Do You Want to be an Under Water Welder?

Having recently sold a Miller XMT 350 welder to a guy in Switzerland who told us he was a diver and under water welder got me thinking!

Is this a dangerous job?! Of course, but there are some great training centres around and the pay can be lucrative.

This coincided with some talk about the most dangerous jobs in the world and seeing as I was sat with a group of Police officers and Fire & Rescue Officers discussing their jobs, I got Googling!

Fitness seems important according to the NUPI training centre for divers, every morning students carry out a physical fitness session in San Diego.

The Polytechnic offers a range of courses for commercial diving and if you are not interested in welding you could become an inspector.  

Professional Certificate in Marine Technology

The Professional Certificate in Marine Technology provides the student with the technical diving skills needed, for entry into the offshore and inland diving industry. This would be as professional marine technicians and commercial divers. The program is fast paced, immersion into surface supply and SCUBA diving. It includes air and helium-oxygen elements, diving safety, professional work habits, underwater work skills, and diving science needed to become a professional commercial diver.
Students will develop problem solving, team building, and communication skills appropriate with this program. After completion of the core training, students will be directed to one of two diving professional concentrations, Dive Med Tech or Non-Destructive Testing.

Curriculum: with links

Underwater Inspection Technology (Nondestructive Testing).

The Nondestructive Testing concentration prepares students to conduct a number of advanced underwater inspection and testing techniques. This is important for ensuring the quality of underwater construction.
The program is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform a variety of inspections. Used to locate and determine the condition of structures, pipes, and components. These range from steel buildings, subsea pipelines and platforms, to engine parts and components.
Students are trained in a variety of Nondestructive Testing methods (NDT) to inspect metals and welds, in particular, as well as non-metallic materials.
Candidates will be trained to American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ANST) Level 1 and Level II standards in Ultrasonic Testing (UT). Plus Magnetic Particle Testing (MT), Dye Penetrant Testing (PT), and Visual Testing (VT). The NDT program instructs the student on underwater applications and uses of many of these inspection methods including underwater photography and video.

Still not sure, how about an underwater medic?  See what the course consists of here

Visit National University Polytechnic Institute’s commercial dive school, located in San Diego, California to check out the various courses including underwater welding that they offer.


An underwater welding career can be lucrative. But what determines your underwater welding pay?

Underwater welding pay is ultimately based on three key aspects:

1. The underwater welder’s personal expertise. Underwater welding pay takes the individual very much into account. A fast, efficient, skilled underwater welder will receive a salary corresponding to his or her expertise. As a result, underwater welders’ salaries can increase rapidly as skill is demonstrated.

2. The geographic location of the company. Underwater welding pay in Louisiana, for instance, will typically be less than a comparable job would receive in New York. There are two reasons for this: first, underwater welders’ salaries may be influenced by union wages in one location and not in another. Second, the cost of living of the area usually influences salary levels across the board.

3. The type and size of the company. Small commercial diving firms may have 1-5 crews, medium companies may have 8-12 crews, and large businesses may have 20 or more crews on staff. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the company, the more they can afford to pay.

Given the above, you have a great deal of control over the underwater welding pay you receive in your underwater welding career!

With the offshore oil and gas industry, there can be no shortage of divers needed especially in the Gulf of Mexico.  As it appears salary is paid by each project it is hard to estimate an annual salary but figures I have seen range from $50,000 to $100,000.

Well worth getting wet for? You don’t have to, Hyperbaric welding is carried out in sealed chambers around the structure to be welded.

Here’s a snippet into what your underwater welding career might look like:

Where you might go.

Take a typical oil rig. As an underwater welder, you would meet your dive team at the marina with your bags packed. Your team would get on a crew boat and travel several hours out to the oil rig. It’s important for you as an underwater welder to bring everything you need! Your job as an underwater welder on the rig might take several weeks or several months. Plus, you might not return to the shore during that period of time.

What you might do.

Once on the oil rig, your underwater welding career would have you participate in an overall inspection of the rig. Including:

  • What cross-members need to be repaired or replaced due to storm damage?
  • What joints have suffered corrosion?
  • Where has the structural integrity of the rig been compromised?

Wet welding on the rig starts at the bottom and proceeds toward the top. Since everything on the rig is metal, all repairs and replacements require your expertise as an underwater welder.

Your underwater welding career would likely also include working in a hyperbaric habitat: essentially a large box that allows you as the underwater welder to have a dry environment in which to work.
The hyperbaric habitat used on an underwater welding job can be so small, there is just room enough for you to insert your hands and manipulate your welding tools. Or so large that multiple underwater welders can climb in and work multiple welds simultaneously.

Westermans, supplier of new, used and refurbished welding equipment could not be further from the oceans. Based in the middle of the United Kingdom however we can ship welders anywhere in the world.  

Brands such as ArcAir, Miller and Lincoln are always in stock for immediate despatch.

This entry was posted in How To.... Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Do You Want to be an Under Water Welder?


  1. comment
  2. Gary says:

    I’ve been in the welding industry for a number of years now and I’ve never considered doing underwater welding. I believe it takes a special kind of person that isn’t afraid and can think quickly

  3. comment
  4. Great article! Safety is our top priority. We give our students top-notch training to ensure they are safe and employable divers ready for work upon graduation.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.