This division of diving is reserved for brave, gritty persons who have a passion for the water and don’t mind getting their hands dirty… very dirty. It’s a serious and dangerous branch way off the beaten track of recreational diving.
The physical demands are so extensive that this group of divers averages working 9 months of the year. It’s essential to be in excellent physical health and skills required other than swimming are advanced mechanical abilities when deep diving. Diving in these two categories are carried out by commercial organizations for purposes such as:
- Fishing for sea creatures such as sponges, coral, and pearls, molluscs and crustaceans that have a higher value on the market than most, and are protected by certain fishing restrictions in quotas due to marine laws.
- Civil engineering and general infrastructural maintenance in harbours and docks as well as on bridges, water supply and drainage systems.
- Examining, inspecting, cleaning and repairing the ships and boats.
- Recovering sunken ships and their archeologically valuable contents.
- For Navy purposes and military operations such as reconnaissance and sabotage.
- Offshore construction and crude oil industry.
- General fish farm maintenance.
- Non-Destructive Testing experiments.
The next levels include Diver Medic qualifications by National Association of Diver Medical Technicians. Examples of a training academies in this field are Commercial Diving Academy (CDA) ofJacksonville, Florida specializing in highly advanced welding training programs and the Divers Institute of Technology in Seattle, Washington was founded in 1968. Today it has grown to the extent where its graduates are qualified to work internationally.Most recently this area has extended to cover salvage and maintenance operations after natural disasters. Training for deep sea diving lasts an average of four to thirteen months. Commercial divingrequires two year training at a vocational school before enrolling in any of the academically advanced areas. In most US schools, divers must have a commercial diver certification and can advance with ASNT certified Level I NDT Technicians.
General subjects learned by commercial divers for qualification include:
- Non-Destructive Testing and Hazardous Materials Handling and Removal.
- Underwater Welding and Burning.
- Photography and underwater closed circuit television.
- Hydraulic-Tool Training, which was a new technology.
- Remote Operating Vehicles (ROVs) were introduced for both offshore and inland requirements.
- Comprehensive 16-week air/mixed-gas course.
- Mobile Crane Operation
- Able Bodied Seaman.
- Diving Medical Technician (DMT).
- Oil field diving.
- Safety operations Planning.
- Underwater construction levels one two and three.
- Specialized underwater welding courses include modules such as: Safe underwater welding procedures, MMA welding plant & equipment, Underwater welding techniques, Preparing to weld Electrodes & weld terminology, Basic weldability & common weld defects, Monitor & control welding operations, Quality assurance & quality control and Join steel plates using the three standard techniques.
Needless to say, what you put in is what you get out, so promotions are regular. Remuneration is good and travel prospects are also high on the list. It’s not only a demanding career, but the demand for commercial divers is high due to its daring nature.
Qualified divers earn titles such as engineers, instructors, and diving operations supervisors, qualify as AWS Certified Welding Inspectors (CWI), and serve as consultants for underwater welding operations and other related fields.