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Thread: Under water welding

 

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    Under water welding

    I hope i'm asking this in the right forum....

    I am a journeyman welder living in land locked alberta canada. I'm a young guy (23) and i really want to get into under water welding. I am a really strong swimmer, I used to race and I am very at home in any water. i have done alot of snorkeling if that helps at all to.

    I'm taking my first diving class this spring by vancouver (20 min from my moms house )

    I don't want to get into diving just for work. i see it as something that could be alot of fun and i have always wanted to do it.

    I know the best way to kill something fun is to make it your job but i have always wanted to do this as a job to!

    so my questions are these..

    1:How hard is it to learn how to weld under water?
    2:Where is the best place to learn how to weld under water?
    3:How hard is it to get a job in this field?(i herd its really hard to get a start)
    4:Once you have job how much work is there to keep busy?(is the work steady)
    5:What is the pay like? is it about the same as welding with out the under water part?(like how much an hour 30-40 bucks an hour and any overtime/danger pay)
    6:Where would i have to go to find work under water welding? (i would really like to find something in australia its a dream to move/live there)
    7: What certs do you need to get to work in this field and are you more able to get a job if you have more certs then needed for that job?
    8: Is the job any better or worse then an every day type welding job?


    If you have answer to any of these plz post up. Or post if you have something you think i should know

    I would be willing to go anywhere on the plant for this job moving is not a big deal to me and I already work 66 hours a week so that really doesn't bug me either
    I would most like to end up in brisbane Australia..... just throwing it out there

    thanks for the help
    Darcy

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    resource for you

    I am not an underwater welder; however, I have known a few over the years. Most claim they really enjoyed the career - but it is for young people as it is very physically demanding - SO you are considering this at the right age.

    The American Welding Society (AWS) has an article that answers many of your questions: "Taking the Plunge: A Guide to Starting an Underwater Welding Career."
    website: Taking the Plunge - A guide to Starting an Underwater Welding Career

    Take a look at their underwater welding website as well - job board, lists of accredited schools, etc. American Welding Society - Underwater Welding

    I hope some people with experience in this area will also respond to your query as they will be able to give you some real-life responses.

    Welding is a great skill to have. You will be able to find work all over the world. Enjoy your career and your diving.

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    covediver's Avatar
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    Check out the link suggested bu Alabama susana, it addresses a lot of the questions you raise.

    1. With the the welding skills you have, you will probably be a good underwater welder. You can probably be trained to be a good diver given what you say about your love of the skill and comfort in the water, and your enthusiasm. On the other hand, I am a good diver but when I took welding in aviation school the result was not so good.
    2. There are a lot of commercial diving schools that teach underwater welding and the questions about which programs are the best comes up on various threads from time to time. I am partial to the Marine Technology Program at Santa Barbara City College in California 800-965-0581 ext.2429/2427. I suggest you call and talk to them with your questions. I think they will give you straight answers with little pressure to enroll.
    3. In commercial diving, you start at the bottom and work your way up. In the 1990s Gulf of Mexico, wages were low but positions were available. In the last few years, positions and wages have been quite good as there was a lot of work to repair damage from hurricanes and lots of development activity. Don't know anything about current trends.
    4. A lot of work is available sometimes, really steady employment seems to cycle with the offshore energy industry. If alternative energy projects proposed for the offshore areas come to fruition, it could mean a whole new era for people with offshore construction skills.
    5. Don't know about current wages.
    6. Don't know, but AUS has a strong offshore industry.
    7. According to threads on this board, some credentials are more accepted for international employment. The counselors you talk to at the diving schools should be able to tell you more about that.
    8. With some underwater welding, at the end of the shift you go back into a chamber and stay there until the next shift, repeating the procedure until the job is done; with regular welding jobs you don't (well maybe some people do, but it isn't part of the job)

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    muddiver's Avatar
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    1:How hard is it to learn how to weld under water?
    It the U.S. it is as simple as signing a contract with a Commercial Diving school for $15,000, in Canada I don't know how they work the finances for the course, but look around for the school up there. It's highly reccomended that you go there if you plan to work anywhere other than the Gulf of Mexico. Go on CommDive Commercial Diving Jobs & More or Notice for information on dive work outside the U.S. You might get answers on offshoredive.com: The Leading Scuba Diving Site on the Net but be ready for a lot of dirogitory comments as well.

