Underwater welding is a high-risk lucrative career in extreme demand. Given today’s limited job market and the seemingly ongoing economic malaise, there has never been a better time to receive training to become an underwater welder (view a list of underwater welding and salvage books here). After the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, underwater drilling came to a halt and many underwater welders in the southern U.S. found themselves out of work. However, years after that disaster, underwater drilling has been given the green light in even more locations and the demand for skilled underwater welders is at an all time high. In addition to the energy services field, underwater welders are in demand in other lucrative fields such as general underwater construction (e.g. piers and other structures), and even large scale salvage operations (e.g. the Costa Concordia sinking off the coast of Italy). Imagine those divers who were given an opportunity to travel half way around the world to work in the Mediterranean.
Underwater Welder Salary
First year underwater welders can find themselves making anywhere from $10 to $25 per hour with the proper education and skills. According to the BLS, welders earned median wage-and-salary earnings of $16.13 an hour, as reported in May 2008. Perhaps even more than most professional and trade fields, the environments and projects experienced by underwater welders varies widely, and with that so do underwater welder salaries vary. Given the highly skilled and often times dangerous nature of the work, however, it is possible to expect increased underwater welding salary premiums over other welding and similar trades.
Major Commercial Diver / Underwater Welder Projects
Costa Concordia Disaster – Giglio, Italy
The Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of Giglio, Italy. The massive salvage effort involved more than 500 workers including commercial divers from several countries.
Commercial divers and underwater welders are employed on a temporary and permanent basis around the world. Where there is water, there are commercial divers! From oil rigs to harbors, underwater pipelines to salvage operations like the Costa Concordia – underwater welders are called upon to work in demanding but rewarding environments.