Gold Line Fund

Gold Line Fund

What is the history of gold line in caves?

Lining caves with gold line was started in response to a fatality that occurred at Peacock Springs in 1989. A dive team was swimming between Orange Grove and Challenge when one of the divers had a primary light failure. By the time the diver got her backup light deployed and turned on, she had drifted off the main line onto a jump line and without realizing her mistake. Her buddy realized the mistake, but was unable to convince her she was on the wrong line. Eventually, he had no choice but to abandon her, or risk certain death himself, and he survived to tell the story of what happened.

One of the conclusions of this accident was that it was determined that if the main line had been more clearly identifiable, she would have realized her mistake and back tracked to the correct line. The solution was to install a Gold colored line along the main trunk of the cave. This practice eventually became a standard in North Florida, and most public caves in the United States have Gold line along the main trunk passages today.

Over a period of years, the lines in cave systems can begin to deteriorate. River reversals bringing debris into the systems, high flow causing lines to brush against sharp walls, and even diver contact from installing and removing jumps can lead to deterioration.

In April 2017, members of the NSS-CDS participated in replacing the gold line in Little River Spring. During the project, several members realized multiple other caves were also in need of gold line. Independent of the work that was done by the NSS-CDS, several volunteers working with staff at Cave Excursions undertook a project to replace the gold line in Telford Springs, which they completed in May 2017.

Because the cost of the preferred kernmantle is roughly $0.18 per foot, in April 2017, the NSS-CDS established a “Gold Line Fund” and raised over $3900 to purchase 20,000 of high quality gold line. The gold line is to be used in the main conduit of caves that are accessible to the cave diving public. Groups that wish to take on the task of maintaining and replacing gold line in a cave can request line from the fund.

Requesting Gold Line

All requests for new gold line provided by the fund should be made to the NSS-CDS Board of Directors. The request can be in the form of an email and should include the following pieces of information:

  1. The cave system that the line will be installed in
  2. The amount of line that you will need
  3. The timeline that the project will span
  4. The project coordinator and his/her contact information

In exchange for granting the gold line, we may request that your project provide a write-up for Underwater Speleology or our web-site.

Cave Systems

The following systems have received gold line that was provided by the Gold Line Fund:

System Location Amount Installation Date
Little River Branford, FL 2000' April 2017
Jackson Blue Marianna, FL 2000' On-going
Manatee Chiefland, FL 3000' October 2017-January 2018
Wet Dream / Nomash River Cave Vancouver Island, BC 3000' August 2018

A Hearty Thank You to Our Sponsors and Donors

The gold line purchase would not have been possible without the generous support of several key Gold Sponsors and several independent donors.

Our Gold Sponsors are Dive Rite, Underwater Light Dude, KISS Rebreathers, Submerge Scooters, Subgravity, Light Monkey, Shearwater Research, and Halcyon.

Our individual donors include Ken Sallot, Forrest Wilson, John Wynkoop, Dave Sederberg, Michael Koonce, JoAn Ferguson, Robert Schulte, Ilya Malaniy, Kihong Park, Charles “Sandy” Robinson, Jacqueline Tregre, Greg Otto, Lee Ann Waggener, David Stearns, Christopher Richardson, Henry Silvia, Luke Alcorn, Sylvester Muller, Tracy Click, Gary Schaut, Kelly Jessop, Zeb Lilly, Renee Power, Al Clements, Adam Hughes, Robert Lourie, Tony Simpson, Brent Booth, Jon and Kristi Bernot