Getting Your First Dive Job After Graduation
So, you’re about to wrap up your diving training. You’ve aced, slogged or scraped your way through physics and emergency medicine, dived over and over at different depths and in different waters, learned how to stay alive in high levels of pollution during your hazmat course, grinded through your underwater construction classes, explored the world of salvage diving, and maybe more. Now it’s time to bring it all together and realise the goal of all this training: getting a job. We asked a few Employers in the commercial diving world to let us in on a few tips for finding and landing that perfect job.
First, Do Your Research
Study the dive companies that you are interested in: find out what their workload looks like, what kind of experience their supervisors and lead divers have, and check on their safety and culture. You’re looking for a company that treats its workers well and has high safety standards. It can get pretty dangerous out there and you need to know your employer has your back. If a dive company works for one or some of the major operators in the gulf, like Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Fieldwood, then it is required to meet a minimum safety standard.
Find out how robust the company’s training program is and what they can offer in terms of jobs. Do they dive on barges as well as boats? Do they dive saturation or just do surface work? Do they only work in the Gulf of Mexico or overseas as well? Inland? The greater the breadth of work, the more diverse experience you’ll have access to, which will help you in the long run.
Talk to previous graduates who have already been employed. Find out their thoughts on the companies you’re interested in, and be open to their tips.
Next Steps: Group Up, Get Out
If you’re heading to the gulf to find offshore work, partner up with a few classmates and make a plan to share expenses when first arriving in the south. This can help you to withstand startup time financially until you get some offshore days under your belt.
Before stopping by dive companies take note to make sure that you are dropping in on the “hiring location” for that company. Often, corporate offices for dive companies are located in other cities or states from their hiring office.
Who Dive Companies Look For
Dive companies, like all companies, need to balance the needs of their bottom line with a team that is happy, safe and well cared for. As a recent grad looking for work in the field, you need to ensure that you can optimize both goals of the company: be a hard, productive worker and a good team player, respectful of colleagues, well-adjusted and easy to work with.
Scott Coker General Manager of Operations at DeepCor Marine, an offshore dive company focusing on surface air and mixed gas diving in water depths up to 300 feet of salt water (FSW). He gave us a few insights into what he looks for in a new diver.
“Dive companies look for graduates who are professional, career-oriented and honest. No one is interested in someone who is not trustworthy or unreliable. Offshore work is tough and there is rarely a set schedule so anyone who has a problem with alcohol or drugs will never last in this environment. We work with each other in close quarters for long periods of time offshore, in an environment that demands respect. There are others who rely on your attention to detail as this work involves life support and the diver’s safety.
A background in intensive outdoor work with one’s hands, such as in contracting, farming or military service will serve you well and you should highlight this in your job applications and interviews. Those who are mechanically inclined also do well here. We like experience in hydraulics, electronics, diesel mechanics, welders, etc. However, an individual with just a desire to be a commercial diver and shows a solid work ethic can be successful – anyone who is driven to excel and do their part to complete a project safely while watching out for their co-workers will go a long way. There are plenty other things we look for but these are what stand out the most to me.”
DIT Is There For You
Finally, remember that as a DIT alumnus, you have the support network of all our experienced staff who have worked in almost all commercial diving applications. They are here to help you on your way in the transition between student and work life. Good luck!
Written for DIT by Londi Gamezde