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 can get into this job through:
You could apply directly for jobs if you've got the relevant diving and safety qualifications.
You'll also need experience relevant to the industry you're working in. For example, you'll need a background in welding to work as an offshore underwater engineer, fixing pipelines.
You may be able to apply for diver training through your employer, for example if you're in the police or armed forces. Once qualified, you could work with an underwater unit.
Similarly, if you work in oceanography or marine biology, your employer may put you through specialist diver training, so that you can carry out research tasks under the sea.
You'll usually do training with a commercial organisation or professional body to get your diving qualifications.
Training must be approved by the Health and Safety Executive. Examples include courses offered by the:
You might find it useful to have experience of recreational scuba diving before training as a commercial diver.
Many diving schools offer tests to help you decide whether you'll be suited to working underwater.
Restrictions and requirements
You'll need to pass a medical check.
The Health and Safety Executive, International Marine Underwater Contractors Association, Professional Association of Diving Instructors and British Sub-Aqua Club all have more information on commercial and leisure diving as a career.
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
- Stunt performer
- excellent swimming abilities
- stamina and fitness
- you would also need to keep calm under pressure
- have good levels of concentration under demanding conditions
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- persistence and determination