Commercial diving is a term used to define underwater industrial construction. The training required for a commercial diving career is challenging, the demand for qualified
is intense, and the lifestyle this career delivers is exciting.
The basic requirements for becoming a commercial diver include a high school diploma or equivalency, applicants must be 18 years of age and proficient in English, reading and writing. Applicants are also required to pass a diving physical and obtain a TWIC card. An ideal candidate should have good swimming skills, and a mechanical sense. Previous experience with welding is not required. Previous underwater diving experience is also not required, but it is helpful.
Demand for Commercial Divers
Commercial diving is a growth industry. There is growing demand for commercial diving jobs in the United States to maintain and repair hurricane damage to oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, inspect and repair of bridges in both fresh water and open water, and many other infrastructure projects that can no longer be deferred. International demand for commercial diving is on the rise as well.
Starting Pay for Commercial Divers
The starting annual pay for a commercial diver is estimated to be in the $40,000 to $60,000 range, and as of May 2011 the median hourly wage was $25.26 and the median annual wage was estimated at $52,550. As a diver gains experience, some can expect to see wages closer to the $90,000 to $100,000 mark.
What is the job like?
A commercial diving career is often physically demanding. A diver can expect to be out at sea working for anywhere from two to six weeks at a time, and probably working at least 10-hour days.
Types of Jobs
As for career planning, employment for commercial divers can be found in a variety of industries including shipping, oil, power and construction companies and in settings like drilling rigs, oil refineries, power plants, bridges, and more.
After graduation from commercial diving school, some of the specific jobs that commercial divers may perform include:
- Bridge inspection, construction and repair
- Flotation devices maintenance
- Gravity surveying
- Guideline replacement
- Hyperbaric chamber operations
- Injection equipment installation
- Life-support systems construction, operation, repair and maintenance
- Marine environment control check
- Medical and emergency care for diving illnesses and accidents
- Operation of remotely operated vehicles (ROV)
- Operation of diving bells
- Platform construction, inspection, maintenance and removal
- Rock drilling and blasting
- Underwater Salvage
- Search and recovery
- Seismic surveying
- Sewage line installation and maintenance
- Site surveys prior to installation
- Submersible operations
- Surface geological appraisal
- Trenching or underwater jetting
- Underwater inspection, installation, repair or maintenance
- Underwater painting
- Underwater photography or videography
- Underwater surveys
- Underwater welding and cutting
- Water line installation, inspection, repair or maintenance
- Wellhead repair and maintenance
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Source: Getting In Deep: Considering a Career in Commercial Diving
By Robert N. Rossier
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