    2:Where is the best place to learn how to weld under water?
    Try DiveSafe International - BC, Canada, Commercial diving courses for careers in Aquaculture, Engineering Inspections, Environmental Surveys, Scientific/Research Diving and more. or Commercial diving schools or Canadian Working Divers (Ontario) or Seneca College Underwater Skills (Ontario).

    3:How hard is it to get a job in this field?(i herd its really hard to get a start)
    In the Gulf of Mexico you drive to a dive company with tools in hand and ask for a job. If they need a tender you get shipped off shore right away. Anywhere else in the U.S. is either union so you have to go to the union hall (usually the Pile Drivers Union) and sign up or it is non-union and they really want an experienced hand.

    4:Once you have job how much work is there to keep busy?(is the work steady)
    It is all based on if you really want to work, or not.

    5:What is the pay like? is it about the same as welding with out the under water part?(like how much an hour 30-40 bucks an hour and any overtime/danger pay)
    In the Gulf of Mexico (bset place to start) the hours are 12 hours a day, 7 days a week until the job is done. Inland (U.S.) you work a reguler shift of 8 hours Monday thru Friday with some overtime, but the jobs can be more sporradic and located all over the place. So there is a lot of travel to job sites.

    Gulf pay is in the $20 to $25 per hour range now. Union pay does vary but it can be $32 per hour for a tender to $65 per hour for a diver, in the water working. I suspect that non-union wages are in teh $25 per hour range.


    6:Where would i have to go to find work under water welding? (i would really like to find something in australia its a dream to move/live there)
    In the U.S. the Gulf of Mexico (see www.offshorediver.com for companies). Near Australia I think it is all over near Thiland. Since you are closer to a non-american school, get your HSE / IMCA certifications and go work in the North Sea.

    7: What certs do you need to get to work in this field and are you more able to get a job if you have more certs then needed for that job?
    In the U.S. you have to have a commercial divers certification from an acredited school (ACDE Association of Commercial Diving Educators) Outside the U.S. you have to have an HSE and an IMCA certification and a hwole slew of safety certifications. Check the local school near you for that list.

    8: Is the job any better or worse then an every day type welding job?
    Do you like being wet all the time, standing for twelve hours in the sun, working in an environment where you can see your hands or the work, otherwise it is just heavy civil construction work. The most dangerous part is usually on the surface walking around on the boat deck, rig deck or work site.

    Keep your feet wet and your ears dry, Muddiver
    "There are old divers and bold divers, but there are no old bold divers". Tom Mix 1995

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    scubadiver888's Avatar
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    Bizarrely enough, I've been told there are more divers per capita in Alberta than any other Canadian province (I would have thought it was BC but maybe not). I know when I was in Calgary I did find a lot better selection of scuba gear and more divers than I meet in Ontario.

    Driving to Lethbridge, from Calgary, I saw a dive park someone had set up. I think it was a quarry that someone dropped a bunch of junk in to make the diving a little more interesting.

    So you don't need to go as far as BC to get dive training. There is plenty in your neck of the woods. Maybe not in Medicine Hat but definitely between you and Calgary there are a few places to get general scuba training.

    When I was a kid I took some welding at trade school. Welding under water isn't much different than welding above water but back then diver training was not as easy to get. The challenge is in the equipment you have to wear to be underwater, the visibility, the fact water is denser and movement is harder, etc. If you are young and in good shape it shouldn't be a problem.

    The important thing is to be comfortable underwater. You want to work on your buoyancy, breathing, etc. Becoming the best scuba diver you can be will mean you are not dealing with scuba diving 'issues' a novice dive might have to deal with as well as welding. If you are finding diving and welding challenging you might be overwhelmed.

    Like people have said, there are commercial diving schools that can help you out with that. Look at Dive Training magazine. They have a link for commercial dive training. Also check out Diver Mag. This is a Canadian magazine so the ads might be more pertinent for you. If you go to an accredited Canadian institution, you should be entitled to government loans (Ontario Student Assistance Program in Ontario. Every province has something plus there is a federal program too). All schools in Canadian have a department that helps you get the loans. You have 10.5 years to pay the loans back.

