SCUBA diving jobs and commercial diving jobs are very different. As a professional SCUBA diver, for example, you work in the recreational diving industry, helping students and tourists learn the skill. In commercial diving, however, you deal with challenging and demanding underwater jobs. After you are properly trained and certified at an accredited professional commercial diving school, your career can begin. Each type of commercial diving requires a unique set of skills. Additionally, each industry offers different benefits and risks, salaries, certifications requirements, and more. Before choosing which professional diving career path to pursue, it can help to learn a little bit more about each facet of diving. This will help you determine the diving category best suited for you and your lifestyle.
SCUBA Diving vs. Commercial Diving: What’s the Difference?
There is a very distinct difference between these two types of diving. Simply put, SCUBA diving is recreational and requires less training and different licensing. Conversely, commercial diving is paid or professional diving and requires years of rigorous specialized training and certification.
We should note that there are some instances in which SCUBA diving is used in commercial jobs. For example, SCUBA can be used, rather than hard hat diving, in ships husbandry, anode replacement, inspections, working under houseboats. However, generally speaking, it is understood that SCUBA is recreational and commercial diving is paid work.
Types of SCUBA Diving Jobs: Overview
Within the recreational dive industry, there is a broad spectrum of scuba diving jobs. Each job type within this industry requires a different level of training and experience.
As a SCUBA diver, you may work as any of the following.
- Divemaster/Dive instructor
- Dive boat manager
- Underwater journalist
- Dive center assistant
- Dive equipment manufacturer
- Underwater photographer/videographer
- Dive retail sales associate
- Dive travel manager
As mentioned, some positions, such as a divemaster or dive instructor, require a high level of experience, training, and certification. Others, such as a dive boat manager or dive center assistant, require only minimal dive experience and an interest in recreational diving. Many people find jobs in dive retail sales or dive travel to be a great way to make a paycheck while focusing on a subject that they love.
For many diving jobs in the recreational industry, on-the-job-training is available. For example, operating a dive boat in the United States requires a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license. To gain the experience you need to obtain that license, working as a deckhand on a dive boat is a great start. In another example, an individual with hands-on technical ability might learn the skills of dive equipment repair through assisting at a dive center to legally work as an “authorized maintenance technician.”
Other opportunities can be found with dive equipment manufacturers, helping with engineering, design, testing, and manufacturing to public relations and sales. Recreational diving also offers opportunities in advertising, marketing, and communications as an underwater journalist, photographer, or videographer. It is important to note, however, that it can be challenging to find work in these roles, but opportunities do exist for people with the skill and drive to make it happen.
Types of Commercial Diving Jobs: Overview
For someone who wants to spend their career underwater, but doesn’t necessarily want to work in dive travel, retail, or sales, the field of commercial diving is the best option. Commercial diving encompasses two main industry sectors: offshore and inland diving. Within these two sectors, there are three types of careers: HAZMAT, salvage, and saturation. Each type of commercial diving career requires different training, equipment, and skills.
What is offshore diving?
Offshore diving refers to the fact that the work takes place on vessels and platforms in the open ocean. The majority of this work supports the oil and gas industries. However, it can also include major salvage operations and subsea construction. Jobs in offshore diving are often available globally, including locations such as the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, the North Sea, Southeast Asia, and West Africa.
Offshore divers perform maintenance, repair installation, and removal of abandoned oil-related structures and salvage operations. As a result, the skills needed to perform this work include rigging, underwater welding and burning, and using hydraulic tools sets including guillotine and diamond wire saws. Many of these dives use underwater robotics called Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs).
What is inland diving?
Inland divers often deal with underwater construction, in-water inspections including the use of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) procedures, pier and pile installation and repair, ship’s husbandry, power plant and nuclear plant inspections/maintenance, and dam and bridgework. Given the high demand in this sector of the industry, determination and tenacity are very important to succeed.
Divers Institute of Technology & Your Future Career
While SCUBA diving jobs typically revolve around the tourism industry, a rewarding commercial diving career may offer even more unique and challenging opportunities. At Divers Institute of Technology, we don’t just train a single type of diver. We focus on creating a well-balanced diver who can succeed in the many aspects of commercial diving. You will gain real-world experience with professional diving, benefit from an intensive, hands-on curriculum, and make connections within the diving industry. To learn more about training at DIT, contact us today. You can also fill out an application here.
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