Diver Exploits: From Ship Cadet to Underwater Welding


I’ve worked in the dirt, the grime, in uncomfortable temperatures and pressures. Diving isn’t what I originally imagined it would be, but I’m glad I made the shift.

Graduation: Nothing to Hold Back

Back in college in the Philippines, I made varsity in swimming and was a member of dance club in school. I had good athletic ability, and nothing was holding me back. I graduated maritime school back in 2001 with a solid bachelor of science degree.

After I graduated college, I worked in a local shipping company in my country for about a year as deck cadet position in a passenger ship. My duties and responsibilities were seamanship and navigation, deck watch keeping , maintenance , cargo handling , monitoring emergency equipment and everything else that goes along with it.

I was happy – but not content.

Observation: First Look in Commercial Diving

I decided to work abroad back on 2004, so I went to Dubai to work in marine services. It was my first company abroad, and they employed professional divers there as well. After spending some time talking with them, I couldn’t help but find their occupation enticing.

It was there I made the decision to take my open water course. I was hungry for a new career, not just close to the water but in it.

Diving Experience & Career Advancement

Although my course only put me into the “recreational diving” arena (as opposed to commercial diving), I still received my license. Later on, I would be able to not just observe commercial diver’s responsibilities but dive right along with them. I would aid in hull cleaning , propeller polishing , hole blanking , underwater surveying and inspection photography, air lifting and underwater cutting and welding. My underwater operation experience was going to grow significantly.

I pushed further into my career. I continued my studies in diving, and I was employed to another dredging company in Abu Dhabi in 2008. This involved more underwater construction through tasks like Qual wall block placing, harbor, break water and pipe laying.

I was doing marine construction and loved working with my team composed of different nationalities.

The thing is, you must be a team player and good communication is must to in working with others.

Blasting, Welding & Installation: Dive Gigs

In 2010, I took three months of welding training in technical skills and education. I gained my SMAW , FCAW , and GMAW welding qualifications. I learned plenty of theory to begin and and was later able to put it into practice through procedures. I became skilled welder in three months, training from plate to carbon steel pipe.

After my training I had another contract in Saudi Arabia 2011 – 2014. I worked three years in marine construction, dredging and reclamation. As a commercial diver, I was part of the underwater operations night and day, sometimes working in dark water with 750 ton block, placing quay wall. I had a few other responsibilities as well:

  • Aligning and laying pipe
  • Assembling flanges
  • Sheet piling
  • Anodes pipe installation in liquid berth
  • Blasting
  • Air lifting
  • Aggregate bedding (using hydraulic and manual frame)
  • More underwater welding and cutting

Climbing the Career Ladder through Studies

In 2014, after I finished my contract with them, I decided to book a training in South Africa to take my HSE Class III. I took my commercial diving course in Jack Dive Chest Commercial Diving School in Strand Western Cape; I didn’t have a real hard time completing my courses in diving school because already had experience in commercial diving.

During my time, I was one of the students who gained welder of the year award because of my underwater welding proficiency – perhaps because I have a welder qualification. It’s good to have knowledge and skills in a relevant job. I love being a commercial diver.

You must be passionate of what you do and don’t stop learning because life itself doesn’t stop teaching you.

I am motivated to push further of my career to excel in my potential , experience and skills in this industry.


Adonis Alisbo is 34 years old, originally from the Philippines. He’s traveled all over the world and has numerous experience and certifications in the commercial diving and underwater welding field.



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