JUMPING SHIP: SCUBA JOBS
We’ve all done it; whether you’re sat in traffic or staring out the window at the rain, there will have been times that you’ve wished for a little more scuba in your life. In fact, what if scuba was your life?
‘Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life,’ Confucius.
The most obvious of jobs, the life of a diving instructor is one you should consider carefully. Yes, you can work in some fabulous locations and dive almost every day but the days are long, and the work is hard. It can be a lot of fun; you’ll see some jaw-dropping things and meet some great people, but it can be stressful and challenging too. It’s a career you choose for the love of it and not its pay packet. Yes, there are those elite trainers at the top of the pile who do earn big bucks but take a second and understand the investment in training and equipment it took to get to where they are.
Although not your average window cleaning job it’s the duty most of us ascribe to the role of aquarium diver, probably because that’s all we see them do. However, duties can include maintenance, as well as monitoring the tanks inhabitants, and tasks to ensure its general upkeep and safety. Given most aquariums’ zoological basis, potential aquarium divers need marine biology qualifications as well as scuba qualifications.
Mel Fisher’s $400 million Atocha find inspired the dreams of a generation but did you know you can still join the crew? There are 8 miles of the ocean floor to search for the remainder of the treasure. Divers are paid $500 a week and receive 1.5% share of any treasure if they commit to a year’s contract. Life aboard will be hard, ditch the ‘Into The Blue’ fantasy and be prepared to take your turn cooking, learn vessel maintenance and dive, dive, dive.
This job is only for those who can handle living under pressure for days at a time. Saturation divers typically work on pipelines or rigs. To avoid decompression procedures on a daily basis, they remain with a full nitrogen load until the end of their stint which, for some, can be weeks. They live in a pressurized habitat and descend to their workplace in a pressurized bell. The job is demanding, and personal space is limited, but your pay packet will adequately compensate you for your discomfort.
Underwater Photographer or Videographer
If you’re creative, you can share your passions through your medium. Our recent interview with Shawn Jackson tells you a little about the life of an underwater photographer. You need a creative spark, a lot of drive and some money to invest in training and gear. Oh, and patience, your subject matter demands it.
Golf Ball Diver
This job might sound like an easy ride, but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a far cry from any Instagram-able diving location; the water quality can be so questionable as to require you to safeguard against disease, and silty conditions mired by branches and other detritus make for challenging if mostly shallow dives. Snakes, snapping turtles, crocodiles, and alligators inhabit golf course waterways adding treachery to the often cold, dark waters but there is money to be made if you can find the balls.
Public Safety Diver
Public safety divers are a very special breed. They’re dragged out of bed at 3 am to plunge into cold water with zero visibility to look for anything from bodies to weapons. They’ll conduct counter-terrorism security sweeps of culverts and drains amongst unimaginable debris and fingertip searches of canals relying on touch and the support of their topside crew alone.
Water safety teams are required for an increasing number of events and productions. From obstacle races to film, TV, or commercial productions, if it has water, there’ll be a diver or two needed. Jobs could include surveying the area, keeping an eye out for sharks and providing air.
There’s not much glamour to this job, but neither is it your typical 9-5 cubical-land employment. Ships’ hulls gather barnacles, weeds, algae and other debris which ultimately causes drag making them slower and less fuel efficient. So, if cleaning dirty bottoms are your thing, dive right in.
Water Tower Diver
Water towers and tanks need inspecting. Fancy being hoisted 200 ft off the ground to dive into a structure that can sway considerably in the wind?
Take Your Show On The Road
If your goal is to be able to get in the water more often maybe you don’t need to reinvent your wheel – maybe you need to move your wheel. Is your job location specific or could you do your current job somewhere more dive-centric? Whether you’re a wedding planner, physics teacher, dentist or anything in between, your skills are just as useful 300 km from the ocean as they are at the water’s edge.
Have you jumped ship and taken the plunge into a new dive life? What job do you do? Tell us about it in the comments section below.