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Why Diving

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What We Do

Since the rescue of the crew on submarine USS Squalus (SS-192) in 1939, to the recovery and assistance to USS Cole in 2000, Navy Divers have played critical roles in the Navy. In today’s Navy, divers perform essential in-water tasks anywhere in the world and are trained to conduct Salvage, Harbor Clearance and debeaching for Maritime Disasters, Underwater Repairs to U.S. Navy and NATO Ships and Submarines, Underwater Construction, and Submarine Rescue. Navy Divers are also trained in tactical skills and can combine with Expeditionary Forces to deliver dive capabilities in troubled parts of the world.

Using the most modern diving equipment available, divers are taught how to operate in a variety of conditions — from clear, warm, tropical waters to frigid Arctic waters beneath icebergs to waters so murky the work must be done by touch alone.

Become a Navy Diver and you’ll be rewarded for your hard work with special pay (Dive Pay, Proficiency Pay and possibly Demolition Pay) and bonuses, in addition to a generous salary. You’ll be part of an elite Navy community that offers guaranteed experience almost anywhere around the globe. In fact, the motto of Navy Divers is "We Dive the World Over.”

Who we Are

  The U. S. Navy is the lead agency in military diving technology and training within the Department of Defense. The foundation of the dive program consists of the Navy Diver (ND) rate for personnel who perform diving as their primary job in the Navy.

Navy Divers administer are highly trained personnel who are tasked to perform difficult and demanding task in adverse conditions. Personnel are physically fit and team oriented. ND’s are a relatively small, diverse community consisting of approximately 1200 active duty personnel Navy wide. Navy Divers also have a Reserve component of 118 personnel. While performing underwater, individuals routinely perform task that require a high level of self motivation and problem solving skill. ND’s normally conduct operations in 4 to 8 person task oriented teams. These highly skilled experts develop and maintain team unity unmatched by any organization. Throughout the Navy you will routinely hear the "can do" and team spirit expressed with an audible HOO-YAH! That is recognized worldwide. Utilizing the most modern diving equipment and techniques, Navy Divers are able to dive to depths of 1000 feet of seawater and operate in a variety of condition ranging from a desert environment to the arctic.

Navy Divers are assigned to various worldwide commands based on level of experience and knowledge. Experience levels can be categorized into 3 levels (Apprentice, Journeyman and Master).

1) Apprentice: Diver Second Class (NEC 5343) Qualified to dive using all Air and Mixed Gas USN Diving Apparatus. Operates, tests, repairs and adjusts all USN Diving Equipment, systems and support equipment. Operates recompression chambers. Performs underwater inspections, harbor/port/ship security inspections, including ordnance searching, Ship/submarine repair, salvage, expeditionary salvage and littoral combat, rescue, special warfare operations, underwater cutting and welding, demolition operations and small boat operations. Operates Swimmer Delivery Vehicle Dry-Deck Shelter systems and submarine Lock-in/Lock-out systems. Trained in Diving Physics and is able to recognize symptoms of decompression sickness and diving accidents, and is able to assist in their treatment.

2) Journeyman: Diver First Class (NEC 5342) Qualified to dive and supervise using Air and Mixed Gas USN Diving Apparatus. Supervises the operation, tests, repairs and adjusts all USN Diving Equipment, systems and support equipment. Supervises recompression chambers operation, diagnoses and treats diving related injuries. Supervises underwater inspections, harbor/port/ship security inspections, including ordnance searching, Ship/submarine repair, salvage, expeditionary salvage and littoral combat, rescue, special warfare operations, underwater cutting and welding, demolition operations and small boat operations. Operates and Supervises Swimmer Delivery Vehicle Dry-Deck Shelter systems, submarine Lock-in/Lock-out systems and submarine rescue chambers. Trains USN, DOD military and other personnel in diving Procedures equipment and systems. Trained in advanced diving physics, medicine and saturation diving techniques. Dives and performs underwater demolition for the purpose of open ocean salvage, ship husbandry, or underwater construction operations. Employs the principle and techniques of precision demolition in projects requiring cutting, flattening and/or removing of pilings, obsolete moorings, or other obstructions in channels, harbors, open oceans, or other areas of concern. Operates, maintains, and supports saturation/deep dive systems and equipment.

3) Master: Master Diver (NEC 5341) Most qualified person to direct and supervise diving, salvage, ship repair operations and diving programs. Directly responsible to the Commanding Officer for all facets of command diving operations and programs, to include training, equipment, systems, personnel, operations. Develops, updates and oversees diving programs. Manages the development, operation, testing, repair and certification of all USN Diving Equipment, systems and support equipment. Directs the treatment of all diving related injuries, including recompression chamber operations, casualty control operations and mishap reporting procedures. Directs underwater inspections, harbor/port/ship security inspections, including ordnance searching, Ship/submarine repair, salvage, expeditionary salvage and littoral combat, rescue, special warfare operations, underwater cutting and welding, demolition operations and small boat operations. Directs and Supervises Swimmer Delivery Vehicle Dry-Deck Shelter systems, submarine Lock-in/Lock-out systems and submarine rescue chambers. Develops training programs and qualifies personnel in diving equipment, systems and procedures. Trained in advanced diving physics, medicine, differential diagnosis and saturation diving techniques. Directs and supervises surface and underwater demolition operations for salvage, ship husbandry, or underwater construction operations. Employs the principle and techniques of precision demolition in projects requiring cutting, flattening and/or removing of pilings, obsolete moorings, or other obstructions in channels, harbors, open oceans, or other areas of concern. Supervises the operation, maintenance, and certification of deep dive systems and equipment.The US Navy has various dive training programs other than the ND rate for personnel that perform dive duties as a secondary/collateral duty. These programs enable personnel to attend dive training and maintain source ratings other than Navy Diver (ND). Dive training programs are available to all personnel who meet specified medical, mental and physical requirements. Programs include:

1) Underwater Construction Team diver

The Seabee community offer dive training in support of underwater construction, inspection and repair of ocean facilities such as wharves, piers, underwater pipelines, moorings and boat ramps. Seabee divers maintain various construction ratings and perform dive operations as a secondary mission. https://www.seabee.navy.mil/index.cfm/50063  

2) Submarine SCUBA diver

Personnel within the submarine force community can attend SCUBA training and become certified to dive to 60 feet of seawater. Normally, 4 divers are attached to each submarine to perform inspection and limited underwater repair.

3) Diving Medical Technician

Hospital Corpsmen attend specialized dive training to provide and assist emergency care treatment of dive related illnesses such as decompression sickness and trauma. Medical technicians ensure all dive qualified personnel maintain a high level of physical and mental readiness to minimize the risk of injury due to underwater environment.