How Much Can You Make as a Professional Saturation Diver?

When it comes to underwater exploration, few professions offer as much excitement, danger, and potential for high income as saturation diving. The job requires extensive training, physical fitness, and a willingness to work in extreme environments. But for those who can meet these challenges, the rewards can be significant. So, just how much does a saturation diver make? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the factors that affect diver salaries, and what it takes to earn a top income in this exciting and specialized field.

What is Saturation Diving?

Before we can talk about salaries, it’s important to understand what a saturation diver does. Saturation diving is a type of deep-sea diving that involves living and working in a pressurized environment for extended periods. Divers typically work from a diving bell or a submersible chamber that is attached to a support ship or platform. Once they descend to their work site, they remain at the same pressure for days or weeks, allowing them to perform complex tasks that would not be possible with standard dive techniques.

The Skills Required

Saturation diving is not for everyone. It requires extensive training, physical fitness, and a willingness to work in extreme conditions. Divers must complete a rigorous training program that typically includes underwater welding, cutting, and salvage techniques, as well as administration of medical gas and other skills. In addition to these technical skills, saturation divers must be able to stay alert and focused when working in a small, confined space for long periods, often with little natural light or access to fresh air.

Factors That Affect Salaries

The amount that a saturation diver can earn depends on several factors, including experience, location, and type of work performed. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for commercial divers was $28.34 in 2019. But this figure represents a wide range of salaries, with some divers earning as little as $16.04 per hour, and others making upwards of $50 per hour or more. Factors that affect salaries include:

Experience: Divers with more experience and more extensive training are generally able to command higher salaries.
Location: Divers who work in areas with high demand for their services, or in remote locations that require additional logistical support, may earn more than those who work in more accessible areas.
Type of work: Divers who perform specialized tasks such as underwater welding or construction may earn more than those who perform more routine maintenance tasks.

Earning Potential

So, just how much can a saturation diver make? According to, the average salary for a saturation diver is around $90,000 per year. However, salaries can range from as low as $40,000 per year to as high as $200,000 per year or more, depending on factors such as experience, location, and the type of work performed. Divers who work on high-paying offshore oil rigs may be able to earn salaries in the six-figure range, while those who work on smaller commercial vessels or in scientific research may earn less.

Is Saturation Diving Worth It?

Despite the potential for high earnings, saturation diving is not for everyone. The job requires significant time away from home, physical and mental endurance, and the ability to work in high-stress, high-risk environments. However, for those who are able to meet these challenges, the rewards can be extraordinary. Saturation diving offers the opportunity to work on unique and challenging projects, to travel to exotic locations, and to earn a top income in a highly specialized field.

In conclusion, saturation diving can be a highly rewarding career for those who have the skills and endurance required. While salaries may vary widely depending on experience, location, and type of work performed, a top-performing saturation diver can earn a six-figure income and gain valuable experience and job satisfaction. If you are considering a career in underwater exploration, saturation diving may be the exciting and rewarding career you have been searching for.

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