Underwater Welder Salary in 2020: Underwater Pay Scale

underwater welder salary

Give us a list of jobs that are equally interesting and high paying.

We’re guessing that you’re having trouble finding a large number of jobs that fit this criterion.

Guess what!

Underwater welding is just that kind of a job. If you have no idea about underwater welder salary, then know this-
Underwater welders can earn up to $300,000 per year.

No. We’re not bluffing.

If you got interested in underwater welding all of a sudden, then we’re here to help you. Moreover, if you’re an underwater welder or would be underwater welder, then we’ll cover you too. We’ll reveal ways through which you can earn a fortune.

So, let’s dive right into the details-

Underwater welder salary, underwater pay scale: average income

The average income for this job is now $53,990 annually. Which is $25.96 on an hourly basis.

The range goes from $25,000 to $80,000 yearly. The top 10% get almost $83,740 on average. On the other hand, the bottom 10% makes around $30,700 on average.

Some factors determine your income as an underwater welder. Just like any other job, the first most crucial factor is the experience. Second, incomes location.

Here’s the thing-
These factors adding up with several other factors can take an underwater welder’s salary to $300,000 annually.

You must be thinking why the range is so big.

Well, underwater welders can earn by the hour or by the project.

Let’s say you’re an underwater welder who works at $30 per hour. Now, if you work 8 hours a day, then it’s $240 per day. Let’s say that you take 12 days to finish up the project. So, you get $2880 in that project.

Afterward, it takes another 15 days for you to find another plan. So, let’s round up your monthly income to $3000.

At the end of the year, you’ll get $36,000.

Let’s assume that you’re an experienced welder on an excellent location. So, you start charging 60$ per hour. Even with that double charge, you get $72,000 per year.

Now, what if you took the payment based on projects?

An underwater welder with decent experience can charge around $30,000 per project. And if you can finish up this project within two months with some over timing, then you get $30,000 in 3 months. We’re calculating three months because we’re assuming it’ll take around one month for you to find another gig.

So, based on this method, your yearly income reaches $120,000.

Now, what if you start charging $60,000 per project? What if you cost $75,000 per project? What if you find gigs pretty frequently?

Before you start daydreaming, we would like to bring you back down to earth.

To reach those high payment rates, you have to consider some factors. If you play well with these factors, then you can easily reach up to your expectations.

But before meeting with those factors, we would like to give you a tour through underwater welding career paths.
Underwater Welding Job Types

We have already laid out that location is a pretty huge factor in case of determining underwater welding salary.
Here’s the thing-

Underwater welders fall into two pay scale categories. And these categories are based on the location and scope of their work.

These are-

Offshore and inland.

Well, we’re taking this even further by including novice and experienced welder salaries. Moreover, we’ve included some examples of underwater welding projects.

Offshore Underwater Welding Career

Offshore projects usually are pretty big. Most of these jobs are in in-depth sea platforms or oil rigs or ships.

Project Examples

We have gathered up some welding projects that an underwater welder can do. So, let’s explore these-

  • Platform and pipeline abandonment
  • Underwater oil pipelines Inspection and stabilization
  • Subsea Site Cleaning
  • Chain Anchor Legs Survey
  • Drilling Support
  • Oil Rig Pipeline Wet Welding
  • Oil Rig Pipeline Hyperbaric Wet Welding
  • Wellhead Installing
  • Cruise or Navy ship turbine repair
  • Saturation diving and inspection

Some of the projects here are diving jobs too. Underwater welders receive sufficient training to do regular diving works also.

Underwater welder Salary Ranges

We have developed two salary ranges based on the experience of the welder-

#1. Novice (Fresh certified): $40,000 to $60,000 yearly on average
#2. Veteran (Experience of 3 years at least): $75,000 to $100,000+

Underwater Welder Schedule

The rule of thumb here is that 4 to 6 weeks out in the sea. Then 7 to 10 days at home and then again to the sea. If you’re earning based on projects, then you can expect some insane overtimes.

Usually, the offshore season runs from April to November. During winter the weather gets a bit harsh and unpredictable. So, no gigs during winter.

However, steady work depends a lot on the industry and company.

Some offshore underwater welders work round the year by helping out in the ship maintenance.

Some welders start welding in topside welding shops or constructions.

Some do other jobs during this time. Some take this time off.

If you’re a travel lover, then offshore welding might be your thing. Besides that, offshore welding is a bit high paid than onshore welding.

Onshore (Inland/Coastal) Underwater Welding Career

Usually, when people hear underwater welding, they think of someone welding large pipes or ships in the ocean.
But underwater doesn’t mean it has to be in the ocean.

Here too we have listed up onshore welder job or project examples. And along with that, we have developed welder income categories. As a dessert, we have prepared the onshore welder schedule just like before.

