Biz Wave: Dryden Diving Company, Inc.

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Dryden Diving provides many services in the maritime industry. How many full-time divers and other employees does it have to provide these services?

Dryden Diving utilizes the Wharf and Dock Builders Union to supplement labor, after divers graduate from dive schools, they’re offered an apprenticeship to learn the trade skills. For example, they’ll learn common skills like topside and underwater welding, carpentry, cofferdams, pile driving and any new techniques for marine structural construction. Currently Dryden employs around 20-25 Divers at any given time, ranging from service (24 hour response diving) to construction diving.

What is the age range of Dryden’s underwater welders?

Early thirties is about average; there are some younger divers who have some prodigal talent, though!

What are some of the qualifications for training as an underwater welder at Dryden Diving? Or is it a case-by-case basis?

Utilizing the Wharf and Dock Builders Union, we have access to three tanks (Boston, Philadelphia and Las Vegas) which allow us to test divers on case-by-case basis and train to accommodate generalized construction welding. For example: temporary form work, basic repairs and anodes.

Field welding isn’t something that is developed over night, the more experience divers have preparing and adjusting materials prior to welding, the faster they become skilled and qualified welders. Once divers understand “why” preparation is so important – then it’s safe to say they’re ready for qualification testing.

Do the welders train for a specific underwater welding project that they’re assigned to, or is their training set on a broader level with a multitude of tasks?

We try to train based on a broader level. Welding in the northeast was limited to just temporary forms up until recently. Because of the ability to train close to home and at very versatile hours, we’ve been able to satisfy AWS D3.6 Class B welding standards consistently.

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Dryden Welders getting ready to go in to finish seam welding on the Cell Repair

Has the company seen a trend in which underwater construction projects are “most common” (such as mostly pipework/pillar installment/hull repair, etc.) in your industry or is every job different?

Every job is different! One day we could be working on a hole at the bottom of a car carrier, the next day a nuclear plant. Inspections, pile work and pier maintenance are common, but the infrastructure (oil, power and freight) has required a great deal of repairs recently.

Are Dryden’s Certified Welding Inspectors (CWI) trained to test both topside and underwater welding?

Yes! Consultant work is very much appreciated on projects where there is both topside and underwater welding. Our capabilities range from ASME piping and pressure vessel codes to AWS underwater, structural and ship welding codes. Another added benefit is that our CWI’s are also qualified welders.

In 2010, the American Welding Society’s wet welding standards were set at a higher level. How did these changes affect some companies?

The standards have always been high, however they removed class C welding in order to prevent contractors from taking advantage of clients and engineers who really had no choice to get the work done. They couldn’t afford an extreme wet welding project and really had to depend on the ability of the welder in order to get a reliable weld; or in some cases, just plan to re-weld the project in a matter of months!

Can you provide a basic rundown of Dryden’s non-destructive examination (NDE) program for wet mag particles and how it works?

Magnetic Particle testing is very popular for topside welding. We use a metallic based powder that binds to a magnetic field around defects ferrous metals. The process shows defects in the weld even below the surface, making a visual inspection that much more effective. The process can be done submerged in water, which gives divers the capability to undergo these inspections.

Our NDE Program also consists of ultrasonic testing to verify thicknesses and even some defects below surface. Each of these methods allow us to satisfy customer requirements for quality assurance to verify that quality repairs are being performed.

Dryden works toward partnerships with other companies, not competition. How has this business model proved beneficial?

Contractors don’t always bid on work based only on what they’re capable of, sometimes the only way a contractor can grow is by pushing their own limits. Limits cost money to surpass – welding in general requires a great deal of overhead expenses to qualify procedures, training and obtain equipment.

There are a lot of welders out there, but contractors are required to hold qualifications prior to the welders being allowed to weld in production! Code welding is an expense of its own, and instead of competing for the job, we’d rather help them succeed and supply the welders and procedures they need to get the job done.

 

– Jason Crain, Welding Supervisor at Dryden Diving Company, Inc.

Dryden Diving Company, Inc. provides all manner of commercial diving services including underwater construction, vessel salvage and inspection. They have a location in New Jersey.