New or soon to be dive school graduates: Coming to the GOM.

Gotta just say i have noticed a definite turn in the outlook of this industry over the last year. The new constuction and drilling has tapered way off. although jobs like platform removal, P&A's, Inspections, and emergency response (such as leaking p/l's and work requiring a diver to continue different projects) will not grind to a halt any time soon. Never will as long as oil is king. But with the previous hurricanes inflating the industry (hurricane babies) leaving a large # of younger newer divers just at the start of their careers. I was just wondering what the dive company pitchmen / recruiters were promising as break out time frames, work availability, pay, incentives, and so forth.... I guess i kinda wonder how the dive schools are painting the industry and it's prospects also? I'm not saying it's dead or anything I just think that the boom has past and the reality is begining to set in - kinda think i was lucky to get in when i did (In the time of stand-by pay all winter long haha the good ol days) Guess what I'm asking is r u new bloods getting a rosy picture painted for u or r there any straight shooters in your schools or potential employers that r telling u that the is industry has throttled back? and some lean times lay ahead.

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Dan here is another lesson from my life. If they say it's easy and pays well-they're lying. we (u) have the opportunity to make money we get to that place via diving. We are not scuba punks-we don't go down to watch fish f***, we go down to work hard. My dad told me a long time ago "if you really want to be a ditch digger, do it but be the best at it and you will make alot of money, because if you love it, you'll be the best at it n therefore you will make alot of hard dive safe, Anthony.

Anthony! Your comments sound like a plug. Or are you just that far out of touch with reality?  What Dive School are you an instructor at?

THe reality is that the BOOM you refer to is an echo more like a trickle of the 80's there has been no boom, the sales pitches that feed the ADCI fish tank are no different now than then when they conned (ILLEGALLY) insurance companies into redirecting clients to become cleared or lose their coverage. Education in any field is commendable. But dont put your eggs in one basket. As a small business owner I'm telling you the facts. There are tried and tested divers who are finding it hard to find work, people are not spending money the way they used to. Diversify yourself in the event the lies about this industry your recruiters told you actually do not come true so you have other avenues to keep meat in the freezer. there is also no throttle companies are working or shutting their doors. That's reality. 

Yea Jerry,

There is no if about diving industry as a wh*** slowing down it is it has and it will.

Prepare yourself guys. 

Since the '70's we have witnessed 4 or 5 times that dive work along with the economy takes a big dip and gets put on a back burner of things that get done that means no work available for the average working diver. One of my favorite stories from my dive buddy Don McCurley goes like this;

"Well after I got out of dive school I went over to Morgan City, LA. and I found that dive jobs almost not to be found he said why they were so tight that you couldn't even buy a job as a beginning divers tender"  

The point here is to prepare yourself with plan B like a mechanics trade, welding, engineering background, etc. So it stands to some reason that if that's how its going to be starting out having unpaid debt still owed on credit cards and education just puts too much pressure on a guy or gal.

Another late dive pal Andy Smith use to say "if you want to make money in diving than you have to be able to say to yourself at the beginning of every Diving day " EVERYTHING IS OK ! "  Trying to go offshore with financial, domestic and other worries just compromises a persons ability to safely perform their jobs not only for them but the wh*** crew and the operation. 

Plan ahead so you can stay ahead. After all getting to be a older diver is a golden priveledge .

I graduated from the Divers Academy in 03, when it was still in Camden City NJ inside the Broadway Terminal of South Port.  The truth about the industry was dribbled out in low tones out of ear shot from Tammy around the half way mark of the class,safely past the point of any refund request. 

Dive schools, as mentioned else where, are for profit enterprises, the previous comparisons to used car dealers is about right.  Dive schools and used car dealers make a living selling you something that isn't quite worth the asking price, but once your out the door, or off the lot, its your problem not theirs when you cant find a decent job, or your brakes blow out at a busy intersection.  You still have to pay the loans back on a worthless diploma, aka car like a Pontiac Feiro, worth about as much as the dri-suit she sold us previous grads!!! 

Dive schools are only in operation for one reason, the Federal Govt will loan prospective students the tuition to attend, that's why so many people, can and do, go to dive school.  No private lender would loan the money to attend a dive school when they found out there is not enough work to go around for all the divers coming out of the growing number of dive schools, meaning the loan is unlikely to get paid back.  But the Feds don't care, being gainfully employed is not a requirement any for profit school has to meet, and you cant declare bankruptcy on school loans.

When I found out what the going rate was at the time ($16.00+/-) to tend, and ($20+/-) to dive, my only mission from that point forward was to become a member of a Dive Union.  The only place that gave a friend and I a shot was L.U. 56 in Boston. It was far from easy, but it was worth it!!!

I started there in Boston and transferred back home two years later to Philadelphia, L.U. 454, I have not looked back since.  I never made less than $80K a year, always had decent medical coverage, contribute to a pension, an annuity worth over 100K, and I participate in two separate 401 plans.  Being a member of a marine construction union enabled me to work year round either diving, wharf and dock building, or driving pile. Being a member of L.U. 454, that is affiliated with the UBC provides the opportunity to not only work in our territory in the North East but throughout North America in the event work dried up locally.  I can work for multiple signatory contractors from one job to the next, I am not beholden to one contractor.  I don't have to work unsafe to keep my job, and nor do my peers.

Our members have access to training center where wecan constantly up grade our skills such as top side welding, and under water welding (3.6), rigging and signaling, etc all free of charge.  Need a TWIC card, special boots, boaters license?  Our Union will reimburse us for any work related certifications or training that a contractor may require.

Working in this industry as a Union Diver, Dock Builder, and Pile Driver, has enabled me to have a career, from one year to the next, which has provided me the ability to own a home, a nice car, be married, and work close to home.   As bad as the economy has been since 08 I haven't worked less than 1800 hours.  I feel for all those who have not had the same opportunity I have had as a member of L.U. 454.  There is no way anyone in our business should make less than $20.00 per hour, at that rate a middle class life style, which we all deserve, is not an option.  Unfortunately, most contractors are non-union and treat their employees accordingly, like s***.  I have heard that GOM contractors are pretty decent, but if there is no work, it doesn't really matter.

Good Luck, and don't waste your money on going to a dive school, not a) unless a hurricane hits the golf, or b) you intend to join a Union.

FYI:  Tammy Brown's brother is a member of a Union in NY.

Over and Out

Thanks for that information. I really want to go the union way, my Father was union and uncles were union, I like the way the unions treat their members. Is there a best route to go? I live in York, Pa. Is that the normal route to get into LU 454? Get in one union and transfer in?

I'm a recent graduate of the school in Jersey (November 25, 2013). The recruiter I initially talked to promised me the world. I was in the Army, and my recruiter there didn't lie to me as much. He said I would walk away with a AWS welding certificate, I would be hired before I got out of school, room and board was covered in the school tuition and Blah, Blah, Blah. He didn't mention anything about hat programs though. The guy quit before I showed up for my first day. They had gotten another recruiter in, and he seemed like a pretty straight shooter.


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