So, let’s begin-

Onshore Underwater Welding Project Examples

Some of these projects require only diving, and many underwater divers do these. That’s why we included these-

  • Wet welding of freshwater pipes
  • Inspecting and repairing of dam walls
  • Cleaning and inspecting of water towers and bridges
  • Salvaging and recovering sunken or damaged fishing boats
  • Cutting down underwater debris
  • Inspecting and repairing sewer pipes
  • Dismantling decayed underwater structures
  • Maintaining or repairing Nuclear power station inlet structures
  • Installing dock support pillars

Onshore Underwater Welder Salary

Just like before, here too, we have prepared two salary ranges based on experience. These are-

#1. Novice (Fresh certified): $25,000 to $40,000 yearly
#2. Veteran (With minimum three years of experience): $50,000 to $80,000 yearly

Onshore Underwater Welder Schedule

Welders tend to take smaller projects here. Or they work on an hourly basis. So, the workdays are regular (around 40 to 45 hours weekly).

However, the workload increases during winter and spring seasons. As we’ve stated, during winter, the weather gets a bit rough. So, water vessels and docks take in some damage.

Underwater Welding Potential Based on Countries

Offshore divers work internationally. Since they have to work for weeks or months at a time, their earnings are credited through the countries nearby them.

However, these earnings come from all diving related projects. Many consider underwater welding as just a small part of a diver’s job responsibility.

While going through stats, we understood that countries use three ways to report underwater welding pay.

These are:
#1. Through Percentile Income
#2. Through Numerical data
#3. Through internal work location

All the countries don’t use all these three methods. So, we couldn’t find a standard way of comparing these salaries.
Now, we will go country by country showing underwater welding income data-

United States

Percentile10%25%50%75%90%
Annual Wage$30,810$37,840$49,140$66,570$108,170

United Kingdom
Here the inland salary is 50,000 GBP, and offshore salary is 67,000 GBP yearly on average.

Canada

$0-$19.9K$20K-$49.9K$50K+Average
20%20%60%$55,562

Australia & New Zealand
In Australia, the inland salary is 65,000 AUD, and offshore salary is 180,000 AUD.

Whereas, in New Zealand, the inland salary is 65,000 NZD and offshore salary is 135,000 NZD.

N.B. In the UK, Australia, and New Zealand records, we found hyperbaric welding salary in daily rates. So, we did some calculations to find out the yearly income. For that, we considered average working days for divers and welders. Inland welders work for 150 days, and offshore welders work for 200 days.

Underwater Welding Pay Scale Factors

We were telling you about the pay scale factors throughout this whole time. Now it’s time for us to explore these.
If you play these cards correctly, then you’ll see a massive load of income in this profession at a stage. So, let’s explore these income influencing components.

We will start from the most important ones to the least important ones-

Experience

underwater pay scale

If you’re going through this line for earning some quick bucks, then hold on. This isn’t gambling or anything. Here, you have to work your way up the ladder.

After completing the commercial diving training, you’ll have to choose between an offshore or inland career.
Generally, North Sea welders find jobs inland first and then gradually go towards offshore. This is the opposite in the case of Americans. Their priority is to go towards the Gulf of Mexico.

However, it doesn’t matter where you start your journey. During the first days, you have to take up orders from senior divers/welders and maritime business owners.

Just hold your breath and spend around five years in this job. Afterward, your experience alone will give you a fortune.

Certificate

You have the experience, but how can you prove that?

You can’t expect someone to hand over their ship to you without any checking.

So, you have to get certificates that approve your skill. You have to add up new skills and keep that learning curve up.
This will be a good sign to employers.

So, do get some certificates.

Environment

There are three common challenges in underwater welding. These are-

  • Zero-degree visibility
  • Freezing temperature
  • High wave currents

If you want to get some extra bucks into your pocket, then you should start embracing these challenges.

However, every underwater welding job is different. You have to choose the one that’s for learning and earning.

Depth of Work

How deep are you willing to go for money?

Saturation or deep divers make up around $45,000 to $90,000 per month. And this can quickly go over $500,000 smoothly.

This is because they receive this depth pay of $1 to $4 per foot. After 100 feet that increase even more.

Additionally, if you can manage long dives with saturation dives, then it’ll bring you some big bonuses.

However, you’ll need experience of several years before attempting into the deep seas.

Other factors

Besides these important factors, you should consider some other issues.

Checkup diving methods, equipment handling, distance offshore, overtime pay, etc. factors.

In Conclusion

Till now, we’ve explored all the realms of underwater welding. We have discussed the factors that turn this job into a high paying and exciting job. We have explored the career path of underwater welding.

Lastly, we would like to repeat one thing.

Underwater welding has no shortcut. You have to work your way up always.

However, an underwater welder salary is still lucrative. And if you find it interesting, then try it out.

Good Luck.

Related Reading: 
#1. Top Welder Brands
#2. Esab Rebel Welders
#3. Vulcan Welders
#4. Hobart and Lincoln Welders


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