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Onshore construction diving is a broad sector involving a variety of tasks and work locations. The term ‘onshore/inshore’ refers to diving work that is undertaken close to the shore or inland in freshwater dams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and tanks, in depths of up to 50m.

The main thing that separates it form ‘offshore diving’ is that the latter is generally more sophisticated, conducted in direct support of the offshore oil and gas industry, undertaken in offshore waters and generally entails working under a different legislative regime that is more stringent and demanding.

Onshore construction diving does not include aquaculture, science diving, inspection diving or search and recovery diving. It does include any diving that is undertaken to assemble, construct, demolish, dismantle, install, clean, inspect, maintain, remove, repair, salvage, sample, search for, photograph, film, video or make a sound recording in relation to:

  • Excavation, including the excavation or filling of trenches, ditches, shafts, wells, tunnels and pier holes, and the use of caissons and cofferdams
  • Buildings, including the construction (including the manufacturing of prefabricated elements of a building at the place of work concerned), alteration, renovation, repair, maintenance and demolition of all types of buildings
  • Civil engineering, including the construction, structural alteration, repair, maintenance and demolition of, for example, airports, docks, harbours, inland waterways, dams, rivers and avalanche and sea defence works, road and highways, railways, bridges and tunnels, viaducts, and works related to the provision of services such as communications, drainage, sewage, water and energy supplies.

The ADAS Part 2 (SSBA to 30m) certification is the minimum required for onshore construction work, however, the ADAS Part 3 (SSBA to 50m) is an advantage.

Tasks Performed on the Job

The onshore construction diver may be required to perform a diverse range of tasks depending on the job. These may include:

  • Video & photography
  • Welding, cutting, hole boring in concrete, fitting anchors, dredging, trenching, cable laying, removing splicing and replacing pylons, wharf carpentry, steel assembly and fixing, pouring concrete, leak detection, concrete restoration, sand bagging
  • Working with hydraulic and pneumatic tools, using lift bags to lift and reposition heavy objects, rigging, working with cranes
  • Inspection and quality assurance.

Responsibilities and Challenges

As with other kinds of diving, the overall responsibilities of onshore construction diving are:

  • Personal fitness for work
  • Abstinence from alcohol and drugs
  • Maintenance of current medical and first aid certification
  • Maintenance of equipment
  • Maintenance of OHS systems, training and discipline
  • Maintenance of professional development and competency
  • Good work ethos and team work

Difficulties that come with onshore construction diving may be working in adverse weather, cold water, contaminated water, low visibility, currents or water flow, and the frustration of working in these kinds of conditions.

Highlights and Rewards

The rewards in this field are the enjoyment of working as a team, the satisfaction of achieving a goal and being engaged in diverse, interesting and challenging work. The work is hands-on and requires only minimal paperwork. Each day is different with scope to develop and use a very wide range of skills and involving travel to different locations. Earning capacity is quite high for minimal training. While the remuneration for onshore construction work is generally less than offshore construction work, the chance to go home at the end of the work day is a big advantage for many divers.


The minimum prerequisites to enrol onto an ADAS Part 2 training course include:

  • Have a current ADAS Part 1 (SCUBA to 30m) qualification or approved equivalent
  • Hold a current First Aid certificate or Diver Medical Technician (DMT) certification
  • Hold current CPR and Oxygen Administration certification
  • Hold a current dive medical fitness certificate
  • Can understand written and verbal communication in English (unless the training is to be Non English Language)


All industry standard diving equipment is used as is a range of hydraulic and pneumatic power tools, welding, cutting equipment and lift bags. Training will include a range of environments, including in low visibility and the training environment will reflect a working diving contractor as much as possible.

The duration of Part 2 training course is four weeks.  Divers starting out in the industry can do a combined Part 1, Part 2 course which runs for eight weeks.

Prospective students are encouraged to contact the ATEs for enrollment details, training schedules and course fees.

The offshore construction diving section of this site provides more information about Part 3 (SSBA to 50m) training.

Career Pathways

After gaining an ADAS Part 2 (SSBA to 30m), a diver may choose to move into a number of different fields such as:

  • Offshore diving
  • Aquaculture diving
  • Science diving
  • Dive supervision
  • Project management
  • Contracting
  • Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) operation
  • Training delivery
  • Chamber operation outside the diving industry (e.g, in hospitals or tunneling)
  • Atmospheric diving systems

Thanks to Des Walters of Pressureworx for contributing to this web page.

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