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Dive Supervisor
Diver Trainer
Hyperbaric Welder Diver
Offshore Construction Diver
Onshore Construction Diver
Saturation Diver
Scuba, Snorkelling & Dive Instructor [Recreational & Professional]


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Practical Nature or RecreationalAnalytic or Scientific
Skill Level 2Skill Level 3Skill Level 4

 

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. Divers carry out a range of duties underwater using self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA, surface breathing apparatus or underwater work chambers. FutureGrowthModerate

Divers swim underwater to undertake tasks such as seafood gathering, research, salvage and construction.

Divers undertake a range of work activities underwater, from our oceans and rivers, to our ports and harbours. They work in fields as varied as scientific research, military maintenance and repair, offshore or onshore construction, aquaculture and police search and rescue. They may inspect, test and repair boats and other marine vessels, undertake search work, undertake maintenance and harvesting at aquaculture facilities, and may specialise in areas such as underwater photography or welding.

ANZSCO code: 399911

Alternative names: Professional Diver, Commercial Diver

Specialisations: Abalone Diver, Clearance Diver (Navy), Fisheries Diver, Hyperbaric Welder Diver, Offshore Construction Diver, Onshore Construction Diver, Pearl Diver, Saturation Diver, Scientific Diver.

With experience, and sometimes further training, divers may become a ship's diver or dive supervisor.


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

 

Knowledge, skills and attributes

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

  • able to cope with the physical demands of the job

  • able to pass a strict medical examination

  • responsible and safety-conscious

  • able to work as part of a team

  • able to solve mathematical problems.


Diver instructing

Duties and Tasks

Divers may perform the following tasks:

  • inspect diving equipment before diving
  • build, check and repair underwater constructions such as harbour wall foundations, ship hulls, jetties, piers and pipelines, sometimes using cutting or welding equipment
  • use cables, floatation gear or ropes to bring underwater objects to the surface
  • carry out underwater exploration
  • carry out underwater search and rescue operations to recover bodies, stolen goods and other property (police divers)
  • build and look after fish farms
  • operate cameras for underwater filming (such as for nature documentaries)
  • place recording instruments underwater
  • operate decompression and recompression chambers
  • 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.

Working conditions

Divers work in a range of underwater environments, in either fresh or saltwater, in oceans and natural rivers, or in manmade waterways. Their work can be mentally and physically demanding with a lot of time spent underwater. This can be a potentially hazardous occupation so divers must adhere to strict safety standards. Divers may be required to use equipment in awkward positions and in low visibility underwater.
Divers who work at great depths may be required to spend time in a decompression chamber after their dive to allow their bodies to re-adjust to regular air pressure.

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.

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.

Tools and technologies

Divers use self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba), surface-supplied breathing apparatus or underwater work chambers in order to breathe underwater. Depending on the type of work undertaken they may use hand tools, hydraulic and pneumatic power tools, explosives, cameras and other scientific research equipment.

Commercial divers regularly work with the following tools and equipment:

  • Diving equipment (helmets, air tanks, gauges, masks, scuba gear, diving suits)

  • Communication tools (signal lines, radios)

  • Hand tools (sledgehammers)

  • Power tools (drills)

  • Welding equipment (torches)

  • Imaging equipment (cameras, digital recorders)

Education and training/entrance requirements

The qualifications required to become a diver vary according to the work undertaken. In some circumstances a certificate of occupational diving competency that complies with the Australian Standard AS 2815 - Training and Certification of Occupational Divers may be required, whereas other roles may only require a recreational scuba qualification such as those issued by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).

The Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme (ADAS) covers occupational divers and recognises four levels of accreditation, depending on the amount of experience and courses completed.

Commercial diving qualifications are available through short courses, which are provided by training establishments accredited by the Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme (ADAS). These courses can provide the foundation for progressing to higher academic courses within Australia. Costs, duration and entry requirements vary.

All divers should be highly skilled in scuba diving, swimming and hold a current Provide First Aid Certificate. They must also have a certificate of medical fitness to dive, issued by a doctor trained and experienced in underwater medicine. Divers must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a commercial divers licence.

Additional Information

ADAS recognises four levels depending on the amount of experience and courses completed:Level 1 - Occupational SCUBA (onshore to 30m)Level 2 - Surface Supply Breathing Apparatus (onshore to 30m)Level 3 - Surface Supply Breathing Apparatus (offshore to 50m)Level 4 - Saturation/Closed Bell (offshore to open limit).

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.

Commercial diving courses are very costly, ranging from $6000 for occupational scuba divers to $30,000 for saturation divers.

Employment Opportunities

Commercial divers are employed on contracts and work both interstate and overseas. Most find work as onshore construction divers or with the offshore oil and gas industry, state or territory fisheries departments, water authorities, fish farms or civil engineering firms.

Employers of construction divers prefer applicants with a metals and engineering trade background (such as fitting, plumbing, welding, rigging, fitting explosives, electronics and motor mechanics). Although a trade is not essential, divers are expected to be proficient both manually and with tools.

There is little prospect of an untrained person finding employment as a trainee commercial diver. Companies expect potential employees to have some diving experience and a relevant qualification. 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.


