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What Does a Commercial Diver Do?

A commercial diver with engineering expertise may survey the water intakes of a hydroelectric dam.
Commercial divers may specialize in underwater construction or inspection.
A commercial diver may be tasked with finding an object that has sunk in a bay or river.
Commercial divers may take photos of underwater sea life for researchers.
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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Images By: William Warby, Eothman, Zavgsg, Fox17
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2014
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A commercial diver is a professional who is paid to go underwater. Many commercial diving jobs are construction-related, and often involve more services than just diving. The equipment that the commercial diver will use depends upon the type of diving that is being done.

Commercial divers are not just people who are comfortable or proficient underwater. No diving experience is necessary to begin such a career. Since a commercial diver must usually attend diving school and become certified, he can learn diving skills during training.

Commercial diving is a career that can require international travel. Commercial divers are needed in many countries that do not have people with the appropriate skills. Many diving certifications are recognized internationally. Certifications from some schools, however, will not qualify a commercial diver to work in certain countries or industries.

Basic requirements for a commercial diver include the ability to work under stressful conditions. He needs to have a high stamina, be physically fit, and be a good swimmer. A diver needs to work well with others. Most of the work that he performs will be part of a team effort. Additionally, a commercial diver needs to understand things such surface supplied diving, physics, decompression, underwater tools, anatomy, and dive medicine.

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There are number of areas of commercial diving. These include deep sea exploration, hazardous material diving, and underwater welding. One of the most common tasks for commercial divers is supporting offshore oil and gas exploration, production, and maintenance projects.

Offshore diving is one of the areas of professional diving that can provide international travel opportunities. Often, this is the area of the industry where a commercial diving career begins. The work environment for a diver working on an offshore assignment is often difficult, demanding, and dangerous. A commercial diver may be required to reside on a ship for periods of several days to several weeks. During this time, it is common for the commercial diver to work long shifts without a day off.

Some commercial divers also do inland diving. This area of the industry tends to focus on diving in lakes, rivers, and harbors. A commercial diver working inland may support engineering projects, such as the building or survey of bridges and dams. Normally, these divers have more appealing work schedules than offshore divers.

Some commercial divers specialize in certain areas, such as underwater welding or hazardous material diving. Others acquire an array of skills and take various types of diving jobs. It is common for commercial divers to use the job placement services offered by the facilities where they are trained to secure work. Once they become highly qualified, companies may seek them out due to reputation within the industry or previous successfully completed assignments.

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