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Top jobs in Scuba Diving

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By: Brittany Hadfield

So you’ve gotten your first diving certification and now you’re hooked. You’re bored of your current job and you’re looking for something more exciting, right? While it is possible to have a career in diving with only an open water certification, often times it takes more training to achieve professional status. Below, we describe a few careers in which you can dive for a living! What could be better?

Dive Instructor
Salary: $31,000 – $50,000

Of course there’s the most obvious job of all… scuba instructor! This job sounds like the dreamiest one of all… You spend your days on dive boats and exploring the underwater world. You might even get to live in a beautiful tropical location if you’re one of the super lucky ones. Being a dive instructor comes with a lot of responsibility; you have to make sure that your students are using the proper techniques and doing so safely. With that also comes the reward of introducing and guiding students into underwater discovery and awe. Overall, if you’re looking for a job that combines teaching and diving this might be the one for you.

Underwater Photographer
Salary: $35,000 – $60,000

Do you have a knack for photography? Love to dive? This might be the job for you. Underwater photographers take photos and videos of marine life, coral reefs, shipwrecks, and caves. These photographers might work in the fashion and hospitality industries as well, photographing underwater models and resort advertisements. While the photographer’s main job might be shooting pictures, they also need to be well-versed in their editing skills, they also need to be able to adjust light, coloring, and staging challenges that shooting underwater brings.

To have a career as an underwater photographer, one must have the proper qualifications as a diver or snorkeler to perform this job. This starts at an open water certification and can advance as high as you wish. SDI also offers an underwater photography course for those who are interested in learning more. This is an introductory course and if you want to learn more we would suggest taking some higher level courses through a local workshop or at the college/university level. While some photographers have a high school diploma only, others find it helpful to seek higher education to better learn processes and equipment.

Golf Ball Diver
Salary: $36,000-55,000

This one isn’t an option that people think of often, but it’s definitely legitimate if you have the proper documentation; this being an agreement or contract with the course you plan to dive. If all you’ve ever experienced in diving is crystal clear, warm water, this might not be the job for you. Most of the time the waters golf ball divers are going into is murky and contaminated from pesticides and other chemicals. These waters often contain dangerous animals such as water moccasins, gators, and snakes. Let’s not forget about the downed trees, branches, hazardous trash such as broken glass and barbed wire, and low to zero visibility. Because of these factors, divers should be extremely confident in their abilities as a diver and also know self rescue skills. This job requires an advanced scuba diver certification due to the low to no visibility in the ponds of the golf courses. Divers might also consider taking a drysuit and full face mask course due to the nature of the waters they’re diving.

After you’ve taken into account all of the factors listed above, you then have to know about how competitive this business is. In the business of golf ball divers, you have poachers who sneak onto the courses at night and dive or wade on the edge to gather balls. The way a golf ball diver business works, a diver has a contractual agreement with the course(s) they are diving at that they get back a certain amount of money per each ball collected (this fee is usually 8-10 cents). Sometimes, the course will even take a percentage of balls back to use on their driving range. A diver will collect somewhere around 3,000 balls on an average day (8am-12pm) and will get back half of the original cost of those balls (some going for as high as $50 per dozen when new).

Commercial Diving
Salary: $54,750 – $93,910

This job isn’t one you take on a whim because it’s one that comes with many risks. It also varies from one extreme to another. Commercial diving is a very broad field ranging from underwater inspection to HAZMAT jobs. Commercial diving means working below the surface of water, performing tasks such as repairing, removing, or installing equipment underwater. Commercial divers use power & hand tools to conduct tests/experiments and rig explosives underwater. There are usually four factors to determining a commercial diver’s salary which include: diver experience, employer, location, and depth of dive. The commercial diving field isn’t one that is limited by location, but often you would work for 4-8 weeks in the field and have anywhere from 10 days – 4 weeks off to decompress and relax. This career is one that requires specialized schooling rather than a specific certification.

Marine Archaeologist
Salary: $39,000 – $72,000

Do shipwrecks interest you? Does the thought of finding sunken treasure excite you? Marine Archaeology might be the job for you. These are the people who study the ocean floor looking for shipwrecks and sites that might contain human remains to items of monetary value. You might also be in charge of keeping a database of shipwrecks in your area and updating it on a regular basis to make sure looters don’t disturb wreck sites. Marine archaeologists are also the people called when someone wants to build something in the ocean that might disrupt the ocean floor. They check the site to make sure the area is okay to build in and that there are no other wrecks that will be affected. Overall, your job here would be to preserve underwater artifacts and protect local wildlife. This job requires a certification that will allow you to dive shipwrecks, you’ll need advanced buoyancy, and even nitrox for longer dives.

