Generally, the combination of electricity, water and people tends to conjure up images of danger or even death. It is true that welding underwater poses risks for the diver. However, following standard procedures will result in a safe outcome.
About Underwater Welding
Underwater welding is a valuable skill to have in the marine salvage and underwater construction industries. There are always pieces of underwater equipment in need of repair or perhaps structural improvements must be made to an object that is to be brought to the surface. Additionally, there is the welding pay benefit. An underwater welding salary can be substantially higher than the salary of a commercial diver without welding experience.
When considering underwater welding as a solution to a problem, it is important to remember that there are two kinds of underwater welds-namely wet welds and dry welds. Dry welds involve isolating the weld location from any water. There are a variety of methods for performing such underwater welds. Devices may be used to protect the small weld site as well as by using larger chambers that keep even the diver dry.
The dry underwater welding method tends to be more time consuming and can be resource intensive. For this reason it may be cost effective to perform a temporary wet weld instead of the dry weld. In contrast to dry welds, a wet weld is performed without protection from the water. As a result the weld is subjected to environmental conditions that can significantly weaken the long term quality of the weld.
Being submerged in water throughout the welding process, a wet weld is susceptible to hot and cold spots as well as pockets of gases in the weld. Due to these weaknesses, it is advisable to consider wet welds as a temporary patch method rather than a long term solution to a problem. When possible, dry under water welding should be the method of choice.
Underwater Welding Schools
As a career, the outlook for underwater welders is excellent, especially for those with advanced skill sets and certifications. When choosing a career path in welding, there are many different levels of degrees with even more areas of specialization and a variety of programs to choose from. Selecting an underwater welding school will play a significant role in sculpting your future career path. As a result, it is important to select a welding school that is regionally accredited and recognized within the commercial diving industry, national welding accreditation is even better.
If you are interested in working for a specific company, you should find out what areas of welding are of interest to your potential employer so that you can find a commercial diving academy that provides the right underwater welding training to meet the needs of the employer. It is also beneficial to develop additional skills such as underwater rigging that will make you more valuable when searching for diving jobs.
When it comes to underwater welding, experience is a must. It is critical that you select a welding program that provides extensive hands-on instruction in current welding practices, preferably in a setting with fewer students per instructor. Additionally, the welding program that you select should have enough welding machines for each student to have their own to practice on out of the water and should provide many opportunities for using underwater welding equipment. It can also be helpful to attend a standard welding school before enrolling in an underwater program (see our Welding Schools Directory for traditional welding schools).
With experience and certifications, you will be able to qualify for an underwater welder salary and will have more job flexibility.