Phew! Bit hot for all that clobber. Yup.
Looks heavy. It is.
Rather you than me. Right.
So you’re going to jump into that water then. No, I always walk around like this.
You don’t! You’re kidding me, aren’t you. Yup.
Seriously, though, what do you do? I’m an inshore diver.
Inshore, eh. What does that mean? We cover up to 12 miles from the coastline and also undertake inland diving in harbours, reservoirs, rivers, canals and lakes.
Dragging for bodies? You have a morbid mind. Fortunately that’s just one of many diving tasks.
What else do inshore divers do? Fish farms, for instance, need us to sort out nets or recover dead fish. In ports we’re given the task of untangling ropes from ships’ propellers. We do lots of remedial work in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and canals.
How do you mean? Divers get involved with bridge inspection and repair. We also work with construction underwater, both building the structures and inspecting them for faults during and after the work is done. Once structures are completed divers inspect and maintain them regularly.
What about demolition? Sure, when existing structures need to be removed, we get involved in demolishing them using explosives. Basically we do civil and structural engineering when it is underwater.
What qualities do divers need? They must be sound swimmers, physically fit and very safety conscious. They’ve also got to be good team players. Divers’ lives depend on others in the team.
They also work solo? Sure. They’ve got to be comfortable working on their own underwater with only a communication line to the surface.
And panicky sorts need not apply. It is essential that a diver can stay calm and act quickly in emergencies.
What about entry requirements? There’s no upper age limit, but there are qualifications approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which any working diver must obtain. Divers must also pass a medical and fitness test assessed by an organisation recognised by the Health and Safety Executive and pass an annual medical by an approved HSE doctor after that. A list of qualifications and organisations is available from the HSE.
What’s the pay like? Generally divers get paid by the day whilst working and are not paid on days when there is no work. However they tend to do small contracts for as little as one or two days. There’s no national rate of pay for divers.
What are the prospects? The normal promotion route is from diver to diving supervisor. Divers who want promotion can take further courses to qualify as underwater inspectors who carry out underwater visual inspections and operate video and still cameras, or, alternatively, train as diver medics who give emergency assistance to casualties and carry out first aid under medical guidance. Divers who have the necessary qualifications and experience may be able to work as an HM Inspector of Health and Safety.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Diving Inspectorate, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London SE1 9HS. Telephone 020-7717 6763
The Underwater Centre , Fort William, Inverness-shire, Scotland PH33 6AN. Telephone 01397 703786