My work background consists mainly construction with the opportunity to work with varying tools and construction of different projects. Here’s a few of the highlights that I’ve done so far in my training.
Diving Projects: Divers Institute of Technology
Exxon Project: Underwater Lift & Suspension
In mid-water, I took a piece of a six part project and sent them to the down line at the top valve, suspended. Then on a travel line approximately 15 feet horizontal to the mid-water valve, I filled a lift bag for transport. Finally, I assembled the parts one-by-one and repeated until the project was done.
Mid-water Blackout Project
This is a fun one. You start with a bit of a challenge underwater, with one flange suspended 20 feet down, and another suspended 10 feet down. Each of the flanges are 10 feet apart from each other. All your hand tools are available to you.
Your mask is completely blacked out, so nothing is visible. It simulates a real underwater environment with zero visibility. This may happen because of lack of surface light, equipment barriers, mud and scum in the water or a combination of other things. For this project, you do whatever you feel is necessary to connect the flanges and then bolt them in successfully.
Daily Life in Underwater Welding School
Every day starts at 6:40 a.m. in the hat room. We suit up, grab our hats (diving helmets), neck dams, bailout bottles and first stages. Then by 7:00, all divers are in the water and ready to start on projects. Some students and instructors will tend the divers, and others will run communications and chart dives. Still others will prepare facilities, equipment and look at schedules for upcoming events in the day.
After all dives, each student diver is given a neurological exam to make sure they weren’t “bent” nor received an AGE or DCS. Those two would require treatment in a hyperbaric chamber. After that we check hats back to the tool room and then clean up and set up everything for the next day.
Everyone works as a team up top, and we often participate as teams underwater, though we also have a few solo projects.
Career in the Making: Diving Offshore
I’m definitely working to catch an offshore job. It will most likely come out of the Louisiana coast on a rig as a tender, with plans to gain experience for a lead diver position.
Later in my career, I’d like to find a higher ranking position in the maritime industry. Along with my offshore diving experience, I’m interested in exploring nuclear diving.
Jake Jensen is a student at Divers Institute of Technology. He’s completing his training to gain diving experience and to find offshore employment in the Gulf of Mexico on oil rigs.