Commercial Diving; Workers of the Deep
Have you ever wondered who builds offshore oil platforms and rigs, who places the foundations for bridges and dams, or how the cooling tanks for nuclear reactors are maintained? The answer, simply put, is Commercial Divers. The world has billions of tons of infrastructure that depends on commercial divers to build, inspect, and maintain. Every bridge, dam, water tower, water treatment facility, offshore oil platform, offshore wind turbine, and every mile of the hundreds of thousands of miles of global subsea pipelines and cables depends on commercial diving.
So, what is Commercial Diving?
Commercial diving is a type of professional diving that inspects, maintains, and repairs structures, vessels, and other equipment located underwater. This infrastructure and equipment can include bridges, oil rigs, ships, wind turbines, and other artificial structures, as well as natural features such as coral reefs. Commercial divers use various specialized tools and equipment, such as underwater welding and cutting equipment, to perform their work. Unlike recreational diving, commercial divers use surface-supplied air, subsea communication systems, and large decompression/recompression chambers to perform their duties safely and efficiently.
What do Commercial Divers Do?
Commercial divers perform a wide range of tasks, depending on the specific job and industry they are working in. Some examples of general duties include:
- Inspection: Divers inspect underwater structures and equipment for signs of wear and damage utilizing nondestructive testing techniques, then report their findings to the surface. This can include checking for cracks, corrosion, and other issues that may need to be repaired.
- Maintenance and Repair: Divers use specialized tools and equipment to repair and maintain underwater structures and equipment. This can include underwater welding, cutting, and installation of new components.
- Construction: Divers may construct new underwater structures like oil rigs or offshore wind turbines. They may also assist in the installation of subsea pipelines and cables.
- Salvage: Divers may be involved in recovering sunken ships and other underwater objects. Many Ocean Corp grads worked on the salvage of the Costa Concordia, the largest ship salvage operation in history.
- Environmental: Commercial divers also perform ecological monitoring, clean up, and sampling.
- Hazardous Materials Handling: Some commercial divers are trained to handle dangerous materials, such as chemicals or radioactive materials, found underwater. All Ocean Corp diving graduates receive HAZWOPER and contaminated water training.
What is the Job Like?
Commercial divers typically work in teams, with one or more divers in the water at a time, while others work on the surface to support the diving operation. An offshore project can last from weeks to years, with dive teams typically living on a Dive Support Vessel (DSV) on-site for four to six weeks at a time. The DSV can also support specialized equipment such as diving bells, saturation diving systems, and remotely operated vehicles to enhance safety and efficiency.
How Do I Become a Commercial Diver?
Commercial diving is a highly regulated profession, with many countries requiring divers to have specific certifications and training to work; in the United States, the two primary certifications that are required to work are the Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI) and International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA). The Ocean Corporation is the only commercial diving school in the U.S. that can issue both cards.
Divers need to be physically fit and mentally strong to be able to handle the demanding conditions of the job. This career’s lifestyle is exhilarating, demanding, and unlike any other. With the demand for commercial divers at historical highs and still growing, there has never been a better time to dive into a new career with The Ocean Corporation.