The Ocean Corporation

By E.R. Cross

Graduates of The Ocean Corporation are competent entry level commercial divers. Most work as underwater mechanics, but a few may harvest products of the sea. Many work as employees of worldwide marine construction and salvage companies. Eventually, some will become underwater scientists. In addition to these specialists there are graduates who will become successful self-employed divers.Services provided by the commercial diving industry may be divided into several major categories. Principally these are offshore diving, inland diving and coastal diving.

Diving apparatus and an assortment of related equipment are used by divers to safely descend and remain underwater for a considerable time. Education, training and experience permit them to undertake complex job objectives. The tools of the diver, the skills of the underwater technician and an understanding of the science of diving assure successful completion of the jobs. Some diving assignments may appear to be pure science fiction.

The Ocean Corporation (TOC), in Houston, Texas, is an ideal place to learn the intricate dive techniques and complicated technologies of the commercial diver. In addition to offices, classrooms, workshops and storage facilities, TOC has an elaborate training complex, including several well designed training tanks. Six tanks range in size from 8 to 24 feet in diameter and from 8 to 25 feet in depth. Training devices in each of the tanks simulate real world tasks. The school also has a permanent medical hyperbaric chamber facility and a portable hyperbaric chamber. A wet lock-out diving bell system, rated at 400 feet, is also installed at the school.

TOC instructors keep current in the needs of the diving industry by working occasional specialty diving jobs in their fields. Also, they attend refresher classes in the subjects they teach.


The Ocean Corporation's Ultimate Diver Training (UDT) course graduates students qualified in several industries. Diver training meets or exceeds the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for entry level commercial divers.

Les Joiner, president and chief executive officer of TOC, told me, "In recent years, we have replaced older equipment with late model tools and training material. We now have about 40 realistic training projects in the large Number One training tank." In addition, there are many complex replicas of underwater installations currently available for student training in tanks two, three, four and five.

Joiner told me, "We continually fine-tune our training programs and have made some significant changes." Some of the projects are extremely realistic in their complexity and degree of difficulty. "They could not be safely undertaken by students except where visual contact and direct supervision of the students could be maintained."

The Ocean Corporation is an active member of the Association of Diving Contractors (ADC), which establishes consensus standards and guidelines for member companies. The school is also a contributing member of the Association of Commercial Diving Educators (ACDE). Les Joiner worked long and hard with the committees in the development of the standards for the ACDE. The Safety, Medical and Educational Committee presented Les with its Safety in Training, Achievement and Recognition (STAR) award for his untiring work in commercial diving training.

One of the exciting things about commercial diving is the great diversification of tools, machines and equipment divers use to accomplish their underwater tasks. TOC graduates will have knowledge of, and experience with, a wide variety of tools and mechanical appliances. With working skills developed during training, graduates will have learned to cope with a wide assortment of offshore work objectives.

Offshore Diving: It has been said that offshore oil has made commercial diving what it is. It is equally true that diving has made offshore oil what it is. The two industries complement each other and work well together. TOC graduates are well prepared to cope with problems related to offshore work. This will include original survey work, oil production systems and final maintenance and repair of the offshore oil installations.

Inland Diving: Inland diving is generally more diverse than most other commercial work. In the United States it is now mandated that most dam and bridge structures be inspected on an annual basis. In addition to the annual inspection, dams require frequent repairs and, on occasion, major modification.Coastal Diving: Coastal diving is one of the oldest divisions of diving operations. In spite of this, coastal diving is only now beginning to be recognized as an emerging utilization of trained divers. It involves underwater work on pipelines, buoys, mooring systems and other near-shore structures. Coastal diving is usually in less than 200 feet of water and includes the construction, inspection and maintenance of harbor facilities such as piers, moorings and breakwater systems.

Nondestructive Testing: Les Joiner said, "I would like to reemphasize the value of our nondestructive testing (NDT) program." By definition this is the examination of an object or material in a manner that does not affect its structure or future usefulness. Les continued, "We do not teach our students merely what the diving industry needs them to know. NDT training at TOC is an all-inclusive program accepted by companies that do only NDT work. It provides our graduates with an alternative job in the event diving work becomes slack."


Selecting a profession is one of the most important career decisions you will ever make. Choosing a career in commercial diving offers a wide variety of working conditions; there are opportunities for challenging jobs in many areas. The 20 year story of Roger Smith's diving (he's a March 1979 TOC graduate) is an example. Roger has worked for only three companies; Ocean Systems, McDermott and, for the past 12 years, American Oil Field Divers. His diving jobs have taken him to Mexico, West Africa, South Africa, Singapore, Borneo, Venezuela, Brazil, the East and West Coasts of the United States and, of course, the Gulf of Mexico. Rio de Janeiro was his home for three years.

Not every graduate will opt for such an adventurous life. The important thing is that, as a TOC graduate, the option for travel will be yours. The Ocean Corporation is at 10840 Rockley Road, Houston, TX 77099. Look for them on the Internet at You can send e-mail to admissions@ocorp. com. To talk to Sid Yawn, Admissions Director, and to receive a current TOC catalog, call (800) 321-0298. It might be the best call you ever made. Give it a try.