How to Become a Commercial Diver

How to Become a Commercial Diver

This is my experience with a commercial dive school. Having decided to embark on a career as a commercial diver my next move was to choose a school to become a commercial diver.

You can also read about how I decided to become a commercial diver.

Pre-course Apprehension

In my country in Scotland, there were two dive centers offering certification courses for commercial diving. I guess the start of this new passion was not lucky enough as one of the dive centers did not have a course during that time. And the other one let me down by canceling just a day before I was supposed to start.

Flickr (Official U.S. Navy Page)

But things changed and I spoke to some of my fellow commercial divers in Scotland. They shared their experience of taking the course in Durban, South Africa and highly recommended to take the course with the Professional Diving Center (PDC). As the training usually takes three months, I was apprehensive at first of going there. But as soon as I was able to talk with the guys from PDC, I decided to make a go for it.

I was doubtful when I first arrive at the PDC facilities. The place was empty as the guys were out for a training dive with only the secretary left at the Office. As I looked around watching the 6-bunk accommodation room inside a metal container, an open shower, a kitchen, a large classroom, and the yard, I started to wonder if this was a good idea. My doubts were relieved only after I saw the guys coming back from dive training. They all welcomed me, made me comfortable while I excitedly watched their gear being unloaded.

Embarking on a Journey as a commercial diver

Paul Yates

After a week of attending lectures and studying my dive manual, my instructor, Grant Jamieson, exposed me to dive training in a tank. I started with a briefing and controlling the valves of the dive helmet. Once underwater, I started learning to switch from surface air supply to my 12-liter bail-out tank connected to the helmet. This is a relatively important skill as part of the emergency procedures when the surface supply encounters some problems. After training in tanks, I started to explore the designated dock area where I was able to descend up to 18 meters (60 feet).

A series of hands-on training led me to develop the skills of welding both on land and underwater. I have done Ultra-Thermic burning (BROCO) with temperatures reaching 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, burning through anything on its way and Air-Jetting using a High-Pressure Jetgun. I also learned Air-lifting in knee-depth mud using a sub-sea suction tube.

Malcolm McMullen

One of the crucial parts of the training dives is the deep dive where some of my classmates failed. You can go as deep as 50 meters (165 feet) in an old slate quarry that has been flooded. We were required to do 4 deep dives. You will usually follow a rope that will trail around and leads you back to the surface. I can describe this dive as dark and muddy with almost 2 feet (0.6 meters) of silt.

Some experience with decompression sickness will inevitably happen when you do commercial diving. So it is paramount for you to learn how to competently use a Decompression Chamber. I admit that there were times when I found it tedious, but I also discovered ways to keep my mind distracted.

My Commercial Diving training ended up with me having 200 minutes of logged dive time. I successfully passed the exams and now am a certified commercial diver. It was hard leaving the PDC premises and my friends, going home with a heavy heart. Fortunately, I arrived back home two weeks before Christmas just in time to spend the holidays with my family and relax.

Downtime and the off-season for commercial diving

Semen Lixodeev

During training, we found it hard that there were no recreational activities in the evenings. We built a patio to play snooker and pool, watched TV or just chatted with each other, telling stories. This was a relatively good way to help us relax and unwind after long days.

You are also trained to do all sorts of non-diving tasks. For example, if weather conditions prevent diving, you can do equipment maintenance, repairs or paint some metal bars to pass the time and ensure a high state of preparedness.

Our instructor also told us that you can go long periods without work. So having other trades or hobbies are very useful to keep you sane. Our instructor shared with us that he drives a freight truck when dive work is scarce.

Do you dream of a career in commercial diving?

It’s by no means not for everyone, but at some point, most divers consider the life of a commercial diver. If you have any questions about the life or training of a commercial diver, leave it in the comment below, and we’ll do our best to answer them.

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Swarag Babu
Swarag Babu
Reply to 

Can you share the expence in pdc

Marcin Kuca
Marcin Kuca
Reply to 

What is the best month/season to attend commercial diving course in Durban considering weather/climate conditions.

Amanda Fslshaw
Amanda Fslshaw
Reply to 

Hi
Interested in. commercial diver jobs or medical diver/ technician.
I am an ambulance technician. I’m an advanced PADI diver by qualification but very little dive hours. Have dived in Turkey and a disused and re rigged quarry.
Although rusty I could improve quickly. I adore the sea and swimming and am a very strong swimmer ( 270 lengths of the leisure centre pool). However I’m 54. Advice? Cheers, Amanda

Tom H
Tom H
Reply to 

Is there an age cut-off? I am 45, and looking for a career change. I am considering 3-4 different trades, and once I switch, that will be my career forever. Is 45 to old to start?

Andrew
Andrew
Reply to  Steve Mefford

Hi, i want to become a saturation diver but im not sure from where to get started since i have no exp. Can anyone give any advice

Billy
Billy
Reply to 

Hey

Do you need to have previous diving experience like PADI in order to do the course?

Afshin
Afshin

How long it’l take to get job

Lewis
Lewis
Reply to 

My son is thinking of becoming a commercial diver. Is he better progressing down the PADI or BSAC route??

