A question that fetches the attention of people. Many professions provide this opportunity to make money within a short period. Underwater welding is considered among such a profession, which yields high income in a short span. But this is also a dangerous profession to adapt. Therefore, the death rate for underwater welders is high compared to other professions. What are the responsibilities of an underwater welder? These welders help in maintaining offshore oil drilling rights, pipelines, ships, underwater civil structures, and many more things. But the question is, how much do underwater welders make?

The average salary of an underwater welder with intermediate experience is $65,906 per year or $26 per hour. While the highly experienced and expert welder can earn make money in six digits. Take a breath, be relaxed and read this article till the end to know the average of how much do underwater welders make in different states, how much do experience underwater welders make a year, factors affecting the pay of an underwater welder, saturation diving and how much they make, how much do underwater welders make in different geographic regions and types of underwater welders and their income.

How Much Do Average Underwater Welders Make in the Different States?

The salary of an underwater welder varies among the different states. The average salary that an underwater welder can earn is $65,906. An underwater welder of Santa Ana averagely earns about $67,839, which is 3 percent more than the average. While the underwater welder with a medium scale of skill fetches almost $73,417 in Aurora, which is 11 percent higher than the average salary. On the other hand, the underwater welder of Washington charges about $88,075 per year for underwater welding projects. It is about 34 percent higher than the average income in the USA.

In some states, the average earning of an underwater welder is lower than the average in the USA. The underwater welder of Cincinnati earns about $64,124, which is 3 percent lower than the average from the rest of the country. But the underwater welder of New York City has a salary of about $69,022, which is about 5 percent higher than the average. These values are fetched from comparably a reliable source for finding the salaries of different professions in different areas. This site provides data about the different professions in the USA.

How Much Do Experienced Underwater Welder Make in a Year?

The highly skillful welders earn about $339,998 in a year. They are highly paid because they have to work under extreme environments and conditions like the high pressure of water. Due to these factors, an underwater welder earns the salary of the whole year within a few months as the offshore diver’s work within the span ranges from April to November the rest of the year, the weather conditions don’t allow them to work.

Many factors decide the difference in the salary of any underwater welders. The list of such factors that affect the earnings is listed below with a little explanation.

Factor Affecting the Pay of Underwater Welder

There are many deciding factors for the salary of an underwater welder. According to the research, certain factors directly impact the wage of an underwater welder. The factors enlisted plays a huge role to know how much underwater welders make in a year.

Length of Operation

How long do you have to stay in the water? For a few hours, a day, or for the weeks. Some projects have the requirement to stay underwater for weeks. The payment will be according to the length of stay.

Operating Depth

Water has its pressure, known as static pressure. Most of the people stay at the surface of the water or are limited to a few feet of depth in water. But the static pressure of water becomes a nightmare for the deep divers. The pressure at 300 ft depth is almost ten times more than the pressure on the surface. It can cause damage to the body. Therefore, the deeper, the higher the salary.

Geographic Location

Previously it was discussed that the salary of underwater welders varies among different states of the USA. The salary of an underwater welder also varies according to the region. Therefore, you should know how much money underwater welders make in specific geographic locations. These guys are hired into various projects across the globe. Therefore, they will be paid according to the respective territory where they will work.

Diving Experience

A factor that impacts significantly in the salary is your diving experience. If you are a good diver, then you can earn more and more money from this occupation. The rookie divers earn less as compared to the veteran divers with 3 or 4 years of experience. You will know in later sections about the difference between the rookie diver and the experienced one.

Working Environment

Underwater welding projects have different kinds of challenges as compared to surface welding projects regarding the environment. It is most probable that you have to work in an area underwater where the visibility is zero. High wave currents are also a challenge for the welder while working on such projects. The chilling temperature and work in the company of Sharks and other kinds of dangerous sea animals are also included in challenges that you can face as an underwater welder. So, the more challenging environment, the more you will be paid.


Certificates impact positively on your CV when you are bidding on a project or getting hired in a company. If you are a certified underwater welder, then they can trust you and have more chances of high payment. So, it has a great impact on the salary of an underwater welder.


If you performed very well in your past projects, then you can get a high payment according to your record in any company. As well as, if you show an extraordinary performance in the present project, then you will get bounces along with your decided salary.


It is another factor that impacts the question of how much underwater welders make. When these guys are busy with offshore welding projects, these divers take advantage and work extra hours to make more money. Underwater welders earn handsome money from one project and then land on the other project.

These welders avail this opportunity due to the reason because marine welding or offshore welding is a seasonal job. Therefore, they earn extra money to complement the off-season.

Diving Method

The diving method is another major factor that replays the answer of how much does underwater welding pays. There are various diving methods like mixed gas saturation method, surface supplied air method and Scuba diving method. Underwater researchers and someone who wants underwater recreations done Scuba diving.

Whatever the method you choose for your project the insulation must be. It is dangerous. But the lesser the insulation, the higher will be the reward. Because lesser insulation ensures a high quality of output. The above-mentioned factors have a major role in answering the question “How much do underwater welders make?”

What is Saturation Diving

In the previous section, you have come to know that when the divers have to work in deep waters like about 300 ft depth, they feel the immense pressure of water which is about ten times the pressure which someone feels at sea level. Saturation diving is a form of diving in which the divers have to stay for a long time at higher depths. They use gasses instead of the air for proper breath.

They use a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen for proper breathing under high pressure at greater depths. They are used extra than the required per breath because the oxygen dissolves less as compared to the nitrogen in the lungs. But the problem with it is both of the gasses are in proper proportion. Nitrogen dissolves more and causes decompression sickness to the divers. To avoid these divers can only for 5 minutes in such depth with these gasses.

