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What are the biggest differences between SCUBA diving and underwater welding

If you’ve earned your open water certification and are comfortable in the water, you’ve likely tried SCUBA diving -- or even use SCUBA as a way to earn part-time income. But the differences between Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus diving and underwater welding are significant. That doesn’t mean you can’t make the transition because many do.

Before you make the transition from SCUBA to underwater welding, what are some things you need to know?

More training and certification

A commercial diver certification requires significantly more training than a standard recreational SCUBA certification. As far as education, you only need an Open Water Certificate to SCUBA dive anywhere. Compare that to an underwater welder who needs certification in commercial diving as well as AWS-certified welding training, not to mention competencies in light and heavy machinery, a more feature-rich uniform, and more.

Increased danger

As a certified commercial diver, you are trained to work in industrial environments that frequently involve heavy construction and dangerous working conditions including electrocution and pressure related injuries. In comparison, a SCUBA professional’s occupation involves a lot less risk, often taking the form of a photographer or tour guide.

A pay raise

Because of the increased danger and additional skills needed, an underwater welder is going to earn a lot more than a SCUBA instructor. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average salary for a commercial diver is $49,090 whereas typical earnings for a SCUBA instructor are between $35,000 and $40,000.

Air supply

Commercial divers such as underwater welders receive a constant supply of air from the surface because welders need longer to work underwater, and they need to be provided with increased time for decompression stops. SCUBA divers, however, are completely cut off from the surface, meaning that they have less time to fix an emergency if it’s discovered. The constant communication with the surface that a commercial diver is afforded means that emergencies can often be prevented and if they can’t there’s more time to provide a solution.

posted 01/23/2018 in Careers, Commercial Diving, Underwater Welding

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