Science, Technology & Environment

Diver

Commercial or professional divers work below water, using scuba gear to inspect, repair, remove, or install equipment and structures.

  • Entry-level education

    Private training course

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Diver do?

Commercial or professional divers work below water, using scuba gear to inspect, repair, remove, or install equipment and structures. They may use a variety of power and hand tools, such as drills, sledgehammers, torches, and welding equipment. They may also conduct tests or experiments, rig explosives, or photograph structures or marine life.

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Work activities

As a diver, you would:

  • communicate with workers on the surface while underwater, using signal lines or telephones
  • take appropriate safety precautions, such as monitoring dive lengths and depths and registering with authorities before diving expeditions begin
  • check and maintain diving equipment, such as helmets, masks, air tanks, harnesses, or gauges
  • descend into water with the aid of diver helpers, using scuba gear or diving suits
  • obtain information about diving tasks and environmental conditions
  • build, check and repair underwater constructions such as harbour wall foundations, ship hulls, jetties, piers and pipelines.
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Key skills and interests

To become a diver, you would need:

  • physical fitness to cope with the demands of the job
  • the ability to pass a strict medical examination
  • responsibility and a safety-conscious attitude
  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • the ability to solve mathematical problems.

You must have excellent swimming ability, calmness under pressure, and good levels of concentration under demanding physical conditions.

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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

The amount of time commercial divers are allowed to spend underwater is strictly controlled, but hours can still be long and intensive. Not all your time is spent under water, as you would also spend time planning for the dive and preparing equipment.

Conditions

Professional diving is both physically and mentally demanding, with a lot of time spent working under water. It is a potentially hazardous occupation, so divers must work under strict safety standards.

Conditions under water are often cold, dark and dirty. You would wear protective clothing and breathing apparatus appropriate to the depth and type of dive.

A lot of commercial divers are self-employed and a lot of the jobs available are on a contract basis.

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How to become an Diver?

Entry Level Education

You usually need to attain certification as a commercial diver, although in some areas (such as abalone diving and reef fish collecting), a recreational scuba qualification such as those issued by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) may be sufficient. The required qualifications vary depending on the specialist area you wish to work in.

Commercial diving qualifications are available through short courses, which are provided by training establishments accredited by the Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme (ADAS). Costs, duration and entry requirements vary.

To apply for a commercial diving licence, you must be at least 18 years of age, hold a certificate of recreational diving competence and be able to swim competently. You must also hold a current First Aid certificate and be highly skilled in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or oxygen administration. Applicants must also have a certificate of medical fitness, issued by a doctor trained and experienced in underwater medicine.

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Commercial diving is a highly specialised occupation. Many underwater tasks can now be carried out by remote-operated vehicles (ROVs), but ROVs have not replaced the need for skilled divers.

Opportunities are often available overseas, although some countries demand different diving qualifications so you may need extra training before you could work in certain places.

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