Construction commercial diver

A construction commercial diver


Commercial divers work below the surface of the water to install equipment, such as hydraulic structures, waterways and marine facilities. They also inspect, remove and repair the structures.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to construction commercial diver:

offshore diver
construction diver
surface supplied diver
commercial diver in construction industry
underwater welder
saturation diver
commercial diver
HAZMAT diver
inshore diver

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as a construction commercial diver, as well as a completed first aid course.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Construction commercial diver is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Construction commercial diver career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to construction commercial diver.

rescue diver
construction scaffolder
terrazzo setter
sprinkler fitter

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of construction commercial diver. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of construction commercial diver with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

underwater construction supervisor
construction quality inspector
rail maintenance technician
plumbing supervisor
construction quality manager

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of construction commercial diver.

  • Diving operation requirements: The operational plan and the contingency plan for the diving operation, the diving equipment to be used in the diving operation, the diving signals to be used in the diving operation, the in-water decompression procedures to be used in the diving operation, and any emergency procedures that might have to be used in the diving operation.
  • Diving equipment: Equipment used for a dive, including wetsuits and drysuits, helmets, scuba equipment and any umbilical equipment which provides the connection with the surface.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of construction commercial diver.

  • Weld in hyperbaric conditions: Use arc welding techniques to make welds in conditions of very high pressure, usually in an underwater dry chamber such as a diving bell. Compensate for the negative consequences of high pressure on a weld, such as the shorter and less steady welding arc.
  • Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
  • Inspect construction supplies: Check construction supplies for damage, moisture, loss or other problems before using the material.
  • Comply with the planned time for the depth of the dive: Ensure that a diver returns from a given depth after the planned time limit has expired.
  • Use rigging equipment: Set up rolling and lifting equipment required to lift and move objects e.g. with a crane or block and tackle system.
  • Follow health and safety procedures in construction: Apply the relevant health and safety procedures in construction in order to prevent accidents, pollution and other risks.
  • Comply with legal requirements for diving operations: Ensure that diving operations comply with legal requirements.
  • Maintain diving equipment: Perform maintenance actions, including small repairs, on diving equipment.
  • Use lift bags: Use bags filled with air to help carry objects underwater, or send them to the surface. Choose the right capacity lift bag for the object to be carried and attach it securely to the object. If multiple bags are used, make sure the lifting capacity is distributed evenly.
  • Weld underwater: Use underwater arc welding equipment to make welds beneath the water surface. Protect yourself from electric shocks by shielding the weld from the water.
  • Use safety equipment in construction: Use elements of protective clothing such as steel-tipped shoes, and gear such as protective goggles, in order to minimise risk of accidents in construction and to mitigate any injury if an accident does occur.
  • Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
  • Check diving equipment: Check diving equipment for valid certification to ensure its suitability. Ensure that any diving equipment is examined by a competent person before use, at least once on each day on which it is to be used. Ensure that it is adequately tested and repaired.
  • Implement dive plans: Implement dive plans, working with the client, vessel teams and marine superintendents.
  • Cope with decompression: Ascend from a dive in stages or slowly according to a decompression plan in order to give the body time to adapt to the lowered pressure. Prevent the buildup of dissolved gases in living tissue, as well as other symptoms linked to rapid ascent, collectively known as decompression sickness or “the bends”.
  • Interrupt diving operations when necessary: Terminate or interrupt the diving operation if continuing the operation is likely to endanger the health or safety of any person involved.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of construction commercial diver. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Diving vessels systems: The characteristics, functioning and way of working with dynamic positioning systems, construction barges and dive support vessels.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of construction commercial diver. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Inspect offshore constructions: Conduct regular inspections during and after the construction of offshore facilities such as oil platforms to ensure risk minimisation and compliance with regulations.
  • Critique the dive with the dive team: Assess the dive with the dive team upon completion. Instruct the diver(s) so as to improve procedures and routines for future dives.
  • Inspect pipelines: Walk flow lines to identify damage or leaks; use electronic detection equipment and conduct visual inspections.
  • Insert charges into drill holes: Transport explosives and safely load explosives into drill holes.
  • Perform underwater bridge inspection: Wade through a body of water to inspect the piles of a bridge. Put on the appropriate equipment, such as weights, and make sure to have an associate present for safety reasons.
  • Work in a construction team: Work as part of a team in a construction project. Communicate efficiently, sharing information with team members and reporting to supervisors. Follow instructions and adapt to changes in a flexible manner.
  • Manage explosives in accordance with legislation: Manage explosives in accordance with explosives law, including tracking and control of the magazine.
  • Dispose of sewage sludge: Operate equipment to pump the sewage sludge and store it into containers in order to transform the gases it emits into energy. After this phase, dry the sludge and evaluate its potential reuse as fertilizer. Dispose of the sludge if it contains hazardous elements.
  • Use wrenches: Use spanners to adjust machinery and equipment.
  • Inspect concrete structures: Visually inspect a concrete structure to see if it is structurally sound. Check for different types of cracks, such as those due to reinforcement corrosion, impact damage or high water content.
  • Install metal gas piping: Safely install gas pipes and tubes made of steel or copper. Install all necessary connectors and modern ball valves. Test the pipe to make sure there are no leaks.
  • Display warnings around dive site: Ensure that warning devices are displayed in the area around a dive site, so as to keep it clear of any equipment other than that associated with the diving operation.
  • Pour concrete underwater: Prepare the construction pit and guide the pipeline used to place the concrete mix underwater in a process called tremie. Ensure a continuous flow of concrete to avoid water going up the pipeline.
  • Dive with scuba equipment: Use scuba equipment to dive without air supply from the surface.
  • Keep personal administration: File and organise personal administration documents comprehensively.
  • Process incoming construction supplies: Receive incoming construction supplies, handle the transaction and enter the supplies into any internal administration system.
  • Cut metal products: Operate cutting and measuring instruments in order to cut/shape pieces of metal into given dimensions.
  • Work in underwater chamber: Work from various types of underwater chambers such as bells, wet bells and underwater habitats. Distinguish the properties of the chamber and keep yourself and others in the chamber safe.
  • Recognise signs of corrosion: Recognise the symptoms of metal showing oxidation reactions with the environment resulting in rusting, copper pitting, stress cracking, and others, and estimate the rate of corrosion.
  • Ensure health and safety of dive teams: Monitor the safety of the dive teams. Ensure that the operation is carried out from a safe, suitable location as per diving operation manual. When necessary, decide whether it is safe to proceed with the dive.
  • Ensure diving operations conform with plan: Ensure that the dive adheres to the operational plan and the contingency plan.
  • Examine prospective blast area: Thoroughly examine explosion areas; determine the appropriate amount of explosives required; ensure compliance to safety regulations.
  • Operate drilling equipment: Operate a range of drilling equipment, pneumatic as well as electrical and mechanical. Tend drilling equipment, monitor and operate it, according to regulations. Safely and efficiently drill holes using the correct equipment, settings, and drill bits.
  • Operate hand drill: Use a hand drill to make holes in various types of material such as stone, brick and wood. Take care to use the appropriate equipment, settings, drill bit and pressure for the task.
  • Repair pipelines: Conduct maintenance and repair work on pipelines to prevent or remedy damages using, if necessary, remote-controlled robots.

ISCO group and title

7541 – Underwater divers

  1. Construction commercial diver – ESCO
  2. Commercial Divers – O*Net Online
  3. Commercial Diver Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  4. Featured image: Photo by NOAA on Unsplash
Last updated on October 3, 2022

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