How I got into Commercial Diving

How I got into Commercial Diving

It was September 1993 and together with my girlfriend I arrived at Villamendhoo Island in the Maldives.

I was excitedly looking forward to some Big game fishing, but my mood quickly changed when upon checking in at reception there was a notice saying Big game fishing was cancelled indefinetly.

Malcolm McMullen

Malcolm McMullen

So after about a 20 hours trip here I was stuck with nothing to do. After a couple of nights whining and moaning our relationship was at breaking that’s when it happened.

My wife noticed people walking along the beach with snorkels, flippers, googles and what looked like mini televisions on their wrists, so upon following them she discovered the Island dive school. In her last ditch efforts to put a smile on my face and save the holiday from being a disaster she suggested we go down for a free try dive. By this time I felt guilty about my selfish black mood so thought to myself “What the heck” I’ve got nothing to do anyway so I’ll give it a go.

Going Diving

Next day we turned up and was geared up  and we learned that it was fins and masks, and not flippers and goggles. So there we were all kitted out in dive school gear and walking into the Indian Ocean on a shore try dive.

Wow! As soon as I put my face underwater I was hooked, crystal clear water which stretched out into the ocean. Lots of colorful fish and reef life, that was it for me and my wife, we were captured by the delights of the underwater world. What followed was we enrolled in and qualified from a CMAS dive course which ended up with us both being allowed to go diving the house reef.

From then on in there was no stopping us. We bought all our own gear incl. those mini televisions we had seen = dive computers and we were planning our next DIVING holiday which took us to the Red sea.

After a couple more dive holidays my wife called it a day, but my initial reluctance to take up diving was taken over by an overwhelming desire to dive anywhere I could, of course in order to get the best opportunities to dive I had to join various originations here in Scotland it was Scotsac and in some countries they demanded PADI so I qualified with both. I’ve done a drysuit course which is needed when diving the cold waters in and around Scotland.

Becoming a Commercial Diver

Even at this point I had no intention of becoming or even knew what a commercial diver was. It was a few years after that when I met a guy at the local gym who had a company van with a dive helmet logo on it. He told me he had a marine contractor/diving business in Leith docks 10 minutes from my house. So when he invited me down to have a look at real divers, and get a try dive in the training tank. I simply couldn't refuse.

Official U.S. Navy Page (Flickr)

Official U.S. Navy Page (Flickr)

Upon arriving the next morning I was instantly aware that this is not hobby diving this is real work, there were lorries loaded up with all kinds of equipment heading to jobs all over the UK. There were Decompression chambers, umbilical cables were neatly laid out all around, Kirby Morgan dive helmets were in wooden boxes, I was surprised at how heavy they were: 25kgs.

Welding and ultra-thermic burning cables lay ready to be loaded onto trucks and the place was buzzing with divers signing out for equipment and receiving job instructions, I really felt like I was getting in the way, but guess what:

Yes I went onto enroll on a commercial dive course and gain my tickets to a whole new world of underwater working for a living. My wife and I often reflect on what would have happened if I had got my Big game fishing on that trip to the Maldives all those years ago.

Do you have any plans of becoming a Commercial diver? Drop a comment below and share your plans with us!

About The Author

Brian Mcpherson

Brian has been scuba diving for about 20 years and is booth CMAS, SCOTSAC and PADI certified. He’s been Commercial diving for 10 years, both Air and Sat and the job has taken him to Congo, Angola, Nigeria and the North sea as well as the Atlantic off the Scottish west coast.


  1. Ali

    How would I get into commercial diving?

  2. Arnold G. Figuracion

    a very nice story i hope mine become his also i really like to be a commercial diver too!

  3. Mary Anderson

    A very nice story just shows you how a little simple event in your life changes your whole life. It must be great to have a job you love doing.

  4. fiona

    Very inspiring! Sounds very interesting.

  5. Tony

    This is a really great story and i am now definetly going to give scuba diving a go on my next holiday,dont fancy commercial diving though,its highly paid but very high risk,i will leave that to Brian and his mates. Tony

  6. Cheryl

    Nice story Brian, bet diving in the Maldives is amazing

  7. Chris

    A great story, I have always fancied trying scuba diving in the Maldives. Now on my bucket list.

  8. Neil

    Two years ago I got into commercial diving myself in Italy. I’m a Padi MSDT and my wife got a job in Italy so I moved with her.

    Couldn’t find any work in my own industry and then tried to get a job as a PADI instructor. After some failed tries at that I got in contact with a company doing welding and similar maintenance jobs in a harbor. They offered free upgrades to people that could already dive (in the padi area they required at least divemaster level with lots of training).

    Unfortunately they went bankrupt earlier this year. I’m still working in the harbor but now there is no longer free training into commercial diving.

    • Jim

      Dear Neil;
      Kindly send some link for commercial diving courses. dose PADI certification reduce time and cost of commercial diving training ? . thanks

  9. Jim Olinger

    Nice article. I see these ad’s every month in the back of the PADI diver magazine.

    Can you write another piece with some more detail on exactly what your job is? The high points and the low ones too?

  10. Harikesh

    Am gonna do commercial diving what r the maun courses for it can u tell me plzzzz

    • Brian McPherson

      Contact Grant Jamieson at the Professional diver centre,South Africa that’s where I went to do my training,Its a first class set up and Grant is a top man in commercial diving training. good Luck

  11. elly

    I want to become one, where could I get cgeaper course?.. I am from philippines..


    Good day elly.You should contact Grant Jamieson at the PDC in Durban south Africa,its where I done my courseand its less than half the price of doing it in the UK

  13. Satyaki Bose

    Hello Brian, it was nice reading your story. I really want to get into scuba diving, i’m from india can you suggest me any place where i can get certified as a commercial diver?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Brian McPherson

      Hello Satyaki,
      Thank you for your comment and I’m happy you enjoyed one of my articles.

      I can thoroughly recommend that you contact PDC – professional diving centre – which is in Durban South Africa it is run by Mr Grant Jamieson, I went there all the way from Scotland to do my course because Grant was highly recommended and I wasn’t disappointed, he is a great guy and runs a top class school where you will get first class tuition and training,when I was there 10 Indian guys came to do their courses and they enjoyed it.

      Give Grant an email and tell him I recommended you to him,Let me know how you get on and good luck.
      Regards Brian McPherson

  14. Wilke

    Dear Brian
    Thank you for your article. I always had a love for scuba diving and the ocean. Last year I have taken the big step to pursue my passion and qualified as commercial diver. The hardest part is to get an opportunity to gain work experience in South Africa. Do you have any advice?

  15. Abdurrahman

    How would I get into commercial diving?

  16. Sunny


    I am into scuba diving and right now i am a Dive master with Padi, apart from this i have done courses in Deep diving, Technical diving, Nitrox etc. I wanted to know if i have to switch to commercial diving what course or certificate i will need and does my Padi certification help me in this.


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