Divers work underwater using breathing equipment on
diving projects that are either inland or close to the
shore (inshore), or at sea (offshore). They use their
diving techniques to reach their place of work, which
could be a corroded pipeline of an oil platform, a film
setting, or the deck of sunken ship.
The nature of a diver’s work will depend on their experience and capabilities. Breathing gear changes with the depth of the descent and so do the safety implications. Diving is divided into four main categories:
As well as commercial, scientific, media and archaeological divers, there are also police and military divers. Police divers usually search inland waterways for missing persons or evidence, and military divers may conduct surveys or defuse underwater mines.
Some divers combine teaching with diving and become diving instructors.
Divers generally work long hours depending on the
nature of the work although the amount of time divers
are allowed to spend underwater is strictly controlled.
Many diving jobs offer short-term contract work, so flexibility, and travel, may be required to gain employment.
Working underwater is a high hazard activity and divers must be comfortable with increased pressure at the dive depth. There is generally zero visibility at lower depths and aritifical light must be used. Inland waterways are often dirty if near industrial or urban sites.
Protective clothing and breathing apparatus are worn to survive underwater. Divers may carry their own air tanks, have a line to the surface or use a diving bell. At lower depths it is important to return to the surface slowly to avoid decompression sickness, or 'the bends'. Divers working on some offshore jobs may have to live for up to 28 days in pressure chambers which simulate undersea pressure.
Diving can cause health problems, and divers must pass regular, thorough, medical examinations.
To be a diver you should:
Nearly all divers are self-employed. They are employed in the offshore oil and gas industries, civil engineering and construction, marine and archaeological research, and film, TV and photography. Many of these opportunities are on a short-term contract basis, so you must be flexible and be prepared to travel to look for work. Diving companies tend to be centred around coastal ports and harbours.
Opportunities are available to work overseas, particularly Australia and the Indian Ocean. Qualifications may need to be upgraded to meet the requirements of each country.
As technology improves, more underwater tasks can be carried out by remote-operated vehicles (ROVs), so opportunities for divers are decreasing.
If you would like to know anything about Diving that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
International Marine Contractors Association
5 Lower Belgrave Street
Tel: 020 7824 5520
Cogent (Sector Skills Council for Chemicals, Nuclear, Oil and Gas, Petroleum and Polymers)
Tel: 01224 787800
Professional Association of Diving Instructors
Unit 7, St Philips Central
Tel: 0117 300 7234
The Underwater Centre
Tel: 01397 703786
Nautical Archaeology Society
Forth Cumberland Road
Tel: 023 9281 8419