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Thread: Path to becoming a public safety diver

 

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    Griff..'s Avatar
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    Path to becoming a public safety diver

    So I'm currently a Divemaster doing my IDC.

    after some recreational instructor experience, I am looking to maybe go into public safety diving..
    I was just wondering if this is a good Career?
    What's the pay like, is there a need for it?
    Does training come with getting the job or are there recognized organisations you need a cert from

    Thanks
    James

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    PAY...You can get paid for this??? Just kidding. Most dive recovery units are made up of volunteers who do not get paid. The dive units that do get paid to dive, like some LE units, are usually officers first and diving is a secondary duty. They do have a few full time paid dive units out there but they are so few.

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    In most of the fire departments in Florida, firefighters are paid about $15 bi-weekly to be public safety divers also. I believe the law enforcement officers in the area are receiving a similar incentive. Naturally there are extremes where some are doing the diving for "free" (as part of their job requirements) and some are making more than $15 bi-weekly. The variances are likely due to the volume of dive calls these team members respond to.

    There are no "public safety diving jobs" because a huge majority of the departments don't have enough underwater operations to justify having a full-time diver/dive team.
    Blades Robinson
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  4. #4
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    Gary D.'s Avatar
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    Recreational and PSD are quite different.
    Quote Originally Posted by Griff.. View Post
    So I'm currently a Divemaster doing my IDC.

    after some recreational instructor experience, I am looking to maybe go into public safety diving..
    I was just wondering if this is a good Career?Yes it is and a very rewarding one IF you have the right mindset.
    What's the pay like, is there a need for it?The pay is great. My team gets $.50 an hour. Notice that the . is after the dollar sign and not after the 50 But our department supplies the gear and training. This is very unusual in the PSD world.
    Does training come with getting the job or are there recognized organisations you need a cert from

    Play around the PSD site and you will get most if not all of your questions answered. Good luck

    Thanks
    James
    What ever you do in life do it well and do it safe.

  5. #5
    TC
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    Pasted from an earlier thread-

    Quote Originally Posted by TC View Post
    Find out who provides the public safety divers in the area(s) you want to work. Normally it will be a law enforcement agency or a fire department, sometimes a volunteer organization.

    In nearly all agencies public safety diving is not a full time job- it's an extra duty on top of being a law enforcement officer or firefighter.

    See if they use only their full time personnel or if they also use reserves or volunteers. If they only use their full time folks then you will need to get hired, go through their academy or training program. If they use volunteers ask what the requirements are to join.

    For the agencies that use full time personnel find out how long you have to be on the agency before you can apply to be on the team (In many agencies it will be several years). If they use reserves or volunteers then find out what training they expect you to have before you can join and what training they will put you through after you are hired.

    Do some research before anything else- asking the question here shows you are on the right track.

    Do a bit of reading- some books I like- Encyclopedia of Underwater Investigations by Robert Teather, Public Safety Diving by Walt Hendrick and Andrea Zaferes and PSDiver by Mark Phillips.

    Most public safety diving courses are sponsored by these agencies and many are only open to folks that are already on teams. (teaching only folks that are covered by workers compensation should an injury occur tends to lower the liability risks)

    Your profile indicates you only have a couple dozen dives so far, get with a shop or club or find a buddy and go out and get some experience under your belt, as you get more dives in your skills will improve and you will be a better candidate for a team.

    Public safety diving is a highly specialized area and while many of the recreational courses you mention may not be directly applicable they all add to your experience level and help you start to develop skills that will help you throughout your diving career, sport diving or PSD.

    One final thought- if you run across local dive shops or sport diving instructors offering training in public safety diving make sure that the course is being taught by someone with actual experience in public safety diving (and tagging along for a couple of callouts is not enough). If they don't have actual experience in the field save your money and go elsewhere.

    Good luck!

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    Spot on

    You have gotten very solid down to earth information nothing sugar coated here.

    As the other posters have said you would be better off going to work in law
    enforcement or fire where there would be a clear need for your expertise as you will
    soon be an instructor.

    In the early 80's I worked for a the local PD and another officer and myself were the dive team for the entire parish(county). The local FD was just getting into diving. We had to provide our own gear and diddn't paid for any call outs if we were off duty.

    Now as an instructor I am teaching more and more fire and police than ever before. Some have found grants while others get reimbursed for gear or training as budgeted items through their department. None I know of get paid to just be a PSD.

    And yes there are specific courses that you can take to enhance your resume. Some even require that you are a LE or FD member assigned to a dive team before you can even apply.

    My son recently went to work for Galveston PD and during the interview process they saw that he was a Rescue Diver. As they were looking for new members not recreational OW divers but folks who can handle zero vis. this made for some good questions. Galveston PD has a dive/marine division and their officers do get paid extra to be members.

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