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Underwater Welding Information: Career and Jobs

Prashant Magar
Jobs that sound conventional can get extremely challenging by simply altering the environment. Welding may be conventional, but underwater welding is really a job of an expert technician cum swimmer cum diver.
Welding is a process in which two metal pieces are joined by fusing them at high temperatures. It has a great deal of application in various sectors of the economy.
But, underwater welding jobs present a whole new vista of careers for young people, which is a good option for an exciting and high-paying career. In order to exhibit your welding skills underwater, there are a lot of factors to be considered before venturing out to the location.

Nature of Underwater Welding Jobs

Essential skills required for this profession are - 
  • Welding
  • Diving
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
  • Operational Monitoring
  • Good Communicator
  • Time Management
The foremost requirement for the jobs is to become a certified diver. The task involves repair works of damaged ship or vessel components; pipelines carrying inflammable substances like oil or gas; construction and maintenance of bridge-supports and so on.
Thus, it involves working under high-pressure and perilous conditions for a long duration. Therefore, along with being an expert welder, one should be a good diver and adept to many different working conditions.
Usually, welding underwater involves use of 6 basic methods: dry welding in habitat, in atmosphere, dry chamber welding, friction stud welding, dry spot welding and wet welding. Wet welding involves direct contact between welding apparatus and water, unlike other methods, where it is performed after isolating the job area from making contact with water.
Since most of it involve use of electrical appliances underwater, it becomes even more challenging. Certainly, it is not meant for the faint-hearted. Nevertheless, one who successfully undergoes the training courses and loves taking up challenges, will surely benefit as it is a high-paying job in most countries.
These jobs also involve traveling to many distant lands and putting up in locations which might not be very comfortable for a stay. Hence, before choosing this career, one must have intense passion and willingness to adapt to different living conditions.
A very important concern is the usage of electricity. Since underwater welding requires a Direct Current (DC) supply rather than Alternating Current (AC), a diver cum welder should be properly insulated against any shocks.
The equipment used in welding should be used only after ensuring proper and spacious working conditions. The dangers are significantly less, when a diver is welding in a pond, lake or a reservoir. But, in the deep seas there is very poor visibility as one goes deeper in the water.
Sometimes, in order to prevent drifting away because of strong ocean currents, a diver has to secure himself to snaffling ropes. Certain marine-life, like jellyfish, stinging worms or sting grays also pose a danger for underwater welders. These professionals earn between USD 38,000 to USD 120,000.
There are a stringent set of rules and guidelines laid down by many competent bodies in the U.S. for an underwater welding career. The American Welding Society, Association of Diving Contractors, the U.S. Navy in tandem with many commercial diving schools help guide the aspirants and govern the technicalities of this job.
There are many commercial training institutes and also US Navy courses for getting started with this career stream. College of Oceaneering, Wilmington, California, is one such institute that offers highly professional and advanced training in underwater welding applications.
Thus, if you are willing to make a determined effort, and love water-related professions, this might just be the adventure and the right profession you are looking for!