Underwater Welding Careers
Are you wondering what it’s like to work as an underwater welder? Here’s a glimpse into what your underwater welding career might look like:
Where you might go
Take a typical oil rig. As an underwater welder, you would meet your dive team at the marina with your bags packed. Your team would get on a crew boat and travel several hours out to the oil rig. It’s important for you as an underwater welder to bring everything you need! Your job as an underwater welder on the rig might take several weeks or several months – and you might not return to the shore during that period of time.
What you might do with an underwater welding career
Once on the oil rig, your underwater welding career would have you participate in an overall inspection of the rig: What cross-members need to be repaired or replaced due to storm damage? What joints have suffered corrosion? Where has the structural integrity of the rig been compromised? Wet welding on the rig starts at the bottom and proceeds toward the top. Since everything on the rig is metal, all repairs and replacements require your expertise as an underwater welder.
Your underwater welding career would likely also include working in a hyperbaric habitat: essentially a large box that allows you as the underwater welder to have a dry environment in which to work. The hyperbaric habitat used on an underwater welding job can be so small there is just room enough for you to insert your hands and manipulate your welding tools, or so large that multiple underwater welders can climb in and work multiple welds simultaneously.
What you might earn as an underwater welder
An underwater welding career can be lucrative. But what determines your underwater welding pay?Underwater welding pay is ultimately based on three key aspects:
- The underwater welder’s personal expertise Underwater welding pay takes the individual very much into account. A fast, efficient, skilled underwater welder will receive a salary corresponding to his or her expertise. As a result, underwater welders’ salaries can increase rapidly as skill is demonstrated.
- The geographic location of the companyUnderwater welding pay in Louisiana, for instance, will typically be less than a comparable job would receive in New York. There are two reasons for this: first, underwater welders’ salaries may be influenced by union wages in one location and not in another. Second, the cost of living of the area usually influences salary levels across the board.
- The type and size of the company Small commercial diving firms may have 1-5 crews, medium companies may have 8-12 crews, and large businesses may have 20 or more crews on staff. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the company, the more they can afford to pay.
Given the above, you have a great deal of control over the underwater welding pay you receive in your underwater welding career!