How Much Does Underwater Welders Make A Year

Many people are aware of welding which they usually see at hardware stores or in heavy machine stores. However, underwater welding is not the usual welding as it is different in its distinct approaches. The thing that makes it unique is that its welding is done underwater. 

It’s hard to comprehend how welding can be done underwater since water and electricity are known to be enemies who do not see eye to eye and cause lots of fatality cases in terms of electrocution. 

How Much Does Underwater Welders Make A Year

You must be curious about how its done, who is eligible to be a welder, which certified underwater welding colleges one can attend in the United States, and most importantly the salary each underwater welder earn depending on experience, the work conditions and the project at hand.

How Much Money Does Underwater Welders Make A Year?

On average, the estimated salary of an Underwater welder in the US is $100,000 per year. The pay is highly great because of the manpower, time, and difficult working environment that they go through.

In South America, the estimated payment is $59,000 per year while in North America is $74,000. Whether the pay is annual or per hour it solely depends on the experience and factors under which the diver is working. The harsh the factors the better the pay.

How Much Do Underwater Welders Make An Hour

Commercial divers earn approximately $25.96 per hour. Depending on the hierarchy of experience and expertise the least paid should be around $30,700 annually.

Average Pay for underwater Welder And Different Levels of Expertise

Getting a certificate from a certified school gives one an upper hand in getting well paying underwater welding projects. However, the experience of a diver determines salary earned.

  • Entry-level in the US requires 1-4 years of experience, certification from an Underwater welding college. Salary range is $20,000-$,40,000.
  • Mid-Level requires 5-8 years of experience. The salary range is from $50,000-$80,000 per year.
  • Experienced level9-15 years of experience, the salary range of $80,000-$100,000 per year.
  • The lifelong experience involves 16 and above years of experience. The salary range is $100,000 and above annually.

What is the Difference in Terms of Salary Between Topside and Underwater Welding

The difference is massive because of the distinct working conditions. Topside welders do not experience any harsh conditions such as high water pressure compared to underwater welders. The salary of a topside welder is $118 per hour making it an average of $33,400 per year. If you compare, it’s a difference of $20,000  ranger annually to the salary of Underwater welders

How Does Underwater Welding Work?

How Does Underwater Welding Work

Underwater welding is done by fully certified and well-trained divers. An experienced underwater welder must be skilled in diving. Ability to work in extreme conditions such as high freezing temperature. How is it done? First, Hyperbaric welding was invented in the 1930s  and is still on-demand to date.

It is employed in the inspection, repair, and maintenance of marine structures. In most cases, the marine structures are either deeply or partially submerged underwater. 

There exist two types of hyperbaric welders namely Inland underwater welders and Offshore welders. We will extensively look at what each one of the two does, how they work, and the average estimated salary they earn in the US.

Types of Underwater Welding

Hyperbaric welding is also known as Underwater welding comes in two categories namely Dry Welding and Wet Welding.

#1. Dry Welding

Normally, underwater welders work deep underwater. However, in dry welding, it is done under dry conditions. How can the atmosphere in water be dry? The dry welding process requires a hyperbaric chamber. The underwater welder is not surrounded by water instead, the hyperbaric chamber is used to provide a mixture of gases thus the dry environment. 

You must be asking how much does a Hyperbaric chamber cost for it to be deployed to carry out such a great job? A hyperbaric chamber is very expensive and mostly unavailable to underwater welders. Instances where a hyperbaric chamber is unavailable, an underwater welder employs Wet Welding. Dry welding offers several advantages to the underwater welder when working.

