If you’re physically fit and strong, enjoy underwater pursuits, love an adrenalin rush and have a sense of adventure, the job of bomb disposal diver might be worth considering. It’s an incredibly satisfying career, but it’s a job that’s not for the faint-hearted – danger is never far away. Here’s what you need to know about becoming a bomb disposal diver.
What does a bomb disposal diver do?
Bomb disposal divers dive deep into the sea bed to safely recover unexploded ‘ordnance’ – bombs, grenades or similar, or dispose of them. Contamination from Unexploded Ordnance contamination (UXO) arises typically from conflicts, and represents potential danger to the public at large, so bomb disposal divers provide a vital role. Watch this YouTube video of the Royal Navy