Inland Diving: Another Angle

Inland Diving: Another Angle

Offshore or Inland. Where would you prefer to dive?

Inland commercial diving is often overshadowed by the offshore world. Divers sometimes interpret the offshore jobs as wide open opportunities, limitless salaries and waves of adventure.


DIT Grad, Instructor, & Inland Diver Britt Coates conducting a bridge inspection cycle in Ohio.

But lakes, rivers and marine facilities can take divers just as far in their careers. Let’s look at inland diving perceptions more closely.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Many responsibilities within commercial diving require heavy physical labor, similar to factory blue collar jobs.

Inland diving is primarily recognized for its fields of HAZMAT, salvage, underwater construction, and various forms of inspections related to all facets of infrastructure. This type of work is not only labor intensive, but requires extra precaution for safety and mechanical aptitude.

Some make a career out of inland diving jobs like these.

But there’s a wider variety of positions to choose from if you have inland diving experience. Divers Institute of Technology (DIT) Instructor Britt Coates describes these jobs:


DIT Grad, Instructor, and Inland Diver Britt Coates

“These types of inspection jobs are generally well paying, are not labor intensive and are great careers.”

These “other” positions involve:

  • Less physical labor
  • Higher education (often in engineering)
  • Additional certifications
  • Maritime experience

Moving into positions with less physical labor can make a big difference in how long you stay in the industry. Hard labor takes a toll on your body, and most move into a desk job long before retirement.

Top 5 Alternative Inland Diving Jobs

“When there are structures such as bridges and culverts that exist, they have to be periodically maintained and inspected,” Britt says. “Many construction firms have an inspections facet to their institution and can provide a quality career in the diving industry without being as highly labor intensive as offshore diving.”


Photo Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers photo by Jon Fleshman

1. Technical Inspector

As a technical inspector, you will examine structures and systems, making sure that they are “up to snuff” with current standards in environmental, mechanical and safety. Detail-oriented workers often thrive in these positions.

You will work closely with technicians and project managers. As someone with commercial diving experience, you may find employment in fields like non-destructive testing, civil engineering and marine vessel computer systems.

2. Material Inspector

Like the technical inspector, attention to detail is vital in your work. You’ll be brought in to check materials or finished products to determine the quality through scientific examination. You might take samples of metal, dirt or water. If you’re assigned to a specific project like a road or vehicle, you’ll continue testing it until its completion to assure it meets regulatory standards.

Commercial diving experience plays a role in your experience of boat, water and marine materials.

3. Bridge Engineer

Civil engineers work in many parts of the industry. But if you have professional diving experience, bridges and dams are a natural fit for your experience. As a bridge engineer, your responsibilities lie with helping design, build and manage the structural integrity of bridges. Like divers, you’ll be doing a decent amount of traveling to meet with project managers, contractors and business associates in related fields.

Pay is high, but so is the required education and management experience of someone in this position.

4. Water Quality/Environmental Specialist

As someone who’s spent a good chunk of your time in liquid already, commercial divers understand water. But you’ll do much of your work on dry land: Testing substances for pollution, studying environment regulation laws and preparing reports for the businesses you work for.

As the environmental awareness continues to develop, the demand for positions of this type will continue to increase.

5. Construction Inspector

Buildings, highways, railways, bridges, oil wells, you may be hired to examine a multitude of construction projects. Construction inspectors look closely at structural integrity, building foundations and safety compliance.

Inspectors with diving experience already have a good understanding of the marine structures. You’ll be more equipped to focus on factors like water erosion and the effects of saltwater on structures.

Training, then Experience

Before jumping into these positions, make sure you’ve gone through proper inland diving training through Divers Institute of Technology’s course. It will put you on the right track for maritime career development and advancement.
Written for DIT by Matt Smith, Creator of Water Welders.

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