10 Best Underwater Welding Schools In The USA

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Diving and welding schools are the fastest-growing segments of the tertiary education industry. Commercial diving is also becoming an increasingly popular profession.  Many people look to the field of underwater welding as a means of supporting themselves and their families. But just because there’s a lot of work available doesn’t mean you can become an underwater welder training on your own.

You will need to attend a specialized school with the necessary equipment for your job and experienced, highly trained instructors who can teach you the skills you will need in this exciting new career path. To protect yourself and others from workplace hazards, you must be trained and certified in the safe operation of a welding tool. This is where Underwater wielding schools come in place, they teach and train you in the field of underwater wielding.

For example, a hyperbaric welder must complete specialized training in hyperbaric welding safety, the safety of the underwater welding process, and the safe use of an oxygen breathing apparatus.

In this article, we discuss the best underwater welding schools, as well as the danger that comes with the profession. Keep reading to learn more about hyperbaric welders and how to become one.

What is underwater welding?

Underwater welding is a specialized type of welding that does not use a protective barrier between the arc of an electric arc welder and water. It is usually used for deep-sea welding, where high-strength welds are required.

Types of underwater welding

Dry Welding

Dry welding, also called hyperbaric welding, is a technique used in underwater construction that employs a dry habitat, or hyperbaric chamber, to protect the welder from water.

This process involves creating a seal around the structure to be welded and connecting hoses to remove water from the dry habitat. The water is then replaced with a pressurized mixture of helium and oxygen.

The welder can start working when the pressure inside the habitat reaches equilibrium with the force of the water outside it. There are four dry welding methods:

  1. Dry spot welding is a technique used to construct transparent balloon-sized structures. The welder inserts an electrode into the habitat, forming a seal around it.
  2. Habitat welding creates a room-sized underwater environment where welders can work while submerged in water.
  3. Pressure welding, a technique in which the pressure vessel is pressurized to one atmosphere, is suitable for welding on pressure vessels.
  4. Dry-chamber welding involves an airtight “chamber” covering only the worker’s head and shoulders. Enter the chamber from below.

Wet Welding

Wet welding is a process used by welders in environments with water, such as marine environments and oil rig construction, or other damaging factors, such as oxygen.

Unlike dry welding, in which many processes are suitable, wet methods are mainly limited to the shielded metal arc (SMAW), also called the coated electrode.

In this process, welding is usually based on direct current (DC) because alternating current (AC) creates electromagnetic fields that attract contaminants to the welding bath. Preventive measures are essential for these situations.

The worker should keep their electrodes clean and ensure there are no obstructions or hazards in the area before welding. Underwater welding can be a dangerous task.

A diver will place the electrode in the target surface area and then instruct your team to start a direct current, generating 300 to 400 amps of electricity.

Wet welding is often used as a last resort because it is more dangerous, and water tends to cool the weld too quickly, increasing the risk of cracking.

Hazards in Underwater Welding Fabrication

Explosion

Oxyfuel cutting, a typical underwater cutting process, requires large volumes of oxygen. A dangerous explosive mixture is created when this oxygen mixes with hydrogen gas.

This mixture could ignite if struck by an arc or spark; therefore, the team must perform a risk assessment before conducting an underwater operation and must flush void spaces with inert gas.

Electrocution

Electricity and water are a potentially dangerous combination. When electricity is introduced into the water during wet welding, the possibility of electrocution is high.

To mitigate the risk of electrical shock, the welder must use DC electricity instead of AC. He must also ensure that all the equipment is thoroughly tested before welding is authorized, and ongoing training must be mandatory.

In addition, a ground fault that reaches the earth’s surface must be precisely placed to direct excess current away from the work site and into the ground.

Decompression

Decompression sickness, also known as “the bends,” occurs when bubbles of nitrogen gas form in the bloodstream. Divers should ascend carefully and not exceed a depth of ten meters per minute to decrease the danger of decompression sickness.

If they plan to dive more than once a day, they should first start with the deepest dive. Divers should be in excellent physical condition and schedule regular medical check-ups and proper training to mitigate the risk of decompression sickness.

Hypothermia

If a diver spends too much time in cold water, hypothermia can occur, resulting in metabolism problems and even organ failure. To avoid this, divers should wear a well-insulated wetsuit that retains body heat.

The time spent underwater should also be limited. Professional training will help divers cope with colder temperatures to prevent hypothermia. The company must have the necessary security protocols.

Suffocation

When a diver descends into the water, the pressure of the water around him increases. This causes a pressure difference, forcing water to flow from high-pressure areas to low-pressure areas.

