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Specialist Forums > Commercial Diving Q&A Forum
Posted : August 6, 2007
Hi There, I was just wondering what commercial qualifications I would need to get to become an underwater videographer/camera man. Once done can I dive on my own or do I need to be in a team/buddy pairing. If so does the buddy/team need to be commercially trained? Also what wage rates should I expect when qualified?



Posted : August 7, 2007
Hello Jools,

I can answer the first part of this question however the field is pretty specialist and not one I have worked in therefore I need to do some research on wage rates.

Commercial Diving (that is for profit) in the UK is covered by the HSE Diving at work regulations 1997. This legislation is split into 6 approved codes of practice (ACOP). One of these is for media diving i.e. the type of diving you are to do. The information on qualifications is on the HSE website at

To dive commercially there needs to be a diving contractor registered with the HSE, The first and foremost duty of the diving contractor is to complete a diving project plan in which they will assess risks and develop procedures to limit those risks. It is hardly likely that diving alone or even using sports diving procedures would comply with any risk assessment. In fact in the media ACOP the smallest team allowed is four therefore diving alone would not be allowed. Having said this most commercial divers are alone in the water but they are connected to a suitably trained support team on the surface by an umbilical or lifeline. Most of this advice is on the HSE website along with free information leaflets.
Answer provided by Alf Leadbitter, The Underwater Centre

Alf Leadbitter
Additional Comment

Posted : August 8, 2007 by - bandicoot
This question was raised on the New Diver's Forum on The Commercial diving Directory recently. It seems that offshore inspection photography and video inspections are on the decline and good practitioners not as sought after as in my day. Visit this thread ASAP because they get exterminated evry so often.
Additional Comment

Posted : August 8, 2007 by - bandicoot
Access is via Yours aye Nick
Additional Comment

Posted : August 8, 2007 by - bandicoot
Thought a bit more about your post. I know of no schools that teach videophotography in the UK but that doesn't mean there aren't any.
As Alf points out you would need some sort of professional diving qualification in the first place for most professional assignments.
You could tap the BBC, who used to have a film school, for info. on this. You could also try websearching for Leo Dickenson, Egil Woxholt and Peter Schoones who, as doyens of the business, would have answers to your questions. There is also a school that specialises in underwater photography in Santa Monica California called the Brooks Institute.
A very old college diving mate, called Chris. Swann, was still teaching there in 95. We both took a 3yr. photography course in the UK and just took those skills underwater in commercial civils and offshore without any problems in the transition. Most colleges have still photographic courses but the one local to me was sadly lacking when I visited it. There is a government body who publish a list of tertiary academies/universities and the courses that they offer throughout the UK but Cannot remember what it is called! Hope this helps. Nick
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