The job requires U.S. citizenship, good health and youth. You must be in top physical condition and able to complete a strenuous medical and physical exam. You have to be smart enough, and you must have two years of service left in your Navy enlistment. If you meet the requirements, you can be a Navy diver.
Applicants for the Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center’s second class diving school must be under 30 years of age when they apply. Enlisted applicants must have an Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, score of 103 on the AR+VE, an MC of 51, or GS+MC+EI total of 165. The applicants must be a grade of E-4 or higher, with two years left in the Navy; applicants with less than two years remaining in the Navy must commit to an extension of the service commitment for two years after completion of training. Diving Officers must be unrestricted line officers. Diving Medical Officers must be licensed physicians as well as Navy officers.
The physical qualifications for both officers and enlisted personnel include being able to complete a 500-yard swim in under 14 minutes, followed by a 10-minute rest; 42 pushups in two minutes and two minutes rest; 6 pull-ups in two minutes followed by a two-minute break; 24 sit-ups in two minutes; a 10-minute rest and a 1.5-mile run in 12 minutes and 45 seconds. The applicant can be male or female and must have vision correctable to 20/20. Colorblindness disqualifies candidates, as does the inability to obtain and maintain a security clearance.
Enlisted Navy Divers
A Navy Diver Third Class is an E-4 who has completed the Navy’s scuba and the Second Class diving school. A Navy Diver Second Class is an E-5 who has also completed the Navy’s scuba school and the Second Class Diving School. A Diver First Class is an E-6, E-7 or E-8 who has completed the Navy’s scuba school, the Second Class diving school and the First Class diving school. A Master Diver is an E-9 who has completed the Master Diver course and been approved by the Master Diver Selection Board.
Diving Officers are naval officers who have attended the Second Class Diving School. Typically, they are in command of Diving and Salvage detachments. Diving Medical Officers are licensed physicians and naval officers who have attended the Diving Medical Officer course, which includes an abbreviated version of the Second Class diver training. The diving medical officer acts as the medical community’s representative in the diver’s world, providing diving physicals, and preventing and treating diving-related accidents, illnesses and injuries.
Salvage and Ship Husbandry
Salvage diving is one of the primary occupations of the Navy diver. Salvage divers recover equipment, such as anchors and aircraft that are lost underwater. They dive in both harbors and the open ocean. They make underwater repairs on ship hulls and communications systems and engage in such projects as construction or demolition. Salvage divers may also work surface ships or submarines. These divers may also receive training in rescue and recovery and combat diving or other skills, such as the disarming and removal undischarged explosives as part of salvage work.
Saturation and Deep Submergence
Following specialized training, Navy Divers First or Second Class may work in saturation diving environments. At sea level, air pressure is almost 15 pounds per square inch. Pressure increases the farther underwater you go. Saturation divers live in a pressurized module aboard ship that maintains air pressure at the same pressure under which the divers work undersea. A diving bell lowers the divers from their module to their working depth and returns them to their module. Recovery from saturation diving may require the divers to live in the pressurized module for several weeks as they decompress. Navy divers also work in research and development of classified systems, including weapons systems and specialized breathing systems.