The variable force can cause blockage of the lungs and the need for CPR, but in some cases, the differential pressure has no harmful effects.

For instance, when divers are repairing the dam wall, there is no cause for concern. The most important thing is ensuring everyone on the team has had professional training.

Top 10 Underwater Welding Schools In The U.S.A

1. Minnesota Commercial Diver Training Center

The Minnesota Commercial Diver Training Center is located in Brainerd, Minnesota, the heart of the ten thousand lakes country. It is recognized for its hands-on open water training at the Cuyuna mine shafts in Crosby/Ironton.

This is where students learn the use of equipment and protocol with a curriculum emphasizing physics, physiological factors, safety protocols, equipment operation, and the fundamentals of navigation. Aspiring students can contact the school for information on job placement services for graduates.

2. Divers Institute Of Technology

Located in Seattle, Washington, Divers Institute of Technology (DIT) is a veteran-owned and operated school that offers commercial diving training. DIT claims to train students in all aspects of diving to create safe and confident professionals.

The Institute trains students through three weeks of intensive hands-on training, consisting of dives of up to 165 feet with practice in the lake surrounding the DIT campus.

Each course begins with a three-day class session followed by two weeks of welding training for 40 hours per week. Students are taught how to weld T-joints during their first week.

3. National Polytechnic University Institute

The National Polytechnic University Institute, known for its working relationship with the U.S. Navy’s Seabee Museum of Art, is located in San Diego, California. It offers comprehensive and affordable commercial diving courses taught by industry experts.

The underwater welding school is integrated with a commercial diving program, and this dual training will help you become an expert in your work environments, broadening your professional horizons.

The commercial diving and underwater welding program will provide you with all the necessary certifications for a career in underwater welding.

The actual underwater welding training occurs in the last four weeks of the commercial diving course and enables you to easily pass the welder performance qualification.

This program trains you for various underwater technical jobs and reinforces your ability to handle essential equipment.

4. Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College was established by the Santa Barbara High School District in 1909 and is located in Santa Barbara Mesa, California.

The university offers a course in marine diving technology to train high-quality commercial divers and marine technicians. After completing the course, students receive industry-recognized certifications after lengthy training periods with world-class instructors. Students receive training on the safe use of equipment, including welding equipment.

The university’s career centre hosts workshops and job fairs to allow students to explore opportunities like those at other community colleges.

5. South Central Louisiana Technical College

South Central Louisiana Technical College in Morgan City offers 90 clock hours of overhead and underwater welding in an entry-level course emphasizing hands-on experience in both onshore and offshore hyperbaric welding applications.

The curriculum includes a cutting and welding lab with underwater training sessions for overhead welding and oxy-acetylene cutting. At the same time, students are trained to operate welding equipment and receive extensive training to work on diesel engines and boats.

Students can pursue vocational careers immediately after graduation, and the U.S. Coast Guard also approves the university for Marine licenses. Given the high certification standards, jobs after graduation from this university are easier to get.

6. The Ocean Corporation

Oceanic Corporation has been leading commercial diving and offshore welding services since 1969.

The Institute offers courses in offshore oil field diving operations, surface and subsea welding, and underwater cutting for students seeking employment in the nuclear power industry and dams.

The Ocean Corporation is one of the best underwater welding schools in the U.S.

7. Hydro welding in the U.S.

Hydroweld USA, a division of Hydroweld Ltd., is located in Weston, Florida. As an experienced leader in the underwater welding industry, Hydroweld offers training programs for companies and individuals interested in underwater welding.

The programs are offered both at the company’s Florida facility and customer sites around the world. The fully equipped training facility is available to customers for training courses or testing of new equipment.

8. Commercial Diving Technologies Institute 

The Institute is a training facility created to assist divers with careers in the offshore oil and wind industry, pipeline construction, and underwater welding.

The course maintains strict standards set by the Diving Contractors Association. It prepares students for diving careers and trains them to be able to weld underwater, both on land and off.

Read more about the Institute on their official website.

9. CDA Technical Institute

CDA Technical Institute is located in Jacksonville, Florida. It provides training for submarine welders in all international standards. It also has a tank for training and the Trout River for practical skills.

The program is closely associated with the industry’s major players and is quite rigorous and extensive.

10. International Diving Institute

The International Diving Institute (IDI) offers a variety of specialities and training courses. The Institute’s 2-week, 8-hour commercial diving course is designed for divers seeking to become certified underwater welders.

With a focus on technical skills and professional development, IDI believes in providing students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for future employment.

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Author: Oluwatobi

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