underwater welder

Underwater Welder employs various common arc welding processes to cut and weld in an aquatic environment. They use their diving and welding skills to lay down strong welds keeping in mind the procedures and protocol prescribed. They often work underwater in tight spaces and surroundings. Normally, they perform wet welding in open waters (up to limited depths) and use hyperbaric chambers and cofferdams for dry welding. Due to safety reasons, Underwater Welders use direct current (DC) settings rather than alternating current (AC) for working.

They use many welding types both for wet and dry underwater welding. They are SMAW, FCAW, friction welding, habitat welding, pressure welding, dry spot welding, dry chamber welding, GTAW, GMAW, and plasma arc welding.


Post Highlights:

  • Educational Qualifications
  • Certification/License
  • Work Experience
  • Duties/Responsibilities
  • Abilities/Skills
  • Work Environment
  • Physical Requirements
  • Top Industries
  • Job Types
  • Salary Information

Educational Qualifications

Underwater Welders require the following education levels-

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent (minimum)
  • Associate’s Degree in Welding, Metals Fabrication, Machining (advanced)
  • Underwater welding and commercial diving program (preferred)
  • Certificate in Welding, Metals Fabrication, Machining (recommended)

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Certification/License

The following are normally required license/certifications-

The prospective applicants should consult the Association of Diving Contractors for diving certifications.

Work Experience

  • Possess related work experience as a welder or diver’s tender (recommended)
  • Apprenticeship program (advanced)

Note: Applicants with more job experience (in years) are preferred.

Duties/Responsibilities

  • Assist project managers in project planning
  • Calibrate all required equipment/materials for welding and diving
  • Identify weld defects and perform nondestructive testing (NDT) accordingly
  • Lay safe/efficient welds underwater in a cofferdam or other marine environment
  • Perform underwater recording and photography for assessment
  • Perform fitting, cutting, and rigging to salvage sunken equipment
  • Survey waters of various depths for potential obstacles

Abilities/Skills

  • Able to work hard under pressure
  • Adaptive to a challenging work environment
  • Bold and courageous as the job requires
  • Excellent diving and swimming skills
  • Maintain fitness and physical strength
  • Motivated and self-directed while working
  • Possess exceptional communication skills
  • Possess productive/positive work ethics
  • Possess teamwork flexibility
  • Well-organized and detail-oriented mind

Work Environment

  • Capable of working for long/irregular work hours
  • Work in a variety of industries (aquatic environment)
  • Work in conditions like rough seas, cold, calm/warm waters, rain
  • Work outside in and out of the water constantly

Physical Requirements

  • Ability to swim unassisted (at least 400 meters)
  • Individuals must be physically/medically fit
  • Require to stay underwater for long hours
  • Require to travel all-around along with coastal regions

Potential Job Risks

Despite being paid well, Underwater Welder normally may/may not face the following common risks/dangers-

  • Electrocution risk while performing welding
  • Gas pockets of hydrogen/oxygen can cause explosions
  • Inhale toxic gases cause decompression sickness
  • Risk of being attacked/killed by aquatic creatures
  • Staying underwater for long-time causes injuries to the nose, ears, or lungs
  • A waterproof suit may cause drowning if gets a defect

Top Industries

Transportation-

  • Maritime Salvage/Recovery
  • Ship Building/Maintenance
  • Subsea Pipelines

Infrastructure-

  • Dams/Levees
  • Seawalls/Marine Docks
  • Waterway Structures

Industrial-

  • Offshore Drilling
  • Open Ocean Wind Turbines
  • Power Generation
  • Water Treatment Facilities

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Job Types

  • Commercial Diver
  • Diver/Tender
  • Underwater Welder

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Salary Information

Underwater Welders are paid smartly due to the hard-working/risky nature of the job. They earn $25.96 hourly or $53,990 yearly. Their yearly income ranges between $25,000 and $80,000. The company volume and education level/skills also determine hourly or yearly salaries. Along with this, underwater welders also get some sort of bonuses and other comprehensive benefits packages.

Related: Other Welding Professions

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