the management of an unconscious diver and a convulsing diver should be noted.
  13. Demonstrate a comfortable demeanor while swimming without a mask, in touch contact.
  14. Demonstrate good buoyancy and trim, i.e. approximate reference maximum 30 degrees off horizontal while remaining within 5ft/1.5m of the target depth. Frequency of buoyancy variation and the divers control of their buoyancy and trim are important evaluation criteria
  15. Demonstrate proficiency in executing a valve drill with double tanks
  16. Demonstrate aptitute in the following open-water skills: mask clearing, mask removal and replacement, regulator removal and exchange, long-hose deployment.
  17. Demonstrate safe ascent and descent procedures
  18. Demonstrate proficiency in excuting a valve drill.
  19. Demonstrate proficiency with a primary light by using it during all skills except SMB deployment*
  20. Demonstrate efficient deployment and stowage of a backup light.*
  21. Demonstrate an efficient valve drill with double tanks.*
  22. Comfortably demonstrate an efficient backwards kick.*
  23. Demonstrate good buoyancy and trim, i.e.approximate reference maximum 20 degrees off horizontal while remaining within 3ft/1m of the target depth. Frequency of buoyancy variation and the divers control of their buoyancy and trim are important evaluation criteria.*

* Skills 19-23 apply only to students seeking admittance into Tech of Cave training. These students must perform all skills, including 19-23, at a grade 4 or higher to qualify for registration to the Cave or Tech curriculum.

 Equipment Requirements

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

  1. Tanks/Cylinders: Students may use a single tank cylinder with a K-, H-, or Y-valve. Students many also use dual tanks/cylinders connected with a dual-outlet isolator manifold, which allows for the use of two first-stages.
  2. Regulators: One of the second-stages must be on a 5-to7-foot/1.5- 2-meter hose. One of the first stages must supply a pressure gauge and provide inflation for a dry suit (where applicable)
  3. Backplate System: A rigid and flat platform of metal construction with minimum padding, held to a diver by one continuous piece of webbing. This webbing should be adjusted 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 prevents the system from riding up on the divers back. A knife should be placed on the left webbing tab. This webbing should support fir D-rings; the first should be placed on the left hi, the second should be placed in line with the divers right collar bone, the third should be placed in line with the divers left collar bone, the fourth and firth 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 lights. 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 be free of extraneous strings, tabs, or other material. There should be no restrictive bands or "bungee" or any sort affixed to the buoyancy cell. In addition, diver lift would not exceed 50 lbs /25Kg for a single tank and 80 lbs / 40 Kg for double tanks. Wing size and shape should be appropriate to the cylinder size(s) employed for training.
  5. At least one time/depth-measuring device
  6. Mask and fins: Mask should be low-volume; fins should be rigid, non-split
  7. At least one cutting device
  8. Wet Notes
  9. One spool with 100 feet/30 meters of line per diver
  10. At least one surface-marker buoy per diver
  11. Exposure suite appripriate for the duration of exposure
  12. Double cylinders with isolation manifold, and appropriately sized double-tank buoyancy compensation device*
  13. One primary light: A primary light should be minimalist in design; it's 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 or greater.*
  14. Two reserve lights: Reserve lights should be powered by two or three in-line non-rechargeable c-cell batteries, with a minimum of protrusions and a single attachment at its rear. The light should be activated and de-activated by twisting the front bezel. *

*Required equipment 12 through 14 applies only to students seeking admittance into Tech or Cave training.

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 the use of 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.