What is an occupational Diver

this post covers what it means to work as a professional diver for remuneration. and covers what a commercial diver does!

What does a commercial diver do?

Commercial divers work in a huge range of industries, with one thing in common the core work is performed below the surface of the water or sub-sea. In the industry there are three main types of divers. Those that work with Scuba (SCUBA), those that work with surface supplied breathing apparatus (SSBA) and those that work in or from a closed bell (saturation.)

Depending on the job, the company, the location and the skills of the diver, the style of diving can vary wildly between these three forms. One thing is for certain though, no two divers are likely to have a similar career. 

The roles a commercial diver may perform in his career can include, inspection, installation, cutting, salvage, scientific research, underwater welding and in rare aquaculture instances shark wrestling.

The reality is, a commercial diver has a huge range of opportunities and the potential to earn great money and at the end of the day a commercial diver is just a guy who found a way to make a living (earn a wage) by undertaking underwater work for a profit.

This post summaries the core roles, of a commercial diver, to help give you an idea of what an occupational diver is. for more detail on any type of diving, click on the links to learn a lot more.

CDA Courses

Learn about the many commercial Dive Academy Courses on offer here.


Learn about the Commercial Dive Academy and our vision here.

Types of Commercial Divers

There are a number of different types of Commercial divers who all get to enjoy the day to day grind of underwater labor.

Despite the similarities that come with working underwater, the tools and methods they employ can be wildly different.

The most common occupations for CDA graduates are, Aquaculture, Onshore Construction, Offshore Diving and Deep Ocean Diving.

Aquaculture diver

An Aquaculture diver is a diver who supports the production of farmed marine species such as Salmon, or Tuna. An Aquaculture diver is usually responsible for ensuring the integrity of the nets and well being of the aquatic organisms.

Onshore Construction Diver

An onshore construction diver is a diver who works inland up to maximum depths of around 50 meters. These divers do a huge range of tasks and can have diverse work portfolios. The usual work load includes any work that involves construction activities. Think: Assembly, demolishing, installation, clean, repair, photograph, maintain or salvage.

offshore diver

An offshore diver is a trained commercial diver who usually works in support of the exploration and production sector of the Oil and Gas industry. These divers are employed to undertake construction, inspection and maintenance tasks on offshore vessels, such as oil rigs and sub-sea pipelines.

Deep ocean diver

A deep ocean diver is a diver who works underwater at depths beyond the usual certification depth, for an ADAS diver this would be a diver who works beyond 50 Metres, This diving requires special equipment and normally requires training and usage of a closed bell or saturation system

Scientific diver

A scientific diver is a diver whose main focus is likely research. these divers are usually scientists first and divers second, who use diving as a means to complete there field work.

Police Diver

A police diver, is usually a police officer first and a diver second. As such they have the typical respnosibilities of a police officer as well as those added by

Millitary Diver

Military divers are most often Naval diver, who conduct Military operations underwater. however the army also has work divers who carry out diving using surface supplied breathing apparatus and use hand, pneumatic, hydraulic and explosive tools.

Media Diver

Media diving is a term that covers underwater photography and underwater filming. Medica divers are trained camera operators who cover projects meant for either T.V or Film

Other Commercial Divers

Because Commercial Diving is effectively any work conducted underwater, the true scope is unfathomable.

often, diving is a secondary responsibility for a specific job. These jobs that have diving as a secondary role include:

Scientific diving, Police diving, Millitary diving and media diving

AN ADAS student wearing a Kirby morgan dive helmet

So what is an occupational diver?

in summary an occupational diver, is someone who found a way to make a living doing what they love underwater.

because big money is often involved, occupational diving is subject to all the health and safety regulations of a typical work site.

it is important to note, that an occupational diver is not hired to dive, but instead to peform a specific task underwater. As we have discussed, these tasks can vary from underwater welding, moving and maintaing moorings, maintaining oil and gas platforms, tending to tuna or underwater photography.

At the end of the day there are many different careers that one can have as a commercial diver, but the most important thing, is that you find a job doing what you love.

To learn more about specific careers, just click the links below.