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A Career in Underwater Welding vs Underwater Inspection

Fri, 24 April, 2020

Promising a lucrative income with an extraordinary work environment, the underwater industry appeals to adventurous people with a passion for travel and practical minds.

The marine and oil and gas industry require Underwater Welding and Inspection professionals for the repair and maintenance of ships, and offshore oil platforms and pipelines. A career in this field attracts people who want something out of the ordinary and exciting; something different to the mundane office 9 to 5

To start a career in underwater welding no welding experience is required although it is recommended.  You would first need to attend a commercial diving course to become a certified commercial diver.

In order to become a certified commercial diver, a certain level of fitness is mandatory. You will be required to obtain a commercial diving medical, which requires completion on an annual basis.  The commercial diving training course will not only train you how to dive but also provide you with skills to operate commercial diving equipment and teach you how to handle the risks and threats associated with diving.  

Hyperbaric welding is the process of welding at elevated pressures, which are normally underwater. Hyperbaric welding can either take place in the water or in a dry environment; this would be inside a specially constructed, positive pressure enclosure. These welding techniques are predominantly referred to as "hyperbaric welding" when used in a dry environment, and "underwater welding" when in a wet environment. The applications of hyperbaric welding are diverse and can often be used to repair ships, offshore oil platforms, and pipelines. The most common material used for welding is steel.

Underwater inspection can be viewed as a progression in a person’s commercial diving career.

The responsibilities of an underwater inspector include collecting, processing and analyzing the inspection data collated. Reports are generated based on the data, these are then delivered to the project clients. Holding valid certification is mandatory as a means of guaranteeing compliance with industry quality control standards.

Delivery of an inspection and maintenance job involves teamwork between underwater inspection engineers, divers collaborating with ROV technicians, surveyors and subsea engineers. The team is usually based on offshore platforms and vessels.  There are also opportunities for positions based onshore in coastal stations or marine laboratories for those who don’t want to be based offshore.

Once you become a fully qualified commercial diver, you can start your inspection training with TWI. The entry level qualification is CSWIP 3.1U NDT Inspection Diver, which you can then progress on to CSWIP 3.2U NDT Inspection Diver. These courses offer the opportunity for you to later further progress your career to CSWIP 3.3U (ROV Inspector) and/ or CSWIP 3.4U Underwater Inspection Controller. The latter two certification courses are also available to non-diving personnel that can meet the CSWIP entry requirements with sufficient offshore experience and other academic qualifications.  These are assessed by the examiner on a case-by-case basis.  Like any other CSWIP qualification, you would need to return after 5 years to renew and recertify your certification.

Find out more about the CSWIP Underwater Inspection programme delivered in South East Asia.

In addition, if you would like to discuss your career in Underwater Inspection please contact us on and we will be able to put you in touch with our team of experts.


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