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Training and Education Required to Become an Underwater Welder

Underwater welding is one of the most demanding areas of welding.  The training and certifications required to perform this type of welding varies on the area you wish to specialize in.  The basic principles of underwater welding are the same as any welding performed on dry land, the only difference is that these techniques must be performed by welders underwater.  Performing welding tasks under water makes these already dangerous tasks much more so.  But, if you receive the proper training and education you will be prepared for any situation that may arise when welding underwater.

To become an underwater welder you must prove that you are able to physically demonstrate the different techniques necessary to become certified in specific welding techniques.  Once you have met the qualifications and have become certified you are required to keep your certifications up to date.  Many welding certifications are maintained and renewed every six months.  If for any reason an underwater welder has not maintained steady work for the six months prior to their recertification they may be required to take the certification exam over.  Once a welder has passed all certification exams required, they can then seek work on oil and gas rigs or on ships.  There are also employment opportunities on underwater pipelines.  The military also trains and uses a large amount of underwater welders in various capacities.

Underwater welders are typically required to repair damaged metal sections of submerged ships or other large vessels.  Military ships that are active often require the services of many welders during the time that they remain active.  Underwater welders who work on oil and gas rigs typically work for thirty days on the rig and are off for the next thirty days.  While welders are on the rigs they must wear wet suits to perform any wet welding using electrodes.  It is also common to use hyperbaric chambers to help divers decompress in emergencies and can also be used to provide welders with a dry area where they can perform welding tasks.

If you’re a welder and are interested in pursuing a career in underwater welding it is suggested that you first receive the proper welding and diving training required for this type of work.  You can usually contact companies that you’re interested in working for to find out what their requirements are.  Once you are aware of what training is required you will know which steps to take to further your career as an underwater welder. 

Ed C.


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