Many welders have expressed an interest in underwater welding. Underwater welding uses a type of shielded metal arc welding, where you have to use a waterproof electrode. In underwater welding the power supply is connected to the welding equipment using cables and hoses.
Before starting a career as an underwater welder there are many factors to take into consideration before you embark on such a rewarding and sometimes dangerous career. Some of these risks include electric shock, decompression sickness and there have been reports of divers developing a metallic taste that has been connected to the breakdown of dental amalgam. Taking all these risk factors into account it is up to you to decide if becoming an underwater welder is the right choice for you.
If you decide underwater welding isn't right for you, there is the option of dry hyperbaric welding, which is done inside a specially constructed positive pressure enclosure. Dry hyperbaric welding is used when a high quality weld is needed. This controlled environment produces a higher quality weld than that of an underwater wet weld.
Both of these different welding environments present their own challenges, which is why the welder must be sure they have the proper training and certification that is required.
Underwater Welding Certification Requirements
In choosing underwater welding as a career it is important that the welder have all the training and certifications required. Working in such an unstable and sometimes dangerous environment is worrisome enough, but if a welder is working without the required training it makes it all the more dangerous.
The American Welding Society defines a welder-diver as a certified welder who is also a commercial diver, capable of performing tasks associated with commercial subsea work, weld setup and preparation and who has the ability to weld in accordance with the AWS D3.6.
If you are a certified welder but do not currently have any commercial diving experience it is recommended that you attend a diving class at a recognized commercial diving school. Some schools may require that you pass a physical and a written test before attending classes.
For a list of commercial diving schools accredited by the Association of Commercial diving, contact the Association of Diving Contractors International. If, on the other hand, you are a certified diver but lacking a welding certification, it is recommended that you look into what welding certification is required by your state.
Once a welder becomes a certified diver there are many options to choose from in their field. Some become diving operations supervisors, engineers, instructors or AWS Certified Welding Inspectors. Many have used their career as a welder-diver as a way to move into the fields listed. With the demand and different types of underwater welding, there are many career paths to choose from for those who decide this is the career for them.