LIFE AS AN UNDERWATER WELDER
by Major Welding ∙ Feb 17th, 2017
Underwater welding is a lucrative and challenging career. You need to have a mechanical mind, a passion for construction and a love of diving to make it here. But as Water Welders shares “you won’t be hunting for treasure troves or working in an underwater bomb shelter while great whites shoot at you with laser beams. It’s underwater construction, plain and simple.”
OFFSHORE/ INLAND SALARIES
As an underwater welder, there are two major types of work: offshore or inland. Offshore employees travel often and working on oil rigs, large pipelines, and marine vessels. Sometimes living on a ship around the clock work. Inland welders don’t travel as often. Most of their work takes place at a lake, river or pond. Usually repairing a bridge or ship.
Offshore welding is extremely difficult. Workers can average pushing 60 hour weeks, making $40,000- $100,000 annually. The job requires a lot of traveling, demanding hours, and deeper dives. Offshore is also seasonal as welders can’t work in the frigid ocean during winter.
Inland is still challenging but they don’t travel as often and work nearer to the water surface. They average a 40-hour week and make anywhere between $40,000-$80,000 annually.
Needless to save, both are tough careers- both mentally and physically.
FINDING WORK AND FUTURE EMPLOYMENT
When finding work, most commercial offshore and inland underwater welders look to secure diving contracts. Once found, the welder will travel to the location- sometimes taking a vessel to the site. Once there they will suit up, check equipment, and make the dive. The first step when under is to check the project and give a report. Once done, they go back down and get started.
If successful, working in this field opens up many other careers options. Underwater welders can become instructors, diving supervisors, inspectors, work in operations, or become an engineer.
LOOKING FOR THIS CAREER PATH?Information on Underwater Welding School/Programs in Canada, please click here.For the available schools/programs globally – click here
Whether offshore or inland, the work is dangerous. Underwater welding is ranked as one of the top five most dangerous jobs- according to Blogger Proud to Be American. They give it a 15% fatality rate, 1,000 more dangerous than being a police officer.
One constant source of injury is an electrical shock. With 300-400 amps running through equipment, underwater welders must always make sure their tools are insulated and safe.
Other common calamities include occupational hazards and decompression sickness. If feeling sick the diver will have to complete an in-water decompression, then enter a decompression chamber. In serious cases, divers withstand long term-cognitive and musculoskeletal issues.
Drowning is the most common cause of death. This results from their air supply cord twisting, it breaking off, and injuries.