What Is The Average Salary For An Underwater Welder

What Is The Average Salary For An Underwater Welder?

According to global statistics and commercial divers, the average underwater welding salary in the United States is $53,990 annually and $25.96 an hour. However, most incomes float around $25,000 – $80,000. The top 10% of divers welders make $83,730, while the bottom 10% earn $30,700.

Here’s the kicker, though:

The salaries of commercial divers skilled in underwater welding can reach $300,000.+ per year.

What’s the big pay range?

Most underwater welders are paid by the hour. If he has a large contract, Joe Diver could make $30,000 per month.

He then spends five more months searching for his next gig.

These are the main factors that can affect your income as a driving instructor:

  • Experience
  • Certificate
  • Environment
  • Depth of work
  • Diver Methods
  • Underwater Welding Equipment
  • Distance Offshore
  • Overtime
  • Other Factors

Each factor can be considered a part of a bigger equation that will increase your marketability, pay, and career opportunities.

However, passion for this career requires you to know where it will lead you.

Let’s look at the main types of underwater welders.

Salary for Underwater Welder: Offshore & Inland Hours & Diving Projects

Underwater welders fall within two pay categories based on their work location and extent.

Both offshore and inland

I am taking it one step further.

Since field experience significantly increases income, I have separated rookie and veteran divers’ underwater welder salaries.

Divers working offshore

Underwater Welder Salary

  • Rookie (beginning): $40,000-$60,000
  • Veteran (3-5+ Years Experience): $75,000-100,000+

Diverse Project Examples

  • Abandonment of Platform and Pipeline
  • Cleaning Subsea Sites
  • Surveying the Chain Anchor Legs
  • Stabilizing and Inspecting Underwater Oil Pipelines
  • Wet Welding Oil Rig Pipelines
  • Pipelines for Hyperbaric Wet-Welding Oil Rigs
  • Support for drilling
  • Installing Wellheads
  • Saturation Diving and Inspection
  • Repair of cruise/navy ship turbines

Commercial Diver Schedule

It takes 4-6 weeks to sail and 7-10 days to return home. For some projects, insane overtime (10+ hour workdays).

Rinse, repeat.

The regular offshore season runs from April to November. It is closed in winter because of severe wave patterns and unpredictability.

Don’t forget:

The company and the industry are key factors in ensuring steady work.

Offshore divers can work all year round as water vessel maintenance assistants. They are skilled in metalwork, welding and topside construction.

Others find seasonal work or take the winter off.

While it is possible to find work offshore for world travellers, it’s not always feasible.

Due to higher salaries, many US underwater welders turn to the ocean as their first step into the professional world.

Divers can choose to work onshore (Inland/Coastal).

Underwater Welder Salary

  • Rookie (starting price): $25,000-$40,000
  • Veteran (3-5+ Years Experience): $50,000-$80,000

Diverse Project Examples

  • Cleaning and inspecting water towers and bridges
  • Wet Welding Freshwater pipes
  • Salvaging and recovering sunken fishing boats
  • Dam Wall Repair and Inspection
  • Cutting Underwater Debris
  • Destroying Decayed Underwater Structures
  • Inspection of Sewer Pipes (HAZMAT).
  • Maintenance of Nuclear Power Station Inlet Structures
  • Installing Cement Dock Support Pillars

Schedule for Commercial Divers

All year, average (40-45 hours) workdays. There are occasional weekends that you can travel to work.

Due to increased storm damage to water vessels and docks, marine welders have a higher workload in the winter and spring.

Underwater Welding: Earning Potential Based On Country & Place

Remember that divers often work abroad for several weeks or months; their earnings are therefore credited through the country they have worked in.

The United States is home to many offshore wet and dry underwater welding.

Since underwater welding is only part of a diver’s job, these earnings include income from all commercial diving activities.

Let me repeat it:

You can only do underwater welding as a portion of your career, not all.

Three ways countries report that underwater welding pays are categorical:

  1. Percentile income
  2. Numerically
  3. Work location

These numbers were compiled using national employment statistics and graduate earning reports from underwater welding schools.

The Underwater Welding Payscale Factors Will Bring You Waves of Income

You can earn money as an underwater welder if you correctly start your underwater welding career path.