  • Provides a safe environment to the diver or welder.
  • Includes non-destructive testing
  • Allows surface monitoring
  • Ensures higher welder quality

#2. Wet Welding

Involves in-depth welding. However, some factors must be put into consideration before beginning the project. In most instances, it is the last resolution for underwater welders. Wet welding is carried out by the use of welding rod made entirely for carrying out underwater welding. Most welders do not resort to using this form of welding due to the fatal risks that come with it namely:

  • Possible Electrocution while working
  • Explosions
  • Hypothermia as a result extremely freezing water temperatur.
  • Possible hearing Impairment. It can be temporary or permanent as a result of high pressure

Despite the possible cons, it has advantages :

  • Easy access to the welding spot
  • Provides a high tensile strength
  • No habitat required
  • Its is cheap and fast

Types of Underwater Welders and Their Salaries

#1. Offshore welders

Offshore diving takes place in oceans, seas, and gulfs.  While at work, Offshore divers receive support from the surface or a stationary object on the surface such as a boat or platform. If you are interested in pursuing underwater welding skills this is the entry-level that you have to start with. 

Most commercial divers must have extensive experience in Offshore diving. Where is Offshore welding used? Offshore underwater welders/divers are mainly required by gas or oil industries for maintenance as well as repair of marine structures. Besides, they are also experienced in the removal of oil beneath the sea bed in marine conditions. 

Their work is not as easy as it sounds like most of the time they can spend weeks underwater enduring the hard and unpredictable changing weather patterns as well as dim visibility and high water pressure. On average, underwater welders can spend 4-6 weeks underwater and about 10-11 hours working on a given project.

Offshore welders

Offshore welding requires individuals who are fully committed and strong to sustain the harsh conditions. Definitely, The rougher the conditions the higher the pay. Here is how much Offshore welders make

  • Entry-level/ Rookie underwater welders earn an average of $40,000-$60,000 per year.
  • Experienced underwater divers (3 years and above of experience) earn an average of $50,000-80,000 per year.

The best time for Offshore season is from April-November till, during the winter months, this is due to the very unpredictable weather conditions in the US.

#2. Onshore Welders

Onshore welding is conducted in lakes and rivers by the underwater welders. The most performed tasks include inspection of dam walls, cutting of underwater debris, repairing sewer pipes, and maintenance of marine structures. 

Most of the Onshore welding activities are conducted in freshwater bodies due to less salty conditions susceptible to causing corrosion on driving gears on marine structures. Normally, an onshore welding project takes between 40-45 hours annually for a well experienced underwater welder. 

During the process, an underwater welder uses a support platform such as a boat for accuracy and efficiency of the work. Salary of an underwater welder depends on the years of experience as follows:

  • Entry-level underwater welders with 2-3 years of experience earn an estimate of $25,000 to $40,000 per year.
  • Mid-Level experienced inclusive of Veterans underwater welders( 3-5 years of experience ) earn an estimate of $50,000 to $80,000 per year.

Factors that Determine the Salary of an Underwater Welders

Level of expertise

The level of experience an underwater welder has mainly influenced the bag they take home whether per hour, monthly, or annually. Gaining great welding manpower skills in a certified college or university majorly contributes to getting a good-paying underwater welding gig.

Divers experience

Diving experience overshadows the other factors. Great diving experience for an underwater welder is a ticket to getting good paying projects. In most cases, for one to be an underwater welder, he/she must attend a driving school.

Working Conditions

Underwater welding is not an easy task. The surrounding conditions underwater are extremely dangerous to the welder. This includes:

  • Extreme freezing temperature depending on the depth of the water
  • Dim/no visibility underwater.
  • Long hours of work underwater to ensure project completion on time
  • Hazardous risks such as fear of electrocution.
  • Unpredictable weather patterns such as storms

Location of the project

Most experiences underwater welders get gigs internationally and in the US. The payment of the project depends on the area of work.

Underwater welding is a great profession that requires hard work, proficiency, and expertise. It has great pay and if you are interested in studying it, now is the time.

David Ferguson

A professional and passionate welder, a writer who loves to write about the welding and plasma cutting tools. In this site, you will get all the information about welding tools in depth. Just share your feedback and suggestion that will help the website to grow more. Find me: Facebook

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