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Transitioning from Tech to Commercial

Discussion in 'Commercial Divers' started by CAPTAIN SINBAD, May 3, 2020.

  1. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    So, I have quite a lot of experience in commercial dive management, litigation and insurance. So let me paint a picture for this guy.

    He buys an insurance policy and starts working. He destroys something or manages to hurt himself or someone else. Insurance lawyer starts digging and says, 1. Did you get certed by an accredited school as required by current standards, NOPE. 2. Did you use the industry standard and OSHA (REQUIRED) three man dive team? NOPE. 3. Do you possess workers comp insurance? (Comm diving is one of those industry's you can't exempt from as an individual). NOPE. 4. Are you and LLC or and S-Corp? NOPE.

    Right about now is when the insurance company tells you they aren't protecting you against liability or paying your claim.
    CAPTAIN SINBAD likes this.
  2. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Things I learned when I was this many days old.
  3. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    Anyway, Comm Diving sucks, especially right now because of oil prices. Be a nurse, fireman, insurance agent. All of those jobs are safer and pay better/more secure.
    Wookie likes this.
  4. abnfrog

    abnfrog Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: great white north
    yep I only used my com dive ticket twice , still kept it up for years but in the end it wasn't worth it
  5. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    There is some percentage of all of these that a well trained recreational diver will easily understand and there are some that are quite different or not entirely obvious until explained in context. I was a certified diver with 8 years of experience from an old-school 1960-era SCUBA course and obsessively studied the US Navy Diving manual before starting the Navy 2nd Class Diving School. As a cocky 19 year old, I started school convinced that "I already know all this crap". I did know a lot, but far from enough.

    Surface supplied diving and the objective to accomplish work instead of entertaining myself shaded everything I "already knew". Diving physics is the same but context can change -- have you ever considered that a hose failure at the surface can fill your hat with your soft tissues because your check valve failed?

    This still applies to modern hats except helmet squeeze can happen a lot faster. Related differential pressure risks need to be discussed in context so they are in the front of your mind instead of just having a theoretical understanding after something bad happens. Many "gotchas" relate to work-support systems like air lifts, waterjets, burning/welding, and 20,000 PSI water blasters.

    A mixed gas tech diver probably has a greater understanding of diving physiology than some diving supervisors, but decompression and emergency management is very different. Very little diving is done on Nitrox, but a great deal of decompression is done on pure oxygen and in chambers. It varies by jurisdiction but the vast majority of mixed gas diving is in saturation. You probably have more to learn about diving equipment, systems, and procedures than physics and physiology.

    To be sure, having your background will make everything MUCH easier to understand and, more importantly, relate to. A great deal of our concerns as Scuba divers are eliminated or shifts to your tender/bellman and the dive super. Of course you need to have a complete understanding, but a working diver's focus is very different.

    Of course the type of commercial diving you are doing matters a lot. Scraping boat bottoms and changing small props won't be much of a transition. Shallow air diving on a big salvage project is another world, as is saturation diving for the offshore oil industry. Please don't take this as elitist crap from an old commercial diver. Commercial divers are not prepared for technical Scuba diving just neither of us are prepared to be military combat divers. Knowing how to change light bulbs doesn't make someone an electrician.

    IMHO, you risk of missing some small but critically important insights by trying to skip subjects that are familiar is pretty high.

    BTW, I wouldn't consider commercial diving until the price of oil recovers. The entire market (civil engineering, ship's husbandry, etc) will be flooded with lot of highly accomplished oilfield divers while oil is below $40/barrel.
  6. couv

    couv Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: 13th floor of the Ivory Tower
    Sorry but at 44 years old that ain't gonna happen.

    The good money in commercial diving is working offshore. Before you take the plunge, get a job working on an oil platform just to see if you can hack "the life." If you decide you can be away from home most of the time, live offshore with a diverse mixture of people, come home for a while and wonder where your next paycheck may come from, and still be happy with your decision-if you're in your twenties go for it.

    The great money is in sat diving-again, at 44 years old, I'm sorry to say it is just not happening.
    rjack321, Umuntu, Dark Wolf and 2 others like this.
  7. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    Accurate. Even in my 20's I hated the lifestyle.
  8. mac64

    mac64 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Ireland
    Go for it, get a civils ticket and look for work with a small family run business doing harbor work, small repairs and inspections from a work boat or small tug, forget about big money but you might love the lifestyle. Do you have a seaman’s ticket? If not get one.
    couv likes this.
  9. sea_ledford

    sea_ledford Captain

    Related to oil field prospects, my brother works (worked? Haven't spoken to him in a week or so, he might be unemployed at this point) for one of the larger oil field companies in Houston on the office management side, not field worker side. From what I am hearing from him, the next year or so will have a huge impact on the direction of the energy industry as a whole.

    Comparing oil and gas to electric, oil has to stay above $20/barrel to even be competitive with electric, and that is INCLUDING the massive benefit oil and gas has with the established distribution infrastructure (pipelines, refineries, gas stations, etc). As electric distribution and charging stations become more available, batteries get better, etc, the cost of oil has to stay higher than that to remain competitive. With pre-downturn estimates, oil and gas was looking at about 30 more years of O&G having the upperhand, assuming there was no huge game changing breakthrough in electric technology.

    The oil fields they are looking to develop now have to make money for the next 25ish years to pay for themselves and to remain profitable enough to continue to run. They can't/won't continue to develop them at the current price/barrel, so if this downturn lasts for very long, companies will have to take a serious look at weather to develop new fields at all. If new fields don't come online oil prices go up, oil reserves go down and electric takes over much faster.

    Don't quote me on those prices exactly, I'm recalling a conversation I had a month or so ago. But we could be 10-15 years from being electric across the board! That is crazy...

    To keep it related to the OP, there is no way in hell I would get into commercial diving right now.

    CAPTAIN SINBAD Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Woodbridge VA
    Thanks so much for all the information fellows. I was never interested in changing careers to commercial diving. I am too well-established for that. I was more interested in adding certain skills such as some repairs, hull cleaning and underwater welding to what I already know. I am not sure how everyone got the idea that I was looking to cross over into a different profession now but I am definitely not looking to do that.

    Once again, many thanks for everyone's insights.

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