What Background Best Suits a Career as a Commercial Diver?


A question we are often asked is ‘What sort of experience do I need for a career as a commercial diver?’  Here we explain the kind of skills and experience which will stand you in good stead for your future career in the diving industry.

Diving Only Gets You to the Dive Site

101004KB-SS-Divers-ADII-1-297x300Working as a commercial diver means exactly that – working underwater. The kind of work carried out by divers ranges from inshore or civil work such as hull inspections, harbour repairs, underwater concreting or welding and cutting, to offshore work such as platform leg inspection and repairs in depths of up to 50 metres and over. This means that employers are looking for divers who are up to labour intensive work in an often hostile environment, who can think and act by themselves but also follow technical instructions given verbally and in writing. They must also be a team player but must also be able to work unsupervised alone if necessary. A practical background doing any form of fabrication or construction involving the use of tools is useful; such people tend to have many of the attributes already mentioned.

No Such Thing as a ‘Usual’ Dive

There is the added element of completing the job while subjected to several bars of water pressure with varying visibility. Past student Chris Chell once completed a job painting a harbour wall with black paint in zero visibility.  Tenacity is an important attribute for any commercial diver regardless of what the job is. In one dive you can get good visibility and then no visibility and back to good visibility again. The same goes for currents and tides: by their nature they are always changing and will affect the job. There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ or ‘usual’ dive; a commercial diver must first and foremost be able to adapt to changing circumstances and ‘make it happen’.

Recreational Diving Experience

Scuba-full-face-mask-dive-11-300x225To be a successful commercial diver doesn’t necessarily equate to having extensive experience of diving either.  Some of the best commercial divers have never dived before training in Fort William yet they have a hands-on attitude that is the basis of every good commercial diver. That said, if you’re an experienced sport diver you will have some familiarisation with the kit and you will know you are comfortable in the water.

Here are some example of careers our past diving students have come from, and some of their thoughts on training and working as commercial divers:

“I have always had a strong interest in how things work and how to make things work better. I did an NC welding course and as a result of this I was offered an apprenticeship in welding and fabrication. I wanted to combine my love of swimming with welding and had always been interested in commercial diving.”

Alistair Nicol, previously a farm worker and welder.

“I worked for a while as a diving instructor in Turkey before returning to Scotland, where I got a job as a chamber operator at the Hyperbaric Centre in Aberdeen. It then seemed like a natural progression to train as a commercial diver.”

Angus Haig, previously a sport diving instructor and chamber operator.

“I’ve always had a love for water, and knew from an early age that I wanted to become a commercial diver – I love the prospect of working in a completely alien environment unseen by most other people, and being part of a close knit team. Team work is vital as a commercial diver.”

Guy Bohlschied, previously worked as an insurance damage cleaner.

“My first job was blanking the bow thruster on a Royal Navy minesweeper at night – nobody said it was going to be easy!”

Chris Chell, previously a welder.

Getting Started as a Commercial Diver

The courses we provide give you the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) certificates required to work legally as a commercial diver.  We also include training in underwater tools and tasks as part of the course because that knowledge and experience is essential to your success as a commercial diver. Any practical experience and knowledge you have from working on the surface will not only benefit your CV but will also assist on your course.

So if you’re the type of person who could change a tyre without trouble, and aren’t afraid of hard work then commercial diving is for you. If you have any questions, contact one of our Student Advisors by emailing fortwilliam@theunderwatercentre.com, call +44 1397 703786, or visit our website to learn more about a career as a commercial diver, and the skills training included in our diving courses.

The Underwater Centre

The Underwater Centre

Whether you're looking to start an exciting new career in diving, train as an ROV pilot technician, or your company wants to carry out vital subsea equipment testing or trials, our commitment to your needs is what makes The Underwater Centre, Fort William special.

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