The high of having completed the commercial diving course is often mixed with a childlike wonder as to where you might end up working. As a fully-qualified commercial diver, the world is truly your oyster.
Commercial divers can end up working literally anywhere. Destinations range from right here in the United States to the rather chilly climates of Alaska.
The world depends on commercial divers to do everything from keeping oil rigs running in the Gulf of Mexico to building boat ramps in Alaska to inspecting the underside of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Divers are never at a loss for jobs to choose from and stunning new locations to dive.
Let’s take a look at some of the top locations in the U.S where divers can end up working.
The Gulf Of Mexico
With a huge amount of the United States’ gas and oil coming from offshore rigs, it’s no surprise that commercial divers are in high demand in the Gulf of Mexico.
The vast majority of work in the Gulf of Mexico is offshore diving. The difference between offshore and inshore diving is simply that the term “offshore” relates to diving work is done outside of national boundaries.
This term generally refers to deep sea diving platforms such as those found in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea.
Oil Rigs and Refineries
Working on a platform in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore divers are required to perform maintenance-related work such as welding, pipeline repair, and oil rig inspections.
This work is not only some of the most varied divers can expect to do, but can also be the most challenging. One such example is saturation diving.
This form of diving, where divers are required to work at depths of over 50m or 150ft for long periods of time, requires divers to remain in the same pressure environment even when they are not working.
As such, divers must live in pressure chambers to ensure their body tissues remain “saturated”. It is dangerous but extremely rewarding work, both financially and personally.
Saturation divers are considered the elite of commercial divers. In 2015, there were 3,300 commercial divers working in the United States in 2015, just 336 of them were saturation divers.
As the renewable energy sector gathers pace, more and more divers are being drafted to help install and maintain offshore wind farms.
A Growing Location for A Growing Industry
California is one of the regions where the demand for commercial divers is steadily growing. While it does not yet rival the Gulf of Mexico, the state has the 4th highest level of employment for divers in the continental United States.
Companies such as Underwater Resources Inc. use commercial divers to offer a full range of marine construction services that include coastal construction, underwater inspection, infrastructure repair, pipeline inspection, industrial plant repair and non-destructive testing.
Washington State is home to one of the nation’s top diving schools, The Divers Institute of Technology, which is based in Seattle. Strategically placed, the school in placed in a state which employs a number of former commercial divers as trainers to help the next generations of commercial divers.
Trainee to Trainer And Onshore Diving
Divers employed in the chillier waters of Washington State will mostly find themselves working as onshore divers.
Tasks are very similar to those divers perform in California State, including working on projects such as the Seattle Port expansion. This project involves expanding Seattle’s Terminal 5 to make it “big ship ready”.
The Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are one of the most popular diving spots in the nation. The reason for this is relatively constant dive conditions and the large number of shipwrecks and underwater animals.
Ports and Shipwrecks
In fact, a number of recent articles claim that Michigan’s Great Lakes offer ‘the best shipwreck diving in the world.’ With over 400 years of wrecks to be found at reasonably shallow depths, the
Great Lakes are a Mecca for divers.
Commercial divers undertake frequent salvage operations in the lakes to recover those unfortunate vessels that have fallen foul of poor luck.
They also find work repairing ports and jetties that are a vital part of some of the busiest waterways in the world. Without these unsung heroes, many of the lake’s remote communities would be isolated from the outside world.
The idea of diving in the sub-zero waters of Alaska might not be everyone’s idea of a great job, but thanks to modern advancements in diving equipment that includes the hot suit, an outfit that allows hot water to be pumped through it to keep divers warm, working here is much more comfortable.
Oil and Scientific Research
With the largest amount of untapped oil and gas reserves in the country, the need for commercial divers in Alaska is only going to grow in years to come.
Another area where commercial divers are essential is in scientific research. Alaska Commercial Divers Inc. is one of the companies working to support the maritime and scientific industries by undertaking everything from vessel repair to underwater environmental surveys.
No Time Like The Present
The United States has one of the healthiest commercial diving industries in the world.
New graduates can expect to find steady employment without even having to venture too far from home. With so many job opportunities, and such great pay, there has never been a better time to become a commercial diver.
Aran Davis, Writer for Water Welders
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