Commercial Diving Equipment: Roles & Learning how to Use It

Commercial Diving Equipment: Roles & Learning how to Use It

Shoes? Check.

Shirt? Check.

Inflation whip? Check.

For most people, there’s only a few things needed to walk out the door in the morning.
But for commercial divers, the checklist of essential accessories is much longer. For a complete outfit, a diver must have his personal gear as well as standard equipment he will use for his jobs.


DIT Dive Student in his Gear.

The most recognizable gear of a diver is his or her suit and helmet.

Training for the Job: Diving Equipment at DIT

To properly train for a commercial diving career, you must be equipped with the right tools. Divers Institute of Technology (DIT) instructors have spent years determining what types of equipment work best for their students.

Some of the main diving equipment includes:

  • Diving suit (dry and wet)


  • Diving helmet


  • Accessories (hard hat, gear bag, flashlight)

So how do you use each of these pieces of equipment? Let’s take a closer look.

Dressed for Success: Wet & Dry Applications of a Diving Suit

According to Raymond “Boy” Kayona, Director of Training at DIT, there are two main types of suits: dry and wet.

“A dry-suit encapsulates the body and therefore doesn’t allow for water entry.” Just as the name implies, it’s meant for keeping the diver dry.

“It is usually sealed at the wrists and neck. This offers more comfort as the diver stays dry, thus allowing for longer times in the water.”

Dry suits are commonly used for their versatility. But they are often cumbersome and expensive. Wet suits may be less versatile, but they are more practical.

“A wet-suit allows water to enter the space between the suit and the diver’s body.  This layer of water is trapped or retained in the suit and is warmed by the divers own body heat.  Wet-suits are effective but may not offer long-term heat retention,” says Boy.

The Experience of Putting on a Diving Helmet

A commercial diver’s helmet is his lifeline; it serves the most important function in diving:


They also provide a line of communication to the surface – almost as important.


The helmet plays a significant role in the life of a diver, but it’s not exactly spacious. It can cause some hesitation for first time users.

“Putting the helmet on is a new experience and of course there is naturally some anxiety among the students. And some students are more claustrophobic than others,” says Boy.

“Our instructors are familiar with this and through experience have developed their own techniques to assist students who may be apprehensive…Instructors coach and assist our students every step of the way through [trying on the hat for the first time], which can be quite nerve racking for the students.”

Certification to Take Your Hat Knowledge to the Next Level

In addition to guided practice, students have the option to undertake a two-day Kirby Morgan hat technician course. This course builds confidence in the diver and increases their marketability by providing more advanced knowledge in helmet maintenance and repair.


Students will be challenged to view a complete helmet schematic and identify all of its parts. They’ll also put together a helmet of their own, applying their knowledge in the most practical way.

Essential Diving Accessories to Accomplish the Job

Ask Boy what the most essential tool is for a diver, he’ll tell you: his head.  A diver must always keep his eyes and ears open, “but not the mouth so much.”

Apart from Boy’s advice on what to carry into the water, many other tools become indispensable to divers in their jobs.

When it comes to dive projects, understanding of diving accessories is crucial for a safe, efficient job well done. Once you’ve finished the DIT program, you’ll have mastered the use of these types of equipment (among others):


Safety Harness/Snap Shackle: Similar to topside construction, these harnesses keep divers secure in situations where they can’t get back to safety under their own control. The line is connected to the surface team.

Safety Glasses, Boots, Gloves & Hard Hat: Workers are protected from dangerous debris and falling objects while working topside.

Project Versatility


Lead Weights & Weight Belt: To properly control depth, commercial divers use weights to help control their buoyancy  up or down through the water. This is especially helpful when working on vertical objects like pipelines.

Dive Knife: Dive knives are akin to a five-in-one for construction workers. Whether you need to chip away at an object or cut a line loose that’s hanging up a fellow diver, no one leaves home without one.

Underwater Flashlight: Because of the limited visibility that divers often face, underwater flashlights illuminate project areas for detail work. They also help divers navigating to a project point or even signaling to the surface team if their helmet communications fail.

Where Maintenance & Application Combine


Commercial diving gear equips divers to successfully take on projects with the endurance and agility that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. It’s also crucial that divers learn how to maintain each of their equipment pieces to prolong their investment.

DIT provides the perfect place to learn both application and maintenance.

Beth Smith, staff writer at Water Welders


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