Demand for offshore construction divers is strongly linked to the level of offshore oil and gas exploration.

Seafood-related work is also often seasonal.

After retiring from active diving, divers often move to other positions in the industry, such as supervising, dive shop work or operating decompression and recompression chambers.

 

 

 

Dive Supervisor
Leisure and Entertainment

Practical or MechanicalNature or RecreationAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 3Skill Level 4

Offshore Supervisor

Offshore supervision encompasses offshore/inshore oil and gas diving which is regulated by the national offshore regulatory authority responsible. In Australia, that is the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority which acts under under federal/state mirror legislation. FutureGrowthModerate

Most other major oil fields have similar arrangments (the UK HSE and the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority in the North Sea and the US Coast Guard in the Gulf of Mexico for example). In Australian offshore operations, divers must be supervised by trained and certified ADAS Offshore Supervisors who must have complied with the ADAS training and assessment regime.

These supervisors must comply with the requirement to be experienced offshore commercial divers and have the requisite offshore supervisory and ALST panel hours etc. They will have ADAS licences that quite clearly state that they are either ADAS Air or Bell Offshore Supervisors.

These licences are recognised throughout the world by IMCA and also under the Canadian and Netherlands systems.

Dive Supervisor
(Source: DiveZone)


Onshore Supervisor

The Australian and New Zealand Standard 2299.1 requires that all occupational diving operations (including chamber dives) are supervised by a supervisor who has been:

A diver (noting that they do not need to be medically fit to dive, provided that a level of fitness required for the responsibilities undertaken is maintained)
Trained in accordance with AS 2815.5 for supervision of the type of diving operation being conducted and holding a certificate to that effect
Experienced in the diving techniques which may be used, and in the equipment and procedures used in the diving operations to be performed
Appointed in writing by the diver’s employer to supervise diving operations
Trained in first aid including the recognition and first aid management of diving related medical problems, and communicating findings to medical support.
AS 2815.5 details the competencies a supervisor must demonstrate in regard to:

The role of the dive supervisor
Implementing and monitoring occupational health and safety programs
Diving physics, physiology and associated calculations
Managing diving illnesses and medical emergencies
Managing risk associated with dive operations
Planning dive operations
Conducting dive operations
Plant, equipment and maintenance procedures
Managing people
Supervising the use of tools in a dive operation
Supervising on-site chamber operations
Supervising wet bell diving operations.


Onshore Supervisor Training and Assessment

Divers may apply to undertake a formal ADAS onshore supervisor training at an ADAS Accredited Training Establishment (ATE). The Australian Standard AS 2815.5 requires that applicants meet the following criteria:

Be in possession of a valid workplace first aid certificate including CPR and Oxygen Administration
Be trained as a diver to a level equal to or exceeding that specified in AS 2815.1, AS 2815.2, AS 2815.3 or AS 2815.4, as appropriate, and shall have a certificate to that effect issued by the Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme (ADAS)
Be able to demonstrate sufficient maturity, leadership and management skills through supply of a letter of suitability for training as a dive supervisor provided by a recognized diving employer
Demonstrate sufficient operational experience over a range of diving operations, environments, tasks and equipment representative of those likely to be supervised in the future.
As a minimum, the trainee should present logged evidence of operational experience as follows:

SCUBA to 30m (Part 1) dive supervisor: 100 logged SCUBA dives and 100 hours of logged bottom time on SCUBA gained over at least 12 months
SSBA to 30m (Part 2) dive supervisor: 200 logged SSBA dives and 200 hours of logged bottom time on SSBA gained over at least two years
SSBA to 50m (Part 3) dive supervisor: 200 logged dives and 200 hours logged bottom time during occupational dives that include a broad range of high complexity dives involving decompression diving, deep diving (deeper than 40m), dives involving compression chambers and additional specialist equipment such as hot water suits, ancillary service equipment and wet bells, gained over at least two years.
It is desirable that the trainee’s experience include experience in supervisory tasks, such as panel operation, gained under the oversight of a qualified dive supervisor. A certificate of medical fitness to dive in accordance with AS/NZS 2299.1 is preferable but not essential.

The ADAS Aquaculture supervisor qualification is specific for the seafood industry, based on that industry’s particular constraints and needs. The prerequisites for the Aquaculture supervisor qualification recognise that the industry carries out a limited range of diving operations confined to seafood pens.

ADAS Certificate of Competency (Licence)

ADAS will issue successful applicants with a licence as a diving supervisor. The qualification will be based on the candidates ability to meet the relevant selection criteria and demonstrate competence at the required level.

ADAS supervisor qualifications are:

Aquarium supervisor
Occupational SCUBA to 30m (Part 1)
SSBA to 30m (Part 2)
SSBA to 50m (Part 3)
Aquaculture supervisor to 30m
Supervisor certifications are valid for a period of five years. At the end of that time diving supervisors may apply to ADAS to renew their licence.

Vocational Education & Training (VET) Qualification
Accreditation as an ADAS diving supervisor is recognised under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), and a Diploma of Hyperbaric Operations – Dive Supervisor VET certificate will be issued by ADAS together with the ADAS licence.

 

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