Torben Lonne
Member
Torben Lonne
Reply to 

Yes, absolutely. It might be a very male-dominated environment at many commercial workplaces, but there are female commercial divers. I strongly encourage you to go for it!

Olga
Olga
Reply to 

Hey. Is it possible for women to become a commercial diver?

Thembinkosi
Thembinkosi
Reply to 

Hi guys am 28 years old working at the S A N D F South African National defense Force, at 44 Parachute regiment, but now i want to do Commercial diving now, but i don’t know what to do or were to go

Daniel Molloy
Daniel Molloy
Reply to 

Hi,

I’m looking at leaving the military and becoming a commercial diver. How did you find your first diver job and what was it doing? I’m having trouble finding out information on how much work is out there. Thanks

Val robledo
Val robledo
Reply to 

Hello im val im 36 years of age,im working for ship salvaging and refloating here in the phillipines i also make underwater cutting for the past 8yrs.my problem is i only have an open water licensed.i just want someone that can help me upgrade my license.im a workaholic i have many skills im also a welder a fitter.i train a cpr and lifeguarding in boracay.
Pls where and how can i contact the right person to help me.i want to work permanently because i have kids .

Martin
Martin
Reply to 

Could you recommend me a commercial diving school in Europe,UK,or what about NYD in Norway ?Thanks!

George
George
Reply to  Torben Lonne

Was the commercial diving course at PDC difficult and was it worth it?

Hesham
Hesham
Reply to 

Hi iam
Padi divemaster
Sdi instructor
Have over 4000 dive
I want to get In to commercial dive Iam from Egypt live in UK for the last 4 years
What’s the best way to get in this career please advise

Leage bright
Leage bright
Reply to 

It has been my life dream to become a diver, I am currently a student of rivers state university petroleum engineering 29years old. How do I start

Leage bright
Leage bright
Reply to 

Myers

Josh
Josh
Reply to 

Hello, I am 17 years old and I am interested in becoming a commercial diver. Please let me know where to start and how long it will take to become one.

Gaz
Gaz
Reply to 

Diving is something I have an interest in and have the opportunity to qualify in the regular pursuit up to instructor level. I have been looking into the commercial aspect for further down the road once my military service is complete. I have another 8 years to go until I complete a full 22 year service.

I read your article with great interest although I know fear I’ll be looking at being over the hill age wise with being 37 now.

Arthur Adrian Rapay De VIlla
Arthur Adrian Rapay De VIlla
Reply to 

Hi Brain, just read all the concern on this forum.. actually I’m quite interested with this new sport nor lets say career.. I’m currently schooling at CMAS Philippines as open water, but of course still need to go far more as to be commercial diver.. simultaniously enrolled for welding course too… I taking my big shift to this new profession.. now I’m currently working as freelance producer a per project basis .. that is why need a big shifts as permanent career for the sake of my kids…

my question In my age about 38 do you think I’m still capable for this job as Commercial Diver.. need an advise from the expert..and get some pointers..

Nicolai Loenne
Nicolai Loenne
Reply to 

5

Brian McPherson
Brian McPherson
Reply to 

Hello,the best fitness regime is to boost your lung capacity so running up hills.boxing training are highly recommended,i was a professional boxer prior to becoming a diver, Best wishes and let me know how you get on. Brian

Keith R.
Keith R.
Reply to 

Hey Brian, I was wondering if you could give any advice about a suggested fitness regimen to make sure I’m in good shape for dive training.

Brian McPherson
Brian McPherson
Reply to 

Hi Samir.
I would suggest you contact Grant Jameison at the PDC, professional diving centre in Durban south Africa, this is where I went to do my course and at the time I was there 10 indian guys were also doing their training.
You are well taught and looked after by Grant, he is the top man in diver training.
Tell him I recommended you to him, he is a good friend of mine. Brian

samir saha
samir saha
Reply to 

Hi, I am from Bangladesh and really very much interested about scuba diving. I want to learn and do professional course. But in our country there’s no institution like yours..
In such circumstances what can i do to fulfill my dream.
If u can help me then i would be really greatful to you.

Pauline
Pauline
Reply to 

No would never go away from diving for the fun of it. It looks cool with all the gear and big helmets, but I’m not even sure I would be able to carry all of it.

It’s an interesting way of getting into the commercial dive business. I was sure everyone was born to so this kind of diving.

Brian McPherson
Brian McPherson
Reply to 

PJ At 36yrs you are still OK to take up commercial diving but you would need to do it quite soon as it can take 2-3 years to get your name established among companies. Brian McPherson

Jeff Vittorio
Jeff Vittorio
Reply to 

Do you seriously train to operate decompressions camper your self? That sounds so wild.

I have always dreamt of doing work like this. I started diving last year, but I’m not sure how much training I need before I can go all the way.

I’m still in school now, but I consider starting a welding course after and then take a commercial course.

Pj Olszewski
Pj Olszewski
Reply to 

What would be the cut off age? I thought about it…then again I will be 36 this year currently holding a DM cert with PADI. From my understanding I am too old for the job!

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