Salaries: How Much Do Underwater Welders Make

Unknown to many people, underwater welding holds a lot of fortune for those working. Just like most marine jobs, it is lucrative too.

But then, before we proceed to talk about how much do underwater welders make, we should actually understand the concept of underwater welding first.

What is Underwater Welding and How Does it Work?

Also known as hyperbaric welding, underwater welding involves welding at elevated pressures.

The term ‘hyperbaric welding’ is usually used when referring to dry welding and ‘underwater welding’ for wet environments.

The welding can either take place in the water itself (known as wet welding) or in a dry, pressurized enclosure (known as dry welding), with steel being the most commonly welded material.

Dry welds tend to be better quality than wet welds because of the greater control over the welding conditions and the ability to perform pre and post-weld heat treatments.

Hyperbaric welding was invented in 1932 by the Russian metallurgist Konstantin Krenov and has since found applications across the world, including repairing ships, pipelines, and offshore oil platforms.

When is Underwater Welding Needed?

  • Underwater welding work is needed when there are any structures or ships that require salvage.
  • It is also needed whenever there are urgent repairs required.
  • Underwater welding is used in the repair of offshore structures and pipelines, ships, submarines, and nuclear reactors.
  • Current techniques that are generally used are wet underwater welding and hyperbaric welding.

Types of Underwater Welding

1. In dry welding, a hyperbaric chamber is sealed around the structure to be welded.

The chamber is then filled with gas (usually a mixture of oxygen and helium) to expel water and create dry air for heating.

Why the chamber is always pressurized to the right level is to prevent welders from suffering from decompression sickness while working.

Nevertheless, there are instances where welder-divers don’t have access to a hyperbaric chamber or when urgency means that a repair needs to be done immediately. In these instances, wet welding may be used instead.

Types of Dry Welding

  • Shielded metal arc welding
  • Flux-cored arc welding
  • Friction welding

2. Wet welding depends on the release of gas bubbles around the electric arc to prevent overheating and to prevent any electricity from passing through the water.

This insulating layer of bubbles protects the diver but also obscures the welding area, making it harder to complete the weld correctly.

The bubbles can also disrupt the welding pool and the heated joint can cool quickly due to the heat-dissipating in the surrounding water.

This increases the risk of disability such as fractures.

Underwater welding uses direct current settings rather than alternating current, as it is safer for underwater welders to work with.

Types of Wet Welding

  • Habitat welding
  • Pressure welding
  • Dry spot welding
  • Dry chamber welding
  • Gas tungsten welding
  • Gas metal arc welding
  • Plasma arc welding

How Much Do Underwater Welders Make

Underwater welding is a quite serious job and it takes a lot of years to gain mastery in it, but finally, when you do, you stand a chance to earn quite a lot of money.

Here is a breakdown of what underwater welders earn

  • Inland Income:  $40,000 – $80,000. Most times, the work primarily is on bridges, dock areas, dams, and small vessels
  • Offshore Income: $40,000 – $100,000 or more. Here, the work is mostly in oil rigs or large marine vessels like Navy ships.
  • Rookie onshore underwater welder: $25,000​ to ​$40,000
  • Underwater Inspector and Underwater Excavator: $40,000​ to ​$60,000
  • Underwater Inspector and Underwater Excavator more experienced:  ​$75,000​ to ​$100,000​. 
  • Saturation Underwater Divers: $100,000; ​$200,000 to $300,000; ​$500,000

Requirement

  • A high school diploma
  • A commercial diving certification
  • An Associate’s degree or certificate for welding and fabrication
  • Possible certificates for working with machinery
  • Completion of a commercial diver training program
  • An AWS certification is greatly recommended

Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Underwater Welding Jobs

CityAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
San Mateo, CA$66,792$5,566$1,284$32.11
Daly City, CA$65,669$5,472$1,263$31.57
Berkeley, CA$65,632$5,469$1,262$31.55
Green River, WY$64,112$5,343$1,233$30.82
Irvine, CA$63,737$5,311$1,226$30.64
Richmond, CA$62,530$5,211$1,202$30.06
Orange, CA$61,954$5,163$1,191$29.79
Oxnard, CA$61,936$5,161$1,191$29.78
Tacoma, WA$61,927$5,161$1,191$29.77
Merced, CA$61,804$5,150$1,189$29.71

Personal Skills For Underwater Welders

  • Being highly-motivated individuals with a strong sense of direction
  • Having a strong commitment and sense of purpose
  • Being eager and able to work challenging jobs
  • Possessing the physical capability to perform demanding work on a daily basis
  • Being flexible enough to respond to new challenges as they arise
  • Being a team player
  • Being very organized and focused on details
  • Having a calm temperament under pressure

Top 5 Best Paying Related Underwater Welding Jobs

Job TitleAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Senior Welding Engineer$128,608$10,717$2,473$61.83
Underwater Acoustic Engineer$102,664$8,555$1,974$49.36
Senior Welding Inspector$99,344$8,279$1,910$47.76
Travel Welding$88,909$7,409$1,710$42.74
Fusion Welding$88,181$7,348$1,696$42.39

Underwater Welding Equipment

  • Underwater Welder Welding Diver Dive Diving Equipment
  • MIG Welding Underwater Cutting Torch Flame Gun Lighter Electronic Cigarette Lighter
  • Ricas-504 High-Quality Welding Tool Portable Underwater Welding Flame Gun Lighter
  • Cold Chamber Die Casing Machine Loading Automation Equipment Automatic Ladler
  • Plasma Cutting Machine Plasma Welding Cutting Machine Inverter Plasma Cutting Machine Manufacturer
  • 0.5L Mini Scuba Tank Diving Reserve Oxygen Air Hand Pump Diving Equipment
  • Longhua Electric Export Packing Customized Anhui, China (Mainland) Automatic Manipulator Equipment
  • Die Casting Machine Vacuum Technology Electric Longhua Export Packing Robot Equipment
  • Price of Ultrasonic Welding Machine 28kHz Plastic Welding Equipment
  • Professional Underwater Commercial Diving Helmet Equipment for Sale Interchangeable with Kirby Morgan

Top 10 Underwater Welding Companies

Conclusion

Underwater welding could be a very risky job to do and utmost care and caution need to be taken while on it.

But then, regardless of that, it is also quite lucrative.

Leave a Comment