Expanding our cultural and social horizons helps to keep humanity moving forward. More, now then ever before, underwater welding has become an essential part of building the infrastructure humanity relies on. To become a better welder is always the goal, and there are a few different ways to improve your skills. Travelling is one of the best ways to expose your mind to this rich and beautiful world around us. While there are a few jobs that let you travel, one of the easiest ways to do it is through welding.
Being open to fluid work situations and travel plans can help you gain experience in many different welding environments and will speed up advancement in your career. Depending on where you go and the job you are working on, there will be other welders. These experienced welders have a lifetime of knowledge to share and are looking for open minded and hard working individuals to help carry on that legacy.
Underwater welding in particular has endless possibilities and opportunities to take the welder over-seas to different countries and different environments. The ability to weld in any position, with limited visibility, and with absolute precision is what sets these welders apart. But most of all, these travelling welders get to see beautiful places and the different cultures around the world.
Many underwater welders find that the beautiful surface world is enough to justify the travel, but it is the amazing marine world that will keep you involved in your work. Seeing the different marine biology and ecosystems close up is a personal and engaging experience, and sometimes that is reward enough. Learning to work with and around nature is important.
Whether you travel to a distant shipyard, oil rig, or research facility, there will are beautiful sights to be seen. While some marine animals are friendly, and it pays well to avoid others, simply being a part of the environment is amazing. There is nothing quite like experiencing the same weightlessness and freedom of aquatic life.
For a long time, the secrets and mysteries hidden beneath the waves were thought to have been lost. Significant advances in technology and the bravery of people to go where none had gone before, changed that all of that. Becoming an integral member of a team, while exploring history and time itself, is rewarding.
Obviously the group that discovered the Titanic had to use a few variants of submersibles; but did you know that these machines were manned and operated by divers? Even the unmanned machines needed people who were knowledgeable about ocean conditions to keep them on track.
Many shallower projects need divers and welders to retrieve objects of interest, or to increase the ease of access to certain areas. The work required and methods used change from jobsite to jobsite, and you can never quite know what to expect. Being open minded and able to adapt to such situations will help you go far in your career.
Perhaps one of the biggest incentives for underwater welders/divers is the wage. A welder in the underwater welding environment has a substantial income boost. The specific rate of pay varies on what type of work, as well as how far the welder travels.
If you are known for high quality work and a good work ethic, that can help to secure employment with whomever and wherever you wish. All underwater welders start as “tenders”, this is the apprenticeship of underwater welding. They usually make less then the senior divers, but have the opportunity to learn from the best and most experienced.
The income an underwater welder makes can depend on the industry the welder works in, as well as the amount of experience. A welder can expect to make around $35,000 starting out and this amount can grow to over $80,000 a year when the welder becomes experienced*. Showing a good work ethic and high quality welds can help speed up this process as well.
While an underwater welders’ salary can depend on the industry and length of experience in the field, the time of year and location of their work can change their schedule. The location of underwater welding sites varies based on the nature of the work. Some welders work offshore while others work inland, and this can also have an effect on an underwater welders yearly income as well.
Offshore welders tend to work on oil rigs, pipelines, drills, and complete repairs of ships still at sea. The season usually runs from April to November, the unpredictable weather conditions and harsh wave patterns make underwater welding impossible in the winter months. The welders will work for 4 – 6 weeks at sea, come home for 7 – 10 days, and then go out again. Working 10+ hours daily racks up a lot of over time as well!
Inland underwater welders have a different kind of schedule. It is still possible to complete work in inclement weather from the safety of a harbor. A year-round schedule with regular hours every week allows for some time off on the weekends. The flexibility of am inshore gig is what draws most of the underwater welders, as well as it being easier to gain experience in a calmer aquatic environment
While an experienced welder has prestige, taking metalworking to the next level will introduce the welder to a different class of people. Underwater welding has its risks and rewards, but it is the ability to make split-second decisions and communicate well with a team that sets these welders apart. Compensating for everything that nature throws at you while still completing high-quality work takes time and dedication.
It is important to KNOW that you want to become a part of this exclusive community, and that you are willing to put in the effort. Finding the best welding and diving school is a great start, and having an academy that will help you get that first job as soon as you graduate can help as well. Have interest and focus on the art of underwater welding to help convince the more experienced professionals to mentor you.