Diepolder III USA

Nestled within the serene landscape of Hernando County, Florida, Diepolder II and Diepolder III caves are captivating subterranean wonders waiting to be explored. Let’s delve into their fascinating history and the guidelines for safe and responsible cave diving.

  • Region: Florida
  • Coordinates: 28.522171, -82.528964
  • Depth: 300 ft
  • Remarks: Guided
  • Type: Cave

A Gift to the Boy Scouts

These remarkable caves are situated on the Sand Hill Ranch Scout Reservation, generously donated to the Boy Scouts after the passing of the Diepolder family in the 1970s.

Pioneering Speleological Research

The Florida Speleological Researcher’s (FSR) program was established under the stewardship of the Boy Scouts. Today, it stands as the oldest working guide program of its kind, dedicated to cave exploration and safety.

Safety and Respect: Core Principles

Guidelines developed by FSR prioritize safety, respect for the caves and property, and courtesy to the landowner. These principles form the bedrock of responsible cave diving in the Diepolder systems.

Unique Submerged Caves

Diepolder II boasts the title of being the deepest cave in the continental United States, and the submerged caves within this system are among the most unique in the Western Hemisphere.

Experienced Leadership

FSR Directors are chosen from Florida’s most active and experienced deep cave divers, ensuring responsible leadership for all qualified members.

Regulations for Diving

To ensure safety and competence, specific regulations are in place for diving in these caves:

  • Full cave training is mandatory, recognized through NACD or NSS-CDS.
  • Proof of 100 cave dives is required.
  • Trimix gas dives necessitate appropriate certification.
  • Membership in FSR, Inc. is essential.

Guided Dives and Ratios

For Sink #3, a single guide can accompany no more than three guests. To meet this ratio, at least one guest must have a minimum of five visits to Sink #3.

Prior to diving in Sink #2, a minimum of three dives in Sink #3 is required. In Sink #2, a single guide can accompany no more than two guests, with one guest having at least five prior Sink #2 dives.

A Legacy of Exploration

Diepolder’s history is rich with exploration milestones:

  • Diepolder II reaches a max depth of approximately 365 feet.
  • Diepolder III plunges to a max depth of around 300 feet.
  • Dale Sweet’s pioneering dive in 1979 marked the first mixed gas exploration of a Florida cave.
  • Sheck Exley followed in 1980, using compressed air.
  • Bill Gavin and Lamar English dived with mixed gas in 1987.
  • Early guides included legends like Sheck Exley, Dale Sweet, Bill Main, Steve Stratsma, Bill Gavin, and Vaughn Maxwell.

Discover the Depths of Diepolder

Explore the depths and mysteries of Diepolder II and Diepolder III, guided by a legacy of experienced divers who have left their mark on these remarkable caves.

Diepolder III Diving Deaths

Tragic Incident at Diepolder 3 Cave: Loss of Diver Keith Hendricks


How Deep is Diepolder III Cave?

Diepolder III Cave reaches a maximum depth of approximately 300 feet.

What is the Water Temperature Inside Diepolder III Cave?

The water temperature within Diepolder III Cave typically ranges between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 degrees Celsius).

Are Guided Dives Available for Diepolder III Cave?

Yes, guided dives are available for qualified divers interested in exploring Diepolder III Cave through the Florida Speleological Researcher’s (FSR) program.

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