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Diving into underwater welding and burning

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a commercial diver and underwater welder? This challenging and unconventional career path demands commitment both to work ethic and adventure and is certainly not for everyone. But for those who love to travel and are looking for a physical and mental challenge, commercial diving can be a rewarding option.

“As commercial divers, we do a ton of underwater work,” said Kelly Korol, director of training and operations, DiveSafe International, Campbell River, B.C. “We do everything from salvage to construction to pouring cement. We also perform inspection diving and then occasionally we get an opportunity to underwater weld.”

Korol explained that two types of welding are performed underwater: hyperbaric welding and wet welding. In hyperbaric welding, a habitat, airspace, or air pocket is submersed and placed over the area that the diver wants to weld. The diver can then swim into the area and weld much like that of a top-side welder.

“The advantage of hyperbaric welding is that you don’t get very fast quenching on the weld,” said Korol. “This makes the weld strong and as good as you would get in a top-side weld. For something like pressure welding or for fixing a pipeline, underwater structure, or vessel hull, this is the best way to do it.”