Josh DesJarlais, CDA Class 1106
"Deciding to become a Commercial Diver was not something I came to overnight, nor was it something I took lightly. For me, attending dive school was going to be a major life-changing decision, and I wanted to get it right the first time. Before making my decision I thoroughly researched all of the top schools in the country, and ultimately come to the conclusion that CDA was the clear top choice, which is why I had no reservations about quitting my previous low-paying job and driving cross-country from the Pacific Northwest to Jacksonville, Fl to attend Commercial Diving Academy, where my life would change forever. Not only was I joining a trade school, I was joining a brotherhood: a brotherhood of CDA graduates, and ultimately a closely-knit brotherhood of offshore Gulf divers. The skills and tools I learned from CDA proved to be invaluable. On every hitch offshore and on every boat I was on as a tender, all of us hands that stood out above the rest were CDA graduates. Attending CDA prepared me physically and mentally for the tasks and rigors of offshore diving. From welding, to choking hose, to my Dive Medic Training, I and other CDA graduates stood out among the rest. Within my second week offshore ever, my DMT skills were put to use and I was put in to the saturation system at 200 ft. to bring out a sick diver. 6 months later, I was the Lead Tender and part of the core group on a 4-point dive support vessel. And after just under 14 months tending, I was broken out and diving full-time, including deep-gas diving, and two runs in saturation. I attribute this success to my hard-work and dedication, but also largely to the world-class training I received Commercial Diving Academy, training that cannot be matched at other Dive Training Facilities."
Deedee Ryals, LST for Epic Divers & Marine, CDA Class 1205
"I came to this career path a little later in life than most, so my intent in going to dive school was never to be a long-term commercial diver but to serve my time as one in order to break into the industry. It has long since been a goal of mine and after a major hurricane had hit, the time was never better to go for it. I investigated most all dive schools and in my view there was never a second choice. CDA far exceeded my expectations in their thoroughness in preparing me for this field. Not only was it showing me how to be a commercial diver, they were teaching me how to be successful in this industry for a long term career. They gave me all the essential elements to go from tender on up the ladder to superintendent or project management and all the in between. The knowledge given is the bases for a fundamentally sound future in the diving world; broad but precise. To not take advantage of such a well rounded school would have been a great loss to me in my pursuit of being in the commercial diving industry for a long time. Going to CDA was a perfect match for my goals and i was never disappointed with what i walked away with when I graduated there. The education for a successful career, the personal touch in ones aspirations, and the bonds and friendships shared, all were and continue to be the back bone to my success in the commercial diving industry. Thank u CDA! I highly recommend u to all interested in this pursuit!"
Jay Veremey, Sat Diver, CDA Class 0302
“I still remember the first day I came to the school, with nothing but a desire for a career. Shortly thereafter, I knew I wanted to be a sat diver and through all the trials and tribulations and with the support of a great and understanding wife, I am accomplishing my goals. I work 30 days on/30 days off and have been on jobs at 700 feet for weeks, which is a big step from jumping off the dock, but we all have to learn somehow. Everyone always has questions related to my job, so hopefully this gives you better insight. A recent job involved removing a four leg platform in 120 feet of water, known as a surface job because after the dive is complete, we decompress in a chamber on the surface. This platform was knocked down during Katrina and the depth being 120 feet means the total platform height is around 180 feet from mud line to the deck. The entire top package weighed 185 tons/370,000 pounds and it took over a year of diving to make the lift, which had to be inspected, then the clamps needed to be engineered and fabricated and then we could salvage it. It took us 297 dives to install the clamps to support the lift. Working in the Gulf of Mexico and the South China Sea, we have seen sharks, including a five foot hammerhead and black tips, red snapper, Goliath grouper and plenty of trigger fish. This is just the tip of one of the many aspects my job encompasses.”
Andrew McCutchen, EMT/DMT, CDA Class 1209
"I graduated from the Commercial Diving Academy March 26, 2010 went to work for a inland company doing salvage and ship husbandry. While I was at CDA, I elected to take the EMT/DMT program. I am now contracted by BP as the Coordinator of all Offshore Medical Operations. I was deployed to the Gulf last Saturday, where I was working as a DMT and was on over 4 boats on the first day. The second day I went offshore there were 60 boats. I called in to the Command Center in Mobile, Alabama and they told to to come in that night. I went to the Command Center and received the job to coordinate all Offshore Medical Operations. I now am hiring any and every competent DMT that I can get my hands on. I am paying a day rate of $300 a day per DMT. Also, I am paying them $150 a day when they are on shore. You have helped me employ 9 DMTs as of right now, and within the next few weeks, I am going to need around 25. Every DMT I have on staff has come from CDA. I am willing to hire them straight out of school and take them under my wings and help them learn medical skills and about the offshore industry. Please take the time to read this email to the student body and help me stress the point of the importance of DMT. The training I received from CDA got me where I am now and I can't thank the staff enough for helping me do this.
Thank you for all your help and training and support, which I have received from all staff at CDA."