CDA Technical Institute's Commercial Diver Program

Commercial Diving Alumni

Dre H. Commercial Diving AlumniDre Howes - Commercial Diving Class #0711

What made you decide to attend CDA Tech?

“I’ve been in the blue-collar industry for a while and have worked along the east coast doing a lot of welding projects, working in factories and plants and it looked like a new career path that I wanted to take.”

How was your experience at CDA Tech?

“It was good overall, and I really enjoyed my first month going over the dive physics and medical training. It was all fresh and new to me, and my favorite part was going to the grotto for deep water training.”

Describe the process of finding a job out of school.

“I got in touch with 50-60 dive companies and Miami Diver said the would give me a try out. They tried out 20-30 new guys a year and only kept 1-2 so I knew I had to be on point. 

Dre H. - Commercial Diving Class #0711

If I could give any advice for anyone trying to get into commercial diving, I would say be persistent. Calling and emailing will not be enough, you need to be knocking on doors and getting in front of people.”

What sets you apart in the application process?

Right out of school, my blue-collar skills including my welding and construction background is what set me apart, that and work ethic. I grew up on a farm in southwest Virginia, waking up at the crack of dawn and working before and after school. A lot of guys who do well in this industry are good ol’ country boys and farm guys.”

Describe your role as a commercial diver for your current employer.

“The company [Subsea Global Solutions] is based in Miami, but we’re an international company. I just got back from the Bahamas yesterday (after 2 weeks of work), and before that I was in Vera Cruz, Mexico.

We stay gone a lot and travel a whole bunch. Currently, my company has a contract with Disney Cruise Lines and I’m one of the project managers on that job and we head up all of the cleaning, prop polishes and maintenance on the four cruise ships they have.

I’m an all-around dive supervisor, with 80% of my work supervising diving operations. Half the time I’m supervising, I get into the water and do some work such as inspections. I’ve received seal technician training, so I change out a lot of shaft seals on ships which is done with dry habitat bags. It’s like a canvas rubber bag that can be bolted around what we’re working on and we can fill that up with air, and then we dive under the water (underneath the ship) and then we come up in the habitat and take off our dive hats and work in the dry habitat."

Dre H. - Commercial Diving Class #0711

Have you received further training or certifications since CDA Tech?

"In October 2016, I went to the Netherlands for three weeks. There is an equipment manufacturing company that makes parts for ships and they have different training sessions that we go to for when we work on their equipment.

We have a company we work with called Hydroweld, and I’ve been to the underwater welding training courses that they offer. We have welding engineers that write our procedures, class surveyors come and and approve these weld procedures by watching us weld them in our tank to the weld procedure specs and testing them afterwards."

Parting wisdom to future CDA Tech students?

Always be the guy that is two steps ahead of everyone else. A lot of guys get wrapped up and become narrow-minded, and you need to always be a solutions-guy. Don’t get hung up on issues, be a problem solver and always stay humble. I run into too many guys that don’t have the background to show themselves like they do. On the other hand, I know a lot of guys who have been in this industry for 10-15 and they carry themselves very well and they are always learning.”

Kaleb Bouvier - Commercial Diving Class #0616B

Kaleb Bouvier - Commercial Diver - CDA Technical Institute Alumni

What made you decide to attend CDA Tech?

Kaleb considered other dive schools, but the on-campus dorms at CDA Technical Institute allowed him to go to school without having to work a job.

How was your experience at CDA Tech?

Regarding the training, Kaleb said it was “overall good, mostly hands-on with lots of dive time underwater”.

When asked how his classroom studies have served him in the field, he stated that “academics helped as well. Specifically dive charts, dive anatomy and [topics pertaining to] decompression and recompression”.

Kaleb B - Commercial Diver - CDA Technical Institute Alumni

What was your favorite aspect about commercial diving training?

“My favorite part was probably the diving, and most of all the instructors.”

Describe the process of finding a job out of school.

“There were a lot of people – before I went to school and even during – that told me it would be impossible to find a job. Why hire an entry-level diver when there are more experienced ones out there? I graduated November 4, 2016 and took two weeks off. I sent out 3 resumes and they called me 4 hours later offering me a commercial diving job in Florida.

I had 4 jobs to do – which was kind of like an interview. My dive supervisor, based in FT. Worth, Texas said ‘you’ve got to hire this guy if he’s willing to relocate to Ft. Worth’.”

Kaleb accepted the commercial diver position with Water Technology and relocated to Texas soon thereafter. However, shortly after accepting the position with Water Technology in Ft. Worth, he received another job-offer from a commercial diving company based in Kentucky.

Although the dive company in Kentucky offered better compensation, he declined as he had already accepted the first offer in Houston.

Describe your role as a commercial diver for Water Technology.

“I clean and inspect [underwater structures] utilizing underwater cameras and underwater photography. If needed, epoxy is used to repair water towers, potable water tanks, and ground tanks with a capacity up to 10.5 million gallons.” Kaleb also utilizes ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles) to perform inspections on underwater structures that are difficult to reach by a diver.  

“We have two ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles) when inspecting ground tanks that big. These are remotely controlled and equipped with cameras and lighting. I just got off a 4-month job in El Paso, Amarillo & New Mexico which were all dive inspections. We sent in the diver, and performed underwater photography while inspecting the tank.”

Water Technology trained Kaleb on how to pilot the remotely operated vehicles. In addition, they also paid for two additional OSHA certifications – which will add to Kaleb’s resume in the long run. And although Kaleb utilizes underwater technologies such as ROVs, he spends more time in the water diving than behind the controls of an ROV.

ROVs are typically utilized when an inspection needs to be made in rough terrain or an otherwise unreachable area. Kaleb goes on to say that “if the diver can get in the water and it is safe, then we’re always getting in the water”.

What makes a commercial diver employable?

“If you actually want to be a diver, you just have to want it. I’ve wanted to be a diver, I love being underwater and I applied myself when it comes to getting a job. You just have to want it and apply yourself. A lot of people think that because you graduated and got you certifications that everyone will hire you. It doesn’t work like that. However, another diver in my class graduated on a Friday and went to work the very next day. Work is out there. You just have to find it and be dedicated.”

Remotely Operated Vehicle with lighting