Many of us associate diving with fun.
We think that it’s all about exploring the open seas, discovering new species and having tall tales to tell back home. However, for some, diving is a job — and a very risky one at that.
Here are some of the most extreme diving jobs that got us running out of air.
Nuclear Reactor Diver
Kyra Richter is breaking boundaries as a bona fide woman nuclear reactor diver in this male-dominated industry. What does she do exactly?
“Nuclear diving is a mix of inland and industrial diving, which means we work in rivers, lakes and oceans, and in man-made intake tunnels, condensers, pools, tanks and other structures inside the plant,” Richter explains. “We work in open or closed systems, clean or dirty water, which is contaminated water that contains radioactive isotopes.”
As to how things can go horribly wrong, Richter says: “The worst-case scenarios are running out of air if the block of the hard hat freezes in cold water, or ending up in the wrong place on one of our many penetration dives.”
Those investigative divers you see on C.S.I.? Yep, they’re real. Just ask Michael Berry, the founder and president of Underwater Criminal Investigators.
“I was diving in a rock quarry that had turned to mud over the years, looking for stolen merchandise, and I came across a bag filled with the rotting corpses of puppies and kittens,” he says. “I ended up catching meningitis and was out of commission for months — it almost killed me.”
Offshore Saturation Diver
Flashy words for a not-so-flashy job but like they say, somebody’s got to do it. Brian Lacey, a commercial and saturation diver freelances for various gas and oil companies in different countries. What is offshore saturation diving really like?
“A standard run is 30 days down, with a two-man team taking turns, working five hours at a time in the water,” Lacey explains. “The deepest job I ever did was 900 feet, and it took seven days to decompress afterward, but the average is about 300 feet, with 31/2 days of deco.”
“Working with underwater cutting torches is probably the most dangerous thing we do,” he says. “As you cut, the torch puts of hydrogen gas, and if you happen to be under a ledge, the gas can pool, and a spark from your torch can cause a major explosion — I had a small explosion once that rocked my head so hard it knocked the defog soap from my mask plate into my eyes.”
image source: scubadiving.com