    Having a welding ticket is good. So long as you are willing to travel there is usually steady work and the pay is good. Being an underwater welder just means you have an extra skill and therefore stand out from the crowd. This means you need to keep up your skills as an above water welder as well.

    You should google "Dr. Phil Nuytten". He is the senior editor of Diver Mag and the inventor of the NewtSuit (a wearable submarine). I cannot remember the name of his company in BC but he is competition to Oceaneering a US company I deal with. You might be able to get some ideas for underwater welding jobs from them.

    Shipyards also used underwater welders. I'd guess oil rigs in the ocean or gulf of mexico use underwater welding.

    You are going to want to go beyond recreational diving. You'll be doing deco diving and most likely on mixed gases. The commercial dive school often work with welders who have no previous dive experience.

    Recreational dive experience will help a little. Having something like TDI or IANTD dive training would be even better. But you might be paying for the same training the commercial dive school will give you.
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    I think Scubadiver888 missed the point. Recreational SCUBA training is not a substitute for a commercial diving certification. Going to some dive park and hanging out with a SCUBA instructor won't count for sh** in the commercial world.

    Anyone that is dumb enough to try to weld under water on SCUBA deserves the Darwin Award. There are too many thing that can go wrong that wearing a commercial diving hard hat will save you from.

    Phil's company is called Nuytco.

    A lot of the work is really in the no-dec range and you can make good money as just an "Air Range" diver without having to get a Saturation Diver rating. Unless you are a Sat diver you won't spend that much time in a chamber. But, chamber rides really cut down on deco time in water. Hanging out at a deco stop just sucks. TDI and IANTD training would be really go and would benifit someone who really wants that Sat diver ticket. Most commercial diving schools stop at air range decompression theory and procedures because you will not need for your first two to four years.

    I just found out that the Association of Diving Contractors web site also lists a number of schools in Canada under the members section. Check it out.

    Keep your feet wet and your ears dry, Muddiver
    "There are old divers and bold divers, but there are no old bold divers". Tom Mix 1995

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    Sorry if my posting was not clear. I was not advocating recreational scuba diving as appropriate training for underwater welding. The original poster mentioned going to BC to learn scuba diving (I'm assuming recreational scuba diving from the context). I was suggesting, if they want to start with recreational scuba there are places closer to home. This way he doesn't have to only dive when visiting his mother.

    I mentioned commercial diving schools and the fact that they take people with no scuba diving skills. I thought this was sufficient for people to understand that I was talking about two separate issues. I apologize if it was not.
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    muddiver's Avatar
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    I see no apology necessary. I also missed the "I want to SCUBA dive" part in the post.

    All of the commercial diving schools down here require a new student to be SCUBA certified. I think that it probably cuts down teh number of false starts and reduces the time learning basic diving and hyperbarric theory.

    Keep your feet wet and your ears dry, Muddiver
    "There are old divers and bold divers, but there are no old bold divers". Tom Mix 1995

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    Wow thanks for all the help guys. I really didn't think i would get post's that would be so much help. I'm calling a dive school on monday from the link MUDDIVER gave me. Its a 5 week course so i'm doing some wishful thinking that it might be cheaper then $15000. I hope i can get EI when i go there or i might have to sell my sky diving stuff. that would be a sad day in my life!

    do any of you know of places that will pay for your training if you sign contract with them for like two years ?? thats how i got all my welding school payed for .... good old flint. but really there must be some places that pay for training if your signed on to work for two years after your training is done. By chance are there any u/w welders who have done or are doing this out there? If so would you mind telling me where? if not i under stand cuz you have to keep your job safe. But if that is the case then could you at lest tell me if places do that so i could maybe call random places till i bug someone enough that they say yes

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    Quote Originally Posted by madprops View Post
    do any of you know of places that will pay for your training if you sign contract with them for like two years ?? i could maybe call random places till i bug someone enough that they say yes
    Kids are so cute, all starry-eyed and full of hope.

    Seriously, you should be asking your questions here:

    http://members.boardhost.com/offshorediver/index.html
    "Clean bottoms are FastBottoms!"

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