In 2013, 66% of the US’ liquid fuels (crude oil, natural gas, biofuel) originated from oil rig sites not too far off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The rugged divers and tenders, who work the underwater and topside shifts inspecting and maintaining these massive structures in the ocean, operate on full schedules and tightly knit teams with a strong work ethic and sense of brotherhood. And the Gulf of Mexico is not the only place to work offshore — offshore diving can take you around the world.
Inland diving can bring together the best of both worlds — land and water, travel and home time. Inland divers can keep their diving restricted to their city or state and stay nearer to their loved ones more of the time, or take jobs around the country and explore this beautiful land. Bridges, piers, dams, water tanks — all of these structures, and many more, require building, maintenance and sometimes cleaning.
Salvage Divers: In recovery mode
Even if the jobs don’t all involve recovering ancient artifacts, but instead a newly-discovered shipwreck, salvage diving is fascinating. For instance you might be Parbuckling the tragic wreck of Costa Concordia (see more photos here) . In 2014 it required 111 divers working around the clock for months, swimming through rooms upon eerie rooms full of floating furniture and people’s things. The divers worked on teams to build a platform under the boat and to raise it, so it could be towed to a port. Salvage divers cut, weld, demolish and figure their way underwater around sites, and can work for scientific organizations, the Navy, the police force, or private companies to recover whole vessels, evidence, human remains, and sometimes a clearer picture of history.
Saturation diving: Taking it to a whole new level
Saturation divers live under the sea in pressurized chambers with a small handful of other people. For weeks at a time, the crew works rolling shifts, two on, two off, or one on, one off. The logic is this: Living in a pressurized space means that the divers require less time to decompress from a deep dive so these teams venture out into the dark deep seas equipped with lights and tools to work in the lonely ocean. Only even-keeled people need apply; close communal living is not for everyone, but for those who love it, a community of Sat divers exists under the sea – some of them stay in touch and end up on the same jobs once in a while.
Nuclear divers get suited up and dive in nuclear reactors: inspecting, cleaning and maintaining them. Attached to their dive suits are a number of dosimeters which measure radioactive exposure. These are constantly measured and assessed, and safety practices are so stringent that if even one malfunctions, the dive is called off. If you like warmth, extra dough and thrive on a calm but risky job, this one might be for you.
ROV Tech: An undersea pilot
Like to tinker? Play with electronics? Enjoy video games? An ROV Technician flies around under the sea with a hydraulically-propelled robot that he or she controls from a remote location. These remotely operated vehicles are attached to the controlling vessel by a cable that connects the pilot to the vehicle and to its built-in cameras, lights and mechanical tools. ROVs perform mechanical repairs and operations to massive structures offshore, and are used for scientific exploration, television shoots and military endeavours.
Like the cold? Love a rough, hearty, MacGuyver-style job? Divers in Alaska are so remote much of their work is figuring out how to do something on the fly, with what’s on hand. Dive sites can be miles outside of civilization in the brutal cold and without good transport, but the scenery, the slow pace and the invigorating sense of life make it all worth it.
If you’ve got a leaning towards a science like archaeology, oceanography, geology or biology, you may enjoy working with researchers in the academic and private sectors, exploring, studying and analyzing the deep unknowns of our amazing, vast oceans and the life they host. Scientific dives can take you all over the world and to far-flung spots in the ocean, to see things that most people will never dream of seeing. You’ll see all this not just as a commercial diver but with the insight of generating new knowledge and a sense of adventure.
There are even more avenues down which commercial diving can take you, and DIT’s staff are with you throughout your career to support you and help you find the best fit for you skills, lifestyle and experience.