Underwater welding is part of the many responsibilities commercial divers perform. It requires using special tools and equipment to repair and maintain structure that are underwater, sometimes up to 1,000 feet underwater.
The job can be dangerous at times, but with the proper training, education and certification, the job is rewarding to the many of these professionals. To protect themselves from potential dangers and ensure all divers return to the surface safely, they almost always work as a team no matter how small the underwater welding project is.
Underwater welders are required to obtain at least a specialized diving training. Vocational training in welding is also helpful. To ensure they these professionals understand the strict procedures for underwater welding, they often work as a helper or apprentice for a few years.
Generally helpers work above water and monitor diving equipment, oxygen supplies and ensure divers are safe. After understanding the safety required, how to properly handle equipment and how each underwater weld is done, they start diving with experienced underwater welders.
Of course there’s always underwater welding dangers. Water can be murky and divers must know where there equipment is to use the right tools for the weld. This requires wearing a belt similar to those of construction workers, which is prepared before each dive, and knowing each tool by touch rather than sight.
To avoid potential dangers, divers stay in constant contact with each other and the land crew monitoring the dive. Safety always takes precedence over completing the job quickly. Not only do they weld in murky waters, waters may be a maze of structures such as steel beams. So although there are dangers, many precautions are taken to ensure no one gets hurt. The U.S. Coast Guard and OSHA have extensive guidelines not only for commercial divers, but recreational divers as well.
Underwater welding dangers are about as dangerous as any construction job. Injuries and death are often a result of faulty equipment or carelessness. Employers of underwater welders take safety very seriously, which is why underwater welders don’t actually do the work until they’re fully trained and ready for the job.
Employers even take the extent of looking for specific personal attributes such as team work and attention to detail before allowing any employee to perform their first dive with the underwater welding team. If you have these characteristics, obtaining training in welding and diving certification could make this a good career choice.