What they do
Divers undertake a range of work activities underwater, from our oceans and rivers, to our ports and harbours. They work in fields as varied as scientific research, military maintenance and repair, offshore or onshore construction, aquaculture and police search and rescue. They may inspect, test and repair boats and other marine vessels, undertake search work, undertake maintenance and harvesting at aquaculture facilities, and may specialise in areas such as underwater photography or welding.
Specialisations include: Clearance diver (navy), Fisheries diver, Hyperbaric welder diver, Offshore diver, Onshore diver, Pearl diver, Saturation diver, Scientific diver
Divers work in a range of underwater environments, in either fresh or saltwater, in oceans and natural rivers, or in manmade waterways. Their work can be mentally and physically demanding with a lot of time spent underwater. This can be a potentially hazardous occupation so divers must adhere to strict safety standards. Divers may be required to use equipment in awkward positions and in low visibility underwater.
Divers who work at great depths may be required to spend time in a decompression chamber after their dive to allow their bodies to re-adjust to regular air pressure.
Tools and technologies
Divers use self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba), surface-supplied breathing apparatus or underwater work chambers in order to breathe underwater. Depending on the type of work undertaken they may use hand tools, hydraulic and pneumatic power tools, explosives, cameras and other scientific research equipment.
How do I become one?
Education and training
The qualifications required to become a diver vary according to the work undertaken. In some circumstances a certificate of occupational diving competency that complies with the
Australian Standard AS 2815 - Training and Certification of Occupational Divers may be required, whereas other roles may only require a recreational scuba qualification such as those issued by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).
The Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme (ADAS) covers occupational divers and recognises four levels of accreditation, depending on the amount of experience and courses completed. Visit the ADAS website for further information.
All divers should be highly skilled in scuba diving, swimming and hold a current Provide First Aid Certificate. They must also have a certificate of medical fitness to dive, issued by a doctor trained and experienced in underwater medicine. Divers must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a commercial divers licence.