The divers know that they have to stay for weeks in such conditions. They use a technique known as saturation diving. Saturation diving can take up to three weeks. In these weeks, the diver eats and drinks in a pressure chamber. This saturation diving helps to avoid decompression stress for the divers until the job is done.

How Much Do Saturation Divers Make?

With such a harsh and challenging situation, they charge more as compared to lesser deep welding projects. These welders charge in the range of $45,000 to $90,000 per month. In this way, they can translate to about $500,000 per year.

If you are thinking after reading about a half-million/ year to become a saturation diver, then please stop. This is not a get-rich-quick-scheme to become a saturation diver. It requires very tough and rigorous training to become a saturation diver. You have to join some school which offers such training to survive under such gruesome conditions for a long time.

It takes a long time to go for your first saturation dive like a professional. The payment that a saturation diver receives is known as depth pay. This varies concerning the depth. Usually ranges from $1 to $4. For the first 100 ft, they charge $1 per foot and for the later depths, their charges increase to $2 per foot. This depends upon the depth of operation and length of the project. Along with all of this payment, they also earn a handsome amount in terms of bounces. They get bounced for the time that they have to spend underwater and the strain that they have beard.

How Much Do Underwater Welders Make in Different Geographic Regions?

According to payscale.com, the salary of an underwater welder is as follows. According to it, west Africa is the least paid region and on the other hand, Northern Europe is the heaven of an underwater welder. In West Africa, these guys earn about $60,000 per year. The Middle East’s underwater welder makes about $70,000 per annum. While the regions of Northern America, Western Europe, Australia and Northern Europe offer about $75,000 per year.

Types of Underwater Welders and Their Income

Underwater welders are classified into two main categories. Which are Offshore divers and onshore divers. What is the difference between onshore and offshore diving?

Onshore Divers

As the name suggests about their job status. These divers work inland projects. They earn their livelihood from working in lakes and rivers near the dam sites or other engineering construction sites. These guys mostly dive into freshwater. Therefore, there is a lesser chance of corrosion to their diving gears as compared to offshore divers. Mostly these guys carry on their job with the help of Scuba diving. These divers have a 40 to 45 days schedule per year.

Nature of the Work

Onshore divers have a different nature of the project as compared to offshore divers. Their main focus is to support civil engineering works. They help to check the integrity of different types of civil projects like checking bridge structure. They also take care of the dam’s wall along with repairing they inspect the sewer pipes, underwater debris and many other things. Although this is less challenging as compared to offshore projects. But, they also face high currents and challenging environments.

How Much Do Onshore Underwater Welders Make?

This is a less tricky job as compared to offshore divers. Therefore, the income is lesser than the offshore divers. These divers are categorized into two main categories.

  • Rookie divers
  • Veteran divers

Rookie divers began with the range of $25,000 to $40,000. However the annual income of Veteran divers ranges between $50,000 to $80,000. It requires almost five years to become a veteran diver.

Offshore Divers

These divers perform welding operations in seas, gulfs and oceans. These divers are supported by some stationary platforms or boats. The newbies have a chance to start their underwater welding careers as offshore divers. Most oil and gas companies hired these welders for the sake of maintenance of the structures.

Nature of the Job

Usually, these welders are hired for the sake of maintenance of oil and gas structures. But they are also hired for oil extraction from the seas. The nature of the job is much more challenging than the onshore projects. These underwater divers have to stay for weeks in the depths of water. They have to carry on their operations in less visibility, freezing temperatures, high pressure and a challenging environment.

How Much Do Offshore Underwater Welders Make?

These divers are divided into two main categories according to their experience.

  • Rookie divers
  • Veteran divers

Rookie divers or newbies make almost $40,000 to $60,000 per year. While veteran divers with 5 or more 5 years of experience almost make $50,000 to $80,000. They can work from April to November. For the rest of the year, weather conditions don’t allow them to work.


Let’s conclude the whole discussion. Underwater welding projects are far more challenging as compared to other welding operations. They involve more risks like the static pressure of water, lesser visibility, short periods of working, challenging environment and higher death rates. These risks are the reason for the high earnings of underwater welders. On average an underwater welder with medium experience makes about $65,906. While the saturation divers can make about $500,000 per year. The answer to the question of how much underwater welders make in an hour is almost $ 26 per hour.

Read More: Why is Underwater Welding so Dangerous


How many types of underwater welding?

There are mainly two types of underwater welding, wet and dry. In wet welding, the operation is carried out in the water while in case of the dry welding. Either metal piece or both welders and metal pieces are brought to a dehydrated chamber underwater and the welding is done in that chamber.

Is underwater welding challenging?

Yes, underwater welding is a hard job. It requires skillful people because they have to work in challenging environments, freezing temperatures, reduced visibility and high pressure. Along with the skill, they must be physically fit people.

What is the age limit for underwater welding?

It is a difficult as well as an active job. The person who wants to carry on this occupation must be fit. There is no legal age limit for this profession. But the best time for this job is before 30.

Which kind of companies hire underwater welders?

Usually, the oil and gas companies hire underwater welders for the sake of maintenance of pipelines as well as for the extraction of oil and gas beneath the sea’s bed. While some civil works companies also hire such persons. So that they help out in civil works like bridge construction. They also have the opportunity to work the sewer line maintenance and dam wall repair. Marines also want to have such people for the repairing of ships while they are in oceans or seas.

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