Public Safety Diver
Salary: $39,000

Do you know who deals with accidents and crime scenes in bodies of water? Did you know there are specialized diving certifications for law enforcement officers? These divers are called public safety divers; they can be found diving into bodies of water to rescue or recover people or evidence in accidents and on crime scenes. Often times, these divers are faced with dangerous diving conditions with little to no visibility. Public safety diving requires very intense training; one must be prepared to see things that are not only frightening, but also very heartbreaking. You can learn more about being a public safety diver by visiting: https://www.tdisdi.com/erdi/get-certified/

Diving can be extremely rewarding recreationally, but if you truly can’t get enough there’s no reason you shouldn’t explore it as a career. So jump in, do some research, and most importantly keep on diving!


To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.

From its humble beginning in 1994 to today, the group of training agencies Scuba Diving International (SDI), Technical Diving International (TDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) form one of the largest diving certification agencies in the World – International Training. With 24 Regional Offices servicing more than 100 countries, the company today far exceeds the original vision the founders had when they conceived the idea on a napkin, sitting at a kitchen table in the early 1990’s.

Dive Training Blogs

Deptherapy returns to its Roots – Part 6

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Join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy for part 6 of his Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.

Thursday has dawned and it is down to the House Reef with an outgoing tide that is approaching slack so we can get in the water straight away.   Lots of chat about last night’s RAID O2 Provider session with Moudi.  Oatsie is talking about sidemounts and marine biology, Swars is looking forward to his first sidemount session this afternoon.

Moudi is supported by Oatsie this morning and doing some more skill work with Keiron.

Moudi running the guys through the RAID O2 Administrator Course

Corey was asking last night about what it is like at 30 metres, so I have decided that with Michael and Swars we will take him to 30 metres.  We are going to run a narcosis exercise so out comes the slate with the numbers 1 – 25 randomly placed in squares.  Corey’s task, in the dive centre, is as quickly as possible to touch each number in sequence.  He does it pretty quickly and Michael briefs him that he will need to do the same exercise at 30 metres.

Michael briefs the dive and we set off down the beach.  Corey has improved beyond measure and he is becoming a pleasure to dive with.  So we are off to follow the South reef to 30 metres where we will complete the second part of the exercise.

At 30 metres Michael hands Corey the slate; there is a considerable difference in the time to complete the exercise at the surface and at 30 metres.  There are lots of mitigating factors in how quickly you can identify the numbers and explaining a slower time at 30 metres than at the surface does not mean an individual is suffering from narcosis.  Identifying random numbers, if you run the exercise at the surface, several times with an individual over a number of hours can result in wide variations in the time taken to complete the exercise.

We finish the dive with Corey smiling from ear to ear and we have a discussion about depth and air consumption.  The second dive of the morning is a fun dive, then it is lunch in the beach restaurant.  After the burgers I am sure we will need to look at our weighting before the afternoon’s dive.

We will need to look at weighting after this lunch!

Corey and Keiron have got into the habit of recording their dives online using the RAID online log book which is a tremendous facility and as the instructor I can access that data.

Moudi and Keiron are going for a fun dive as are Corey, Oatsie, Michael and myself. Swars is getting kitted up for the first experience of sidemount with Guy Henderson.

Swars getting to grips with his sidemount cylinders

People often look at the relationships that exist between the dive team and our beneficiaries and try to extrapolate a similar relationship to disabled students they might have.  Our relationships are built up over a period of time, in some cases over many years.  We also provide 24/7 support and have chat groups etc on social media; we also meet up socially when we can.  It is somewhat different than a individual coming in to a dive centre and saying ‘I want to dive’. Your relationship is likely to be the same as any other student, you will teach them, they might stay with the dive centre or like many that will go on holiday to do some diving, you might never see them again.

Our main aim is to create a family atmosphere for our programme members, one where they feel secure and they are able to discuss freely with the team and fellow beneficiaries their feelings and needs.

Few dive centres are charities, and owners might want to consider costs of running a course for someone with a disability that might take more than the standard four pool sessions etc.  You may find the number of sessions and the staffing levels have to increase.  Many dive centres, because of their size and turnover are exempt from providing accessibility.  How will this affect someone who is a wheelchair user?  Can they gain access to the dive centre, the classroom, the toilet?  What are the changing facilities, can they get wheelchair access to the pool?

Lots of things to think about.

Roots’ beautiful reef

The reef is beautiful, so much aquatic life and the corals look splendid, especially the pinnacles.

A good day’s diving, Swars has really enjoyed his sidemount.

Lovely way to relax in the evening with the Roots BBQ, a fitting end to a great day.

Last day tomorrow and our final blog!


Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at www.deptherapy.co.uk

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Dive Training Blogs

Deptherapy returns to its Roots – Part 5

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Join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy for part 5 of his Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.

