Careers

Underwater Welder Salary: All There Is To Know

Underwater Welder Salary
Written by Godwin Ekpo

Hyperbaric welding, commonly referred to as underwater welding, involves welding under intense pressure. Steel is the most often welded material, and welding can either take place in the water itself (known as wet welding) or in a dry, pressurized enclosure (known as dry welding).

When referring to dry welding, the phrase “hyperbaric welding” is typically used, while “underwater welding” is used for wet settings. Due to the greater control over the welding environment and the availability of pre- and post-weld heat treatments, dry welds typically produce joints of higher quality than wet welds. The underwater welder salary might be of interest to you.

However, evaluating the quality of underwater welds can be difficult, especially with wet welding, as faults may be difficult to see below the weld’s surface. The Russian metallurgist Konstantin Krenov created hyperbaric welding in 1932, and it has since been used to repair ships, pipelines, and offshore oil platforms.

Read: Marine Engineering: A Vast Opportunity Ahead

Underwater Welder: What is it?

Underwater welders carry out hyperbaric welding and other related operations that can be applied in a variety of settings, such as ship repair and the building of oil platforms. In order to increase the variety of ways they might make money from their careers as divers, many commercial divers complete underwater training.

Duties of an Underwater Welder

People who work as underwater welders frequently have the following duties:

  • Wear commercial diving gear while performing hyperbaric welding.
  • Fix the metal parts and machinery in fresh and saltwater bodies of water.
  • Repair underwater structures such as bridges, dams, oil platforms, and other structures in urgent need of repair.

How the Job Goes

Hyperbaric welding and other associated operations performed by an underwater welder are employed in a variety of applications, such as ship repair and the building of oil platforms. Many commercial divers decide to incorporate welding as one of their skills rather than thinking about underwater welding as a primary vocation because the majority of these jobs are only accomplished when necessary. Marine construction companies frequently use full-time underwater welders in their workforces.

Underwater welders may work inland, such as at a dam or a bridge over a river, although ocean-based work may be more typical. However, to increase their chances of getting work, the majority of underwater welders decide to live close to the water. Because underwater welding can be used in many marine industries and requires specialized training, an individual’s job duties can vary greatly depending on their employer.

The need for an underwater welder can arise at any time, which means you’ll need to keep your schedule flexible and be ready to respond swiftly. Tasks related to underwater welding include urgent rigging requirements and emergency repairs. Although many underwater welders work on a freelance or as-needed basis, some may have standard employment contracts. As a result, there are fewer regular daily duties, and most vocations only sometimes call for the use of knowledge in underwater welding.

Regular Work Hours

There isn’t exactly a standard workday for underwater welders. Some underwater welders work on oil rigs and may have to put in extra hours, work seven days a week, without a day off, and work overtime. Additionally, underwater welders are frequently available for emergencies.

Common Employers

The majority of underwater welders working today are employed by oil corporations to maintain offshore oil rigs. However, research facilities, federal, state, and local governments, as well as nuclear power plants, are some other employers of underwater welders.

Training as an Underwater Welder

The risks that come with underwater welding are difficult to overlook, but they are also the reason that underwater welding is one of the highest-paying job possibilities for commercial divers.

Before learning commercial diving, many underwater welders first train to become professional welders. Before pursuing additional training from a recognized college to combine the abilities of an underwater welder, make sure you enroll in high-quality training programs to study both the welding and diving components of the work. Although it may take years to complete, this training helps to reduce the risks of electrocution and drowning.

Uses of Underwater Welding

For a variety of offshore and marine applications, welding is frequently used. Given the challenges and risks associated with underwater welding, much of this work is done in shallow waters or by transferring structures first to dry locations.

However, welding at higher depths can reduce the expense of dry-docking as well as the cost of removing a building from the sea. In addition to these cost reductions, underwater welding can be utilized to make urgent repairs. Underwater welding is employed on a variety of marine infrastructure, including ships, dams, oil rigs, pipelines, bridges, and more. Applications involving nuclear power plants, rivers, canals, and other structures also make use of underwater welding technology.

How much is an Underwater Welder Salary?

Because of the risks involved in the work, underwater welders might earn a very significant yearly salary. The actual pay is based on a variety of factors, including education, location, working conditions, depth of the work, proximity to the coast, dive techniques and equipment, and more. According to statistics, salaries can range from about £25,000 per year to more than £230,000 per year.

Is Underwater Welding a Salable Profession?

A profession in underwater welding can be very profitable, but it also needs extensive training and can be risky. As a result, a lot of submerged welders invest their income to enable early retirement.

How dangerous is Underwater Welding?

Welding done underwater is riskier than welding done on land since it is done in an environment with additional safety considerations. These include power supply, gas pressure, water pressure, diving gear, operating in confined places, and more  Additionally, it is frequently necessary for underwater welders to work in isolated and possibly hazardous offshore sites, like oil rigs and subsea pipelines.

Despite the financial benefits, underwater welding is one of the riskiest occupations you can have. Along with the very real risks of drowning, explosions, and electrocution, working underwater for an extended period of time can cause long-term health problems for your nose, lungs, and hearing.

How To Be an Underwater Welder

There are a few prerequisites to fill underwater welding employment. You don’t need a bachelor’s or associate’s degree to become a certified commercial diver, but you do need to have finished your training. The certification method for underwater welders might vary by country, but the International Diving Schools Association maintains equivalencies and applies them to a 4-level system that starts with commercial scuba certification and goes up to closed bell diving at the highest level.

A potential underwater welder must be certified in welding by the American Welding Society or another recognized organization in addition to having a commercial diving license. Similar to diving certification, there are various levels of training available. Underwater welding is recognized by the AWS 3.6 label. All AWS 3.6-trained programs will offer the necessary certification for employment as an underwater welder.

A career in underwater welding necessitates not just commercial diving and welding certifications, but also proficiency in swimming and overall physical fitness due to the demanding nature of the work. Prior to being recruited, you might need to have a physical examination performed by a doctor, depending on the particular business. Additionally, certified status for underwater welders must be upheld by consistently passing proficiency exams.

Conclusion

Wet and dry welding methods can be broadly categorized as underwater welding. Wet welding employs the bubbles produced by the shielding gas to cover the weld region, while dry welding uses a hyperbaric chamber to provide a dry environment surrounding the area to weld. A lucrative and useful yet risky career is underwater welding. Repairing marine infrastructure and assets, such as offshore pipelines, oil rigs, and ships, uses underwater welding techniques. Nuclear power reactors and other facilities employ underwater welders.

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Godwin Ekpo

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