Bahamas Underground

Bahamas Technical and Cave Diving Adventure and Training Facility



Side Mount Diver in the amazing Crystal Caves of Abco Island. Photo by Brian Kakuk

Side mount diving configurations and techniques are fast becoming recognized as an accepted and safe mode of diving in underwater caves as well as open water environments.  Manufacturers are now supplying off-the-shelf harness and buoyancy devices that allow divers to take advantage of years of in- water testing and modifications.  These systems are comfortable, safe and allow the diver to move into side mounting without having to go through the extensive “tweaking” process that was required in the design process.

About your instructor

Though the use of side mount diving configurations for cave diving, technical diving and open water diving has seen a surge in the last 5 years or so, your instructor, Brian Kakuk has been using side mount diving configurations almost exclusively since 1990 for its original intention….. cave exploration.  Brian has written training manuals for IANTD and co-authored the first book ever written on the side mount configuration Side Mount Profiles by Brian Kakuk and Jill Heinerth.  Brian’s expertise is sought after by various manufacturers for evaluation and input on new side mount systems coming to market and has been asked by several training agencies for assistance in developing their side mount diving training standards.  Check out Brian’s bio on the Bahamas Underground ABOUT US page.

Brian Kakuk

Check out the Youtube link below to view
Brian's ideas on side mount regulator routing.

Diver doing a single tank side mount restriction in the Crystal Caves of Abaco

Side mount diving allows the diver many advantages over standard back mounting configuration.  The ease of transporting single cylinders to and from the dive site saves the divers back, knees and ankles from lugging heavy loads, long distances.  It also enables the diver to configure for cave diving in nearly any location in the world where scuba diving activities are conducted by allowing for use with standard aluminum cylinders. However the original rational behind the use of side mounted cylinders stems from the explorers ability to move through smaller cave passages in order to find more cave.

Most cave diving training agencies have realized the need for formal training guidelines in this area and have created curriculums that provide divers with the information and instructional expertise that allow divers to safely venture into the use of side mounts both as an advanced form of cave diving as well as a safe and redundant configuration for the new cave diver. 

Stage diving with side mounts in the Crystal Caves of Abaco
Brian Kakuk in "the well" on Mayaguana Island, The Bahamas Photo by Brett Gonzalez

Side mount configurations can be used by students in their cavern through full cave courses as their primary configuration (if the student commits to completing all levels of training in this configuration).  This does not qualify them as a Side Mount Diver in the sense of advanced exploration techniques.  The student will only receive a Cave Diver certification, and not a Side Mount Diver certification. 

If the diver wishes to use this configuration to it’s full capabilities, then a Side Mount Diver course can only be taken after 50 non-training cave dives have been completed (for previosly trained cave divers).  The Side Mount Diver course allows the diver to move on to the more advanced techniques including in-water cylinder removals, negotiating restrictions and gas management considerations for a truly independent cylinder configuration. 

Diver in a no-mount restriction. Photo by Paul Heinerth

The Bahamas Underground teaches Side Mount Diver courses and basic cave training in side mount configurations through the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers ( IANTD), the National Association of Cave Divers ( NACD) and the National Speleological Society – Cave Diving Section ( NSS-CDS ).  We also teach a Basic Side Mount Diver course for the Razor II Side Mount System through Go Sidemount. 

The underwater caves of the Bahamas are usually either quite decorated with fragile crystal formations, or have areas of breakdown or fractures that lead to larger passages beyond. Both of these types of caves lend well to the side mount system, so The Bahamas Underground specializes in Side Mount and No Mount diving techniques.  For cave conservation, training is conducted as either private courses or two person buddy teams only.  No group courses over 2 divers.

If you are interested in learning to cave dive in side mount configuration or would like to move into side mount as an advanced form of diving, contact Brian Kakuk at the Bahamas Underground or click HERE for schedules and pricing.


Phone: (242) 359-6128

There's no better place to learn side mount diving than the Bahamas