Considering Commercial Diving?

TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY RON AKESON

Click here to visit the Divers Institute of TechnologyDIT's success is due in part to the strong belief in its training philosophy: to train each student in all phases of commercial diving with an unyielding commitment to safety using modern equipment, and to prepare for gainful employment and advancement in the commercial diving industry. While no small feat, DIT backs it up with experience. Recently purchased by Jamestown Marine Services of Groton, Connecticut, DIT now has an even stronger backing to its already impressive credentials.

The instructional staff at DIT has an average experience level of 10 years in the field. Many staff members are former military and commercial divers themselves, such as John Searcy, the Director of Training and Placement at DIT. John served in the U.S. Navy for more than 30 years, where he obtained the rating of Master Diver, one of the most prestigious levels the Navy bestows. He believes the curriculum at DIT is dynamic, and that by continually expanding its instructor's qualifications, the students will benefit also. To this end, DIT encourages its instructors to obtain educational degrees and further their own training. John also oversees the stringent quality assurance on each individual instructor, striving to offer the best program available.

DIT is in Seattle on the Lake Union ship canal--where it meets Puget Sound--so candidates are trained and evaluated using real open water situations that are likely to be similar to actual working conditions.

Calling DIT a school is almost a contradiction in terms. For every hour of lecture time spent in a classroom, students spend two hours diving or working and learning surface support. Truly hands on! Taking this one step further, the Response, a 65 foot catamaran, is DIT's mobile floating classroom, giving the students access to appropriate sites for deep water and mixed gas training.

With its impressive list of topics, DIT's program takes 30 weeks to complete, encompassing more than 900 hours of training (300 hours of classroom and 600 hours of practical experience). Class size typically ranges from 12 to 18 students per class, because personalized attention and teamwork is stressed in all aspects of training, with candidates working together from the onset.

What kind of jobs are available after graduation? According to DIT president Bruce Banks, the majority of jobs in the industry are inspecting dams, bridges or nuclear power plants, working on offshore oil rigs or harbor construction, as well as salvage operations and boat hull maintenance.

Women should take note: while commercial diving is primarily male dominated, Banks states that female graduates are in exceptionally high demand in the industry.
The DIT Curriculum
Classes may include, but are not limited to:
• Communications
• Diving physics and physiology
• Decompression
• Medical aspects of diving and diving first aid (including personal safety and CPR)
• Rigging
• Diving equipment
• Deep sea diving techniques and procedures
• Commercial scuba
• Hot water systems
• Underwater work
• Offshore oil industry
• Inspection reports
• Salvage
• Underwater cutting and welding
• Underwater photography
• Underwater television (including video and ROVs)
• Mixed gas diving
• Safety standards
• Haz-mat
• Hyperbaric chamber operation รบ Open water deep dives
• Saturation diving
• Non-destructive testing
• Employment opportunities

DIT helps with job placement for its recent graduates, as well as its past ones, for as long as they are in the commercial diving industry.

Each prospective student has the opportunity to talk with a counselor, before requesting an information packet and video, or arrange to stop by the facility for a personalized tour (by appointment only). Only 60 percent of the students are certified prior to their enrollment.

All students are required to furnish their own diving equipment. A complete physical exam is also required of each candidate prior to acceptance.

DIT is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology. There is a financial assistance plan available for those who qualify, including a number of grants and student loan options. The staff members at DIT are also able to help candidates find housing and even part-time work.

If you are considering a career in commercial diving, DIT is a great place to start! You can contact them at Divers Institute of Technology; 4315 llth Ave NW, Seattle, Washington 98107, or call (800) 634-8377 for an information packet and catalog, or arrange for a tour. Visit DIT online at www.diveweb.com/dit or e-mail dit@wolfenet.com.

April 1999