Underwater Welding Exam

**Update** These pictures, unfortunately, do not contain my Welding Test Plate. The first picture is of the enormous pile of steel that I had to sort through in order to find my plate. The second picture is the result of my efforts which consisted of some loss of skin and not actually finding the Plate that belongs to me. Regardless, I think these pictures will give you an idea just what I’m talking about. **Update**

I’ll be honest, I lost some sleep over this test. Welding underwater seems to be a crap shoot in my opinion. The quality of a weld can vary enormously from one dive to the next. Even more, one pass to the next. Out here on the West Coast,dscf0553.JPG visibility is all but absent. Add to that, water temperatures of 40 degrees or less and it’s just downright difficult to do anything underwater, much less, lay a straight fillet weld. The slightest flinch, shiver, or blink and your an inch off the mark. Lose you concentration for a split second and your never going to find you way back to a spot that you couldn’t see in the first place. The test itself is not that difficult in theory. Doesn’t a theory always seem simplier when when you read it on a single sheet of paper ? Add a few outside factors and conditions into the mix, and things do not seem to work as the text might otherwise suggest they should. Se La Vie. Each Diver receives two 1/2 inch thick plates of steel; a 4×4 and a 6×6. Along with the plates, we receive four weldingdscf0554.JPG electrodes. The goal of the test is to weld the 4×4 onto the 6×6 by making four(and only four) passes, one on each side of the 4×4. The grading system is simple. Once the plates are lifted to the surface, our instructor places them into a machine that forces high pressure air into a small 1/8 inch hole, which was drilled into the top of the 4×4. Soapy water is then sprayed onto the welds themselves, in-order to make any and all holes visible. For each hole, you lose five points from your grade. Six or more holes and you fail. Despite my anxieties, I really tried to remain confident. I should really say that I tried to make myself believe that I was confident, because in fact, I was not. I was in the third Dive rotation, so I had ample opportunity to see plate after plate tested. The average seemed to be 3-4 holes, with about two failures thrown into the bunch. Just enough really, to make me more anxious. The next thing I know, I’m on the bottom waiting for my plates to be sent down to me. I remember thinking about how lucky I was to have reached the bottom at just about the same time that 3 Tug boats decided to pull three, very large barges up the Canal. They kicked up enough mud and silt to black out the sun(if you could see the sun in Seattle in the first place). Just about that time, my plates came crashing down on my hat. This was not supposed to happen, but it woke me up. 10 minutes later I was finished. Had i been able to see the finished product better, I might have been a bit less worried than I actually was. About 5 minutes later I was standing topside, staring down at my test plates which were sitting in the grade eating machine. The moment of truth was upon me. I could hear the air creeping it’s way through the high pressure hose, just hungry enough to eat my Welding grade down to nothing. When the air finally made contact with my plates, there was an unexpected lack of sound. This was good; the absence of gurgling and hissing means that there are not any holes, or at least not any big holes. Not that lucky though, just as my instructor was about to cut the air, one tiny bubble decided to sneak out. This bubble was so tiny that he had to get down on his knees to get a second look. It was there nonetheless. Tiny as it was, it was there. So, I ended up with a 95% on my Underwater welding test. You have to know that I am really happy. That does not mean that I am not disappointed in myself. When it comes to me personally, I am a perfectionist, I expect no less. Despite the fact that I believed it impossible to get a 100%, I still required it of myself. I am really happy, but I’m not satisfied, nor am I finished trying. I have a feeling there are many day’s of welding in my future. All that I know for sure is that before last Monday I had never so much as touched a welding stinger and electrode, yet here I am, welding “fillet” beads, 30 feet below the surface in 35 degree, pitch black water. Who would have thought? I meant to take a few pictures of the finished project, but I was so frozen after the dive that it slipped my mind. It was pretty ugly looking, but I will make a point of taking a shot or two in the morning.

Hope all is well. Until next time…


~ by Scott on Friday, January 26, 2007.

12 Responses to “Underwater Welding Exam”

  1. A job well done!!! I am very proud of you. I loved reading this
    one. So what, only 1 little hole.

  2. after reading your note it reminded me of myself and it gave me more strength to continue my journey into the field of under water welding.

  3. Nicole,
    I’m happy to know that you were able to pull something out of that post. Best wishes to you on you journey! Where are you studying underwater welding? Work smarter, not harder…

  4. hi my name is steven is uww a good career?is there really the high pay ?how much ?and is it steady work?

  5. Hi i’m Pat. um, i’m currently in the military, stationed in Iraq. I’m planning to become a commercial diver once i get out. I was wondering how you would determine which schools are any good? I’m considering going to either to the Commercial Diving Academy in jacksonville FL, or the International Diving Institute in SC. thanks for your time.

  6. Hi my name is Caleb. I am 16 years old and underwater welding has been my dream job for a long time. Can you give me some tips on what college is a good one for me to go to in regaurds to being an underwater welder.

  7. Hey people.im currently taking a welding course for regular welding…..not to hard id say….im almost done and will be cert. When I grad ..im looking to find a elding job for about a year or 2 then go to under ater welding….that would be awesome as heck to do……..best of luck to those who want to become a welder…………

  8. a friend of mine was wondering if anyone knew if most UWW firms would hire someone with a felony charge on his record? it is the lowest class felony for marijuana possesion a few years ago if it matters?… if i could get some feedbac that would be cool cuz my friend is sorta nervous about what he sshould major in college……thanx

  9. Good Job!!!
    We train welders, but not underwater welder. To be honest, I never seen an actual underwater welding in my life. I hope I could see one hehe.

    But to those who wish to learn normal welding (SMAW or GTAW), give us a call and we will train you to be a welder…

    Visit our site for more info!

  10. welding is all about u and u body if u can handle going down the depth and ur not scared of sharks lol

  11. underwater welding is challenging welding activity. thanks for sharing informative post, it make me more get motivated to join underwater welding training.

  12. A job well done

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