Take your love of diving and make it your career and become a commercial diver. A commercial diver is effectively anyone who is paid to work underwater. This could include media, shellfish, archaeological, inshore or offshore divers.
The largest employer of commercial divers is the oil and gas industry, with developments in offshore renewables, such as offshore windfarms, coming a close second.
A career as a commercial diver could take you around the world and will provide you with good earning potential and great job satisfaction. When you start out in your career, you could command a day rate of around £150 a day, but this could go up to £1300 for saturation, or mixed gas divers.
Depending on the sort of career path you’d like to take as a commercial diver will depend on the training you undertake. In order to work offshore you will have to undertake all of the required Health & Safety Executive certificates – HSE SCUBA, HSE Surface Supplied and HSE Surface Supplied Top-up. If you’re interested in working inshore, you will only require the HSE SCUBA and HSE Surface Supplied certificates.
Having experience as a sports diver will certainly stand you in good stead in your training as a commercial diver. However, there are a number of differences between commercial and sports diving. You will have good experience of buoyancy, equalising your ears and some of the kit, however your sports diving experience does not transfer to commercial diving.
The HSE tickets you gain, which are required to be a commercial diver, are really just your way of getting to work, a bit like a taxi. Once you’re on the work site you need to know what you’re doing once you’re faced with the job at hand. Ensure that the training you undertake not only includes the required HSE tickets, but also additional skills and tools training required to actually get the job done – which is what you will be paid for. This may be incorporated throughout your HSE training, or it may be provided as additional training courses, once your HSE training has been completed, such as Underwater Inspection (almost a pre-requisite for working offshore now).
If the offshore industry is the area you’re interested in, once you’ve gained enough experience and working dives, you can then go on to train as a saturation diver and complete the HSE Closed Bell course. This advanced diving certificate allows you to work at various depths using oxygen and helium breathing mixtures (mixed gas) and saturation techniques. The HSE Closed Bell qualification allows you to work at various depths using oxygen and helium breathing mixtures (mixed gas) and saturation techniquesThe HSE Closed Bell qualification allows you to work at various depths using oxygen and helium breathing mixtures (mixed gas) and saturation techniquesThe HSE Closed Bell qualification allows you to work at various depths using oxygen and helium breathing mixtures (mixed gas) and saturation techniques This ticket is often the ultimate goal for commercial divers, thanks to the excellent pay rate of over £1300 a day in the North Sea.