To build up a substantial paycheck, you need to have many years of experience on the topside. Diver welders usually get paid an hourly, as I already mentioned. The factors that affect the underwater welding pay scale depend on the practical knowledge and nature of the diver.


Your income is affected by many factors.

We’ll begin with the most important and then work our way down.

Commercial Diver Field Experience is Above All Else

Your diving career will be more lucrative if you have on-the-job experience.

While many people enter commercial diving with a financial mindset, no one makes a quick buck. You must climb the ladder and accept orders from senior divers and maritime owners.

After you have completed your commercial diving training, you will be able to choose offshore or inland.

In general, underwater welders in the North Sea tend to find work inland first and then move offshore later. The flip side of this coin is that Americans set their sights on the Gulf of Mexico as their first destination.

What’s the bottom line?

Dirt, grime, and bottom time. Your diving experience is essential to finding work in the future.

Diver welders in the United States usually begin as tenders. That means they will have to work harder and more frequently for the first year. Offshore work for marine welders is known as “hitch” and can mean long hours (10+ hour workdays) or isolation from land-loving family and friends for weeks.

Knowledge is the best investment. -Benjamin Franklin

Like most jobs on the labour market, commercial divers will see their underwater welding salaries rise, slowly increasing after years of hard work. Commercial diving is a high-skilled occupation with a high turnover rate. Therefore, reaching the five-year mark seems like it will take a lot longer than most desk jobs.

Premium paper: The power of certification

What is the best way to combine certification with a diving career?

You don’t need the experience to be a successful diver. You will need to become certified in new skills to make an impression on employers. Frequently applying for new diving jobs earns you new experiences and shows you are open to learning new techniques and technologies.

Your certification knowledge will be a huge asset.

Diver Environments with Unusual Conditions

You may be faced with unexpected challenges in your project environment.

What is the most popular?

  • Zero degrees visibility
  • Freezing temperatures
  • High wave currents

Your employer or contractor should take into account all of these factors. You might consider a project with less visibility, a closed-off environment, and more difficult welds if you are looking for a higher salary on two wet welding projects.

Every project environment is unique, which is one of many perks of this profession. There is no day the same for underwater welding. The sky is the limit (or water, as it were) here.

Depth of Work: How Much Does a Saturation Diver Make in a Year?

The salaries of saturation divers can range from $45,000 to $90,000. They also earn over $500,000 annually. They are entitled to “depth pay, ” typically $1-$4 per foot. It’s usually $1 per foot for 100 feet. After that, it can go up to $2 per ft. The length and depth of the project, as well as the tenure of the diver, will determine how much income they earn.

Long-distance drivers, who have to undergo long dive projects that involve data-wpellink= “external] href= “http://science.howstuffworks.com/sciencevs-myth/everyday_myths/question640.htm title= “How does Saturation diving work?”

Stop drooling. You have more options:

How does Scuba Diving Work?

Some students might switch to underwater welding from their “get rich quick” fantasies to become proficient in saturation diving.

However, most experienced saturation divers have at least a decade of experience before diving in deeper waters. There is no shortcut to making it big. You should prepare to spend many hours in a hyperbaric environment if you plan on making saturation diving a part of your job.

This career path will allow you to increase your underwater welding income.

Diver Methods That Fit Your Job

Diver methods also called “modes”, refer to dives that require certain equipment and procedures.

Surface-supplied air is the most popular method of diving for underwater welders.

These are the three main driving modes.

  • Surface-supplied Air
  • Saturation of mixed gas
  • Scuba

The pay is generally higher if there is less insulation between a diver welder’s environment and their own.

Scuba diving is more reserved for recreational and scientific diving. However, it can occasionally be used as an option by underwater welders.

  • Also, see: What Does a Welder in Oklahoma Earn? Salary Statistics

Know Your Way around Underwater Welding Equipment

Have you ever walked on a construction site? Many are covered in orange and yellow, with various sizes and types of construction tools. Although you can take all the equipment to the bottom at once, an underwater welder will have a similar set of tools.

Some equipment requires more complex operating procedures, such as large power tools and cutting torches. To ensure safety and efficiency, underwater welders must pay attention to how the equipment is used.

Perhaps you are wondering:

How about electric shock?

