What is Underwater Construction?

Have you ever thought about how structures like bridges, dams, and pipelines get built? What does it take to engineer, build, maintain, and repair the sub-surface (underwater) portions of these often massive structures? This is where you and your skills as a commercial underwater construction diver enter the picture. Underwater construction is precisely what it sounds like. Divers are the skilled tradespeople and craftsmen of the marine construction industry.

Almost any underwater structure or component will undoubtedly have a diver’s hands on the project at some point. Just like topside construction, the marine version is physically demanding, only much more so due to the environmental challenges of the underwater workplace.

The variety of projects requires divers to use a wide range of skills, tools, and techniques learned in commercial dive school. This is why it is so important to get high quality, professional underwater construction training.

The nature of the job means multi-disciplinary training is essential. As an underwater construction diver, you will be using a variety of specialized tools, such as welding equipment, saws, drills, hammers, and often inspection equipment on jobs requiring repair or maintenance.

Safety is a significant consideration in all construction work and is especially so in underwater construction. Communication with your surface team is ongoing and critical to both successful completion of the work and the safety of all involved.

The range of diver tasks needed for any particular job could entail expertise in salvage, welding, and inspection services. Subsequently, a fully qualified underwater construction diver will need to be trained and certified in these disciplines and others such as saturation diving or hyperbaric chamber operations.

Let’s take a quick look at what those disciplines involve.

● Underwater inspection is one of the higher-paying commercial diving specialties. Commercial divers are responsible for completing required periodic inspections on nearly all marine infrastructure and vessels.

● Underwater welders must be certified and experienced topside welders as well as certified commercial divers with a wide range of experience on both topside and marine welding projects. Hyperbaric (dry underwater) welding is an entire specialty in itself.

● Commercial salvage divers are tasked with locating and recovering everything from lost treasure to equipment to decommissioned underwater structures to sunken vessels, with Costa Concordia being a prime example.

● Saturation divers are among the most skilled and highest paid in the industry. A saturation diver descends in a diving bell, which is their work base and home away from home during the course of the saturation dive. It’s called “saturation diving’ because your body becomes saturated with the breathing gas that you’re using that’s been adjusted as you descend to accommodate changes in depth and pressure. The divers remain on station, in the diving bell, for days and sometimes weeks at a time. It’s something akin to being an astronaut who is hundreds of feet below the surface instead of being in outer space. Saturation divers are required to use a specialized decompression scheduled to return to the surface safely.

A commercial diver’s employment prospects are always enhanced with specialized training and certifications. Take the first step in beginning a rewarding and exciting commercial diving career by taking a look at the comprehensive programs offered at Commercial Divers International!