Commercial divers work underwater at sea, or in rivers, lakes, canals and reservoirs using scuba gear to inspect, repair, remove or install equipment, structures or vessels. They may use power or hand tools and welding equipment to complete various tasks. Tasks could include testing for cracks on the legs of oil rigs at sea, replacing missing rivets on vessels, laying, repairing or inspecting underwater pipelines, searching for lost, messing or sunken objects or working in flooded mines.
You must pass a medical carried out by a doctor approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) before you begin professional diver training.
You might find it useful to have experience of recreational SCUBA diving before training as a commercial diver, but this isn’t essential. Many diving schools offer tests to help you decide whether you’d be suited to working underwater.
You don’t need academic qualifications to learn diving skills, but to work as a commercial diver you’ll need the right skills, experience and qualifications for your industry, like:
- a degree in surveying or engineering for offshore diving
- qualifications in welding or non-destructive testing for construction diving
- a degree in oceanography or marine biology for scientific diving
- to already be serving in the force for police or armed forces diving
Career Path and Progression
You’d normally be self-employed as a commercial diver.
With experience and further training, you could move into roles with extra responsibility and more pay, like life support technician or diving supervisor.
If working in a dive centre you could move into a management role.
You could also set up a business, or work in a related field where diving skills are necessary, like swimming pool engineering or maintenance.
Related careers you may be interested in:
- Offshore drilling worker
- Royal Marines Commando
- Royal Marines Officer
- Stunt performer
National Government Policy states that all students should have achieved at least a Grade 4 or C Grade in English & Maths at GCSE. Achieving this minimum grade in these subjects will increase the opportunities open to you, support your future career development and prospects.
Students who do not meet this standard will be supported to continue to study English and Maths through full-time education or an Apprenticeship.
You will need excellent swimming abilities, stamina and fitness, you would also need to keep calm under pressure and have good levels of concentration under demanding conditions.