After an evening of chilling out by the pool and in the bar, we are back to the Roots House Reef this morning, with Keiron continuing his RAID Master Rescue Diver Course and enjoying Moudi’s vast experience as he learns more about advanced buoyancy skills.

Not sure where the week has gone; it’s Wednesday already.  A few different things happening today… Oatsie who has just started at Hull University on a Marine Biology Degree Course wants to complete his sidemount course and this afternoon he is out with Guy Henderson to start his learning.  Swars also wants to do the course, as he wants to get into cavern and cave diving.  Swars will start his course tomorrow afternoon and both will spend a day being taught be Steve Rattle on Friday. Hopefully they will both be certified as RAID Sidmount Divers at the end of their training.

Tom putting his sidemount rig together under Guy’s watchful eye

The morning sees Swars and I working with Corey again and taking him through the remainder of skills and OW dives.  He is improving massively but we still have to work on trim and propulsion.

Keiron, unfortunately for him, has Oatsie and Michael for his diver recovery exercises; I am told there may well be an entanglement to deal with!

Conditions are perfect again as we all look forward to three great dives during the day.

90% of those we work with have mental health issues, mainly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of serving in various theatres of war.  If you read some adaptive teaching manuals, they have a task to ‘teach a student with PTSD a skill.’ Hmmmmm how is Oatsie, Swars, Michael or Keiron any different than a student who is free from any mental illness?  The answer is they are not, they are exactly the same. Do you talk to them differently, do you demonstrate skills differently?  The answer is no.

If they have a flashback or a panic attack, then you need to step back and provide whatever assistance is necessary but only if there is a risk of them hurting themselves.  All our team have to undertake and pass the two-day Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course so we can intervene appropriately where the circumstances require it.

Do you know what a panic attack looks like?  Do you know how to respond to a panic attack?

Flashbacks most frequently occur at night time but some do experience day time flashbacks.  Flashbacks can lead to the individual feeling physically and mentally drained and can be triggered by anything that reminds them of the traumatic incident(s) they experienced.  Sometimes there might be a need for one of our medical team to be involved. Often a period of quietness, rest and possibly sleep is required.

Keiron and Corey on the House Reef

We have seen lots of our beneficiaries learn to manage their PTSD. As Chris Middleton said on a BBC programme:

“You can’t beat PTSD but you can learn to manage it.”

In addition to the scuba diving, Deptherapy also provides 24/7 support for our beneficiaries.  Beneficiaries are encouraged to attend the MHFA course with their partner, parent, relative or friend.

Many will have read comments from our beneficiaries, that once they put their heads under the water their demons disappear.  There are several factors to this: the peace, the quiet and the tranquillity that occurs underwater, the beauty of the corals and the amazing aquatic life.

Roots is very much like a retreat for us, we are miles away from any towns, there are no distractions, the nearest town is El Quseir, which is orthodox Muslim so there is no alcohol on sale.  The recent bypass of the main Safaga to El Quesir/Marsa Alam road means that at night time there is no noise, just a brilliant star lit sky.

Roots at night from the beach

Beneficiaries are encouraged to talk openly with the team and their fellow beneficiaries about their injuries/illnesses and provide overwhelming support for each other as Corey found on this trip.

Our aim is to create a family atmosphere and Roots very much contributes to the sense of family and wellbeing.

Sadly, we live in a world where those with mental illnesses are largely discriminated against.  Because few understand mental health, they are fearful of it and try to ignore it.  Please look at the Mind website or even better sign up to a Mental Health First Aid Course.  If you run a business then run the course for your staff, the benefits will be massive.

Back to the diving, Michael and Tom under Moudi’s close supervision gave Keiron some very challenging diver recovery exercises.  Poor Keiron, but he responded tremendously.

Swars, is working well with Corey, ensuring horizontal trim and making sure he uses effective arm strokes for his swimming. We are organising an SMB session, so he can work with different types of SMBs.

Although we haven’t told him, he has finished all his skills but we still have work to do on his trim and propulsion.  We want him to go beyond standards, we want him to be a very competent diver, who despite his devastating injuries, can self-rescue and support a buddy if in need.

The afternoon dive sees Michael joining myself and Swars with Corey.  This dive is about buoyancy, trim and propulsion.  Keiron is doing some more advanced buoyancy work with Moudi.

All roads lead to Roots, is this the future of Google maps?

Oatsie had a great dive with Guy using sidemounts and is looking forward to completing the sidemount course with Swars and Steve Rattle on Friday.

In the evening, and before dinner, Moudi runs the RAID O2 Administrator Course for all five beneficiaries. It is a qualifying part of Keiron’s RAID Master Rescue Diver course but we decided it would benefit all of the guys.

Tomorrow we have decided to take Corey to 30 metres and for him to complete a narcosis test. Join us back here tomorrow to find out how we get on…


Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at www.deptherapy.co.uk

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