Commercial Divers

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Commercial Divers

Commercial Divers - Working Conditions

In a typical work setting, commercial divers:

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have a high level of social interaction. They constantly talk with other divers and supervisors above water.
  • Communicate with others by telephone and face-to-face discussions. They also write letters, memos, and e-mail, but less frequently.
  • Almost always work as part of a diving team.
  • Are occasionally placed in conflict situations.
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  • Are greatly responsible for the health and safety of other divers.
  • Are responsible for the work done by others.

Physical Work Conditions

  • Often wear wet suits, air tanks, and other diving attire.
  • Often work underwater. They rarely work indoors.
  • Work physically near others, often within a few feet.
  • Are often exposed to loud and distracting sounds and noise levels.
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  • Must monitor the length and depths of their dives to avoid getting "the bends." The bends are a potentially crippling build-up of nitrogen in the blood.
  • Are occasionally exposed to whole body vibration.
  • Sometimes work in very cold water.
  • Are sometimes exposed to hazardous situations that may produce cuts or burns.
  • Occasionally work in cramped conditions in small boats.
  • Are sometimes exposed to hazardous equipment.
  • Sometimes work in dim light while under water. They may work in bright light when welding.
  • Sometimes work in hazardous conditions.

Work Performance

  • Must fully complete and be exact in their work. Errors could cause serious injuries to themselves or other divers.
  • Must be aware of changing conditions while they are underwater and keep pace with the speed of equipment.
  • Must make decisions on-the-spot that greatly impact themselves and other divers.
  • Are able to set most of their daily tasks and goals without talking to others first.
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  • Repeat the same physical activities.
  • Work in a moderately competitive atmosphere in which strict daily and weekly deadlines must be met.


  • Usually work about 40 hours a week.
  • May work overtime to meet deadlines or help with emergencies.
  • May work only part of the year. In some areas, commercial divers do not work in the winter.
  • May work at sites in remote locations.
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  • Sometimes are away from home for extended periods.
Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.