Divers equipment such as underwater lights and hand tools pose a greater risk because they use alternating power (AC) rather than direct current (DC). The depth and nature of the project may mean that underwater welders will need to use AC equipment for long periods. That increases the possibility of electrocution.

Divers skilled in diving with more complex equipment will be paid more.

Distance Offshore: No Sheltered, No More

The more you are from the coast, and the less possible emergency medical services will be available.

Most large vessels and oil rigs provide basic first aid and emergency equipment for divers. However, suppose you have severe injuries such as broken bones or bends. In that case, even a Diver Health Technician might be unable to provide a long-term solution.

Employers take into account the distance to work, unlike saturation diving.

Although it is not listed as a factor on paper, offshore managers are aware of the greater dangers you face. That could reflect in the overall salary for underwater welding.

Make Bank in Overtime Pay

Trade time for money

Underwater welders are especially skilled in offshore diving. They can make a lot of money by working overtime on large projects. Divers may work as many as 12 hours daily for up to 2 weeks. Overtime pay can be increased by up to 50% in many places, but every company is different.

The entire construction and welding professions require long hours. Most of the work is seasonal, so overtime is often offered to compensate.

Other factors that influence the water welder’s salary

Two factors have a major impact on marine welder income. They are experienced and at risk.

Although I have covered the main elements that affect a marine welding salary, I do not want to forget these.

  • Location – Coastal areas, international waters, and other countries have payment guidelines.
  • Performance _A commercial diver who performs quality welds can increase their salary and reputation for future projects.
  • Travel Frequency – The more an underwater scuba diver is willing to move, the higher their potential income.
  • Education Level Marine welders who have earned advanced degrees and are certified by credible training institutions stand a better chance of getting a raise in their salary.
  • Job Competition: The less saturated the commercial diving market is with divers, the lower they demand your services and the higher they’ll pay.
  • Also, see Life Expectancy for Underwater Welders: A Complex Picture.

Salary for Topside Welding vs Underwater Welding: Which pays more?

If you are a surface-welder, I can tell what’s happening in your head.

You are thinking about the money.

What would it take to make a living as an underwater welding technician? Is it worth making the switch?

That is the BLS. They have data that records the topside welder’s income.

According to average wage statistics, the average welding salary is $18.45 per hour. Annual salaries are $33,380. The highest 10% earn $26.10 per hour, while the lowest 10% make $12.05.

This difference is approximately $20,000 per year compared to the salaries of underwater welders. Nevertheless, this comparison is unfair because of the differences in responsibility, certifications and environment.

Some pipefitters can earn over $90,000. It all depends on where they live. Other workers in hazardous environments such as mines can make more than $120,000 without sweating.

I am paid more for what my knowledge is than what I can do. – pipe welder

It’s not necessary to “take the plunge” if money is your primary concern. Although they work in less diverse environments than their underwater counterparts, surface welders can make a good living.

I have good news for topside welders who are halfway through their careers.

It is much easier to teach a topside welding person how to swim than to teach a commercial diver how to weld.

Future Prospects: Commercial Diving Career & Underwater Welding Salary

Commercial divers may change careers because of the intensive labour required for underwater welding.

After 5-10 years.

But what about the majority?

Less Than a Year.

Commercial divers typically range in age from 18 to 38, although there is no limit. Diver welders can work into their fifties.

You can keep your career in this field as long as you pass your physical.

Suppose it is time to make a career change. In that case, underwater welders with solid education and experience can easily move into related fields.

Here are a few career options:

  • Surface welder/machinist
  • Engineer (chemical, civil)
  • Remote-operated Vehicle Operators
  • Riggers
  • HAZMAT Technicians
  • Instructors at commercial driving schools
  • American Welding Society Certified Welding Inspectors
  • Underwater construction consultants

Get Bonus Advice about the Money: Start Your Underwater Welding Business


The underwater construction industry is very rewarding for underwater workers who are knowledgeable in many fields.

Your underwater welding pay will reflect your versatility and CV. It will also demonstrate skills in various projects, certificates, and locations.

It is a good idea to use a learn-as-you-go mentality.

Your experience will determine your pay and position as an underwater welding specialist. However, this will also help you choose other related careers later in life. We have a guide to help you start a career as an underwater welder.

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