I’ve applied and began my studies at Divers Academy International for this next phase of my life. In high school, I attended a technical school for three years to learn welding. I also attended welding classes at night at my local community college. My last year of high school, I worked for a company where I performed a good deal of TIG welding.
The Why: My Reasoning for a Career Underwater
There’s many reasons I’m interested in underwater welding and commercial diving; for starters, it’s a rare field – few people try it, and even fewer succeed. I’m also excited at the prospect of world travel and the opportunity to explore new places. Then there’s the little things, like shock factor.
“What’s your job – what do you do?”
“I dive professionally, and I’m an underwater welder.”
“Wait, what?” I didn’t know that was even possible; how do you weld underwater!?”
Last but not least, I’m looking forward to a good paycheck once I’ve logged a good amount of diving hours.
A Spark of Inspiration to try Underwater Welding
Originally, I heard about this field when I was at my neighbor’s house. He told me about a colleague he works with whose kid attended a commercial diving school. After graduating, the kid ended up finding a job overseas for several months with a hefty pay rate.
My other inspiration for a diving career came just a little while back at my technical school. While in one of the classrooms, I noticed a poster for DAI – their offerings intrigued me, so I decided to look into it
DAI & Certification: It Makes All the Difference
I lived in Pennsylvania, and DAI was the closest of several dive schools in the country to me. I researched the other schools as well, but it came down to certifications: DAI had the certifications I wanted. In addition, the reviews and my other research pointed to DAI as the better school.
I’m looking forward to everything they offer here, from the instruction to certificates to hands-on experience. I want to learn to dive and become certified. I also want to get certified for saturation diving.
But there’s other certifications I would love to earn as well.
I’m a goal-setter, and I made a list of all the certifications I want to achieve to help me in my pursuit of a successful career as a commercial diver and underwater welder:
- Commercial Diving Program Diploma
- ANSI/ACDE 01-2009 Commercial Diver Certification Card
- Red Cross First Aid and CPR Cards
- DAN Oxygen Provider Card
- NDT Magnetic Particle and Dye Penetrant Certification
- KMDSI Hat Inspector Certification
- HAZWOPER 40 hour Hazardous Site Worker Training
- American Petroleum Institute RP2D Rigger Qualification
As of now, I have completed about two weeks of school. I met some instructors and toured the whole facility. Throughout DAI, I’ve seen many high quality pieces of equipment and teaching tools that have impressed me. Off the top of my head, here are just a few things I’ve seen:
- A decompression chamber
- Hot water pumps
- Many air-supply compressors
- Welding machines
- Virtual welder
Swimming Through Formulas
I am anticipating some good, tough challenges as for me, as diving is a whole new world. I am a great swimmer and I love the water, but I’ve never swam deeper than 12 feet in a pool. Learning all the dive charts, formulas and operating as a tender will each present their own set of tasks. But the rewards of passing these “tests” inspires me and motivates me to learn.
As I’ve found in my welding experience, fruitful learning comes through teachers with greater skill than your own. I expect to learn from the best so I can become the best. I expect some difficult challenges, but I will work through them.
Diving Work Where I can Find it
As of now, I’m not sure where I want to work once I graduate. I would like to stay in my local area, but going far away (perhaps offshore) may be my best bet starting off. I intend to inspect and repair bridges and dams as part of my underwater welding experience. At the moment, any type of work will do me good. I’d take any job I was offered.
I’m going do this while I’m young. While I’m working, I’ll save most of my earnings and eventually go back to surface welding and start a family.
Justin Wenrich is an 18-year-old student at Diver’s Academy International in New Jersey studying commercial diving.