The skills and qualifications suggested for entering the field of underwater welding are generally recognized as an experienced welder-diver with commercial diving skills. This means you should be familiar with the use of specialized commercial diving equipment, have an understanding of diving physiology, safety, rigging, the underwater environment and communication. You should also be proficient in weld setup and preparation skills such as those tasks typically assigned to a fitter or rigger, such as materials alignment and materials preparation including beveling, stripping of concrete, fitting a steel patch or repair plate. In addition, you will have to certify to a required underwater weld procedure.
The majority of work performed by an average welder-diver does not involve the welding operation itself, but rather executing the tasks that lead up to and follow the actual welding activities. Most important is that a welder-diver must possess both certified welder skills and commercial diving skills. It is suggested that if you have no prior commercial diving experience, you should attend a recognized commercial diving school such as CDA Technical Institute (CDA), formerly Commercial Diving Academy.
As a general rule, candidates seeking underwater welding as a career will decide whether or not they are comfortable with their career choice after completing basic commercial dive training.
Important issues to consider: age and physical limitations
There is no age restriction on commercial welder-divers. The commercial diving profession is physically demanding. It is rare to see an active commercial welder-diver over the age of 50. It is recommended, and generally required, that all commercial divers pass an annual dive physical. Some companies may have other requirements subject to the regulations of the country where they are located, or if the specific job has requirements beyond the standard.
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Want to know more about commercial diving? We've complied a list of helpful links to help.
HYB Diving - www.hybdiving.com
Deep Tech Oceans - http://www.deeptech.com
DiveNet - www.divenet.com
Scuba Diving Directory - www.scubadiving-directory.com
The International Marine Contractors Association - http://www.imca-int.com
National Board of Diving & Hyperbaric Medical Technology - www.nbdhmt.org
Association of Diving Contractors International - www.adc-int.org
Association of Commercial Diving Educators - www.acde.us
National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) - www.nccer.org
National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI Worldwide) - www.naui.com
Divers Alert Network - www.diversalertnetwork.org
Docs Diving Medicine - http://faculty.washington.edu/ekay
DESCO Corporation - https://www.divedesco.com/catalog/index.php
Diving Equipment Company of America (DECA) - http://www.decadiving.com
Aqua Tech Dive Center - www.divecenter.com
OS Systems, Inc. - www.ossystems.com
Specialty Welds - www.specialwelds.com
DiverNet - www.divernet.com
Explore Underwater Magazine - www.exploreuw.com/sc07058.htm