By Marli Naidoo
There is a big demand for commercial divers worldwide. These divers differ from professional divers in that they are trained to use equipment suitable for underwater tasks.
These divers work in two types of environment: in the ocean, or inland in rivers, dams and harbours. At sea they may work on oil platforms, as detectors or on pipelines. They can also do underwater photography of structures or marine life, do tests and experiments, or set explosives. Inland work includes more engineering-related tasks such as the building and repair of bridges and dams.
The requirements for admission to a training body are as follows:
– You must be at least 18 years old.
– You must have a valid commercial medical certificate for divers. This certificate can only be obtained from a doctor qualified in hyperbaric medicine.
– Basic mathematics is essential. You must be able to do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, work with decimal numbers, fractions and percentages, and solve simple formulas such as gas laws.
– Your swimming capability will be tested. You will be expected to swim 300 metres free style, hold your breath for 20 seconds, swim 25 metres underwater, fetch an object 5 metres underwater and tread water for 1 minute.
– For admission to training you must be able to communicate well in English. This will determine the safety of your training.
Locally the training requirements are determined by the Department of Labour’s divers regulations and internationally by the regulations of the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA).
Divers class 4 is the first level, is 4 weeks long, and you will receive a 30 m SCUBA commercial divers qualification. The next level is class 3, which also lasts 4 weeks. After this you will have a 30 m SSDE (surface supply diver) commercial divers qualification. Divers class 2 is the minimum qualification to start working as a commercial diver. This also entails 4 weeks of training, whereafter you will get a 50 m air divers qualification.
If you want to work on an oil platform as a commercial diver, you will first have to get 2 year’s experience. After that you can apply.
There is more than enough work available in this field. Love of the sea and swimming, good lungs and health, willingness to work away from home for long stretches, and the ability to live with other personnel in small spaces are assets if you would like to work internationally. There is, however, the inland option, which will ensure a more traditional lifestyle.
Post Matric: https://www.postmatric.co.za/commercial-diver/
BS Divers: https://www.bsdivers.co.za/commercial-courses/
Academy of diving and offshore medicine: http://www.divingschool.co.za/home/how-do-i-get-started