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Commercial Diving Q and A Forum

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Specialist Forums > Commercial Diving Q&A Forum
Posted : July 12, 2007

Iíve been recreationally diving for about 6 years now, and as Iím only 23 I was looking into my options of turning my hobby into a career. Iíve looked over a number of forums, and most people are strongly stressing the difficulty of sustaining such a demanding work schedule (most commercial diving advice seems to be oil/gas rig related) as the majority of commercial work available is in a weeks on Ė week off format. This is something I feel I am prepared for as I have done a number of previous jobs that involved shift work and I feel that this is not a major factor but I wanted your opinion also.

1) How many people do drop out in the first year/few years?
2) Is there any way of getting a realistic taster of the physical/mental demands involved in the majority of commercial diving work?
3) Are most of the commercial diving opportunities based around shift work?

Sorry to go on, but another major concern, and the main reason Iím been writing is to ask about insurance coverage. I have looked in a number of places, but most have stated that they wonít cover me or they will, but only for an exorbitant sum. Do you have any advice on where to look for insurance cover, as I want to know all the costs and difficulties that I may experience before I fork out for the HSE training course!

Posted : July 18, 2007
Thank you for your interesting question.
1. How many people drop out of diving in the first few years is a bit of an unknown? Up to about 1998 the HSE had records based on who applied for diving medicals. The figure was between a quarter and a half of newly trained divers reapplied for a diving medical after 3 years. During that time career development loans were freely available and work was short therefore it is not surprising there was a large drop out rate. Because the HSE do not keep records from oversees it is now impossible to tell. However my best guess is around a half to three quarters of divers that train are still in the industry after three years.
2. Commercial diving work is similar to any construction type work. Remember you do not get paid for diving you get paid for the work you produce in the water. Diving is so varied it is impossible to home in on one job which would give you a realistic taster. Probably rigging would be the closest.
3. Diving can be varied and may include shift work or may not. When I first started diving the majority of the work I did was during the day. Only when I moved offshore was shift work involved. However if you speak to other divers you may get a different story.

As for insurance cover the best people to speak to are the RMT union. They have a free phone number 0800 376 3706.

Answer provided by Alf Leadbitter, The Underwater Centre

Alf Leadbitter
The views expressed by the author are their own and the publishers accept no liability for the advice and views expressed by the author, or other users, which are provided as a general service to divers. Users are warned that secondary posts are the views of other users and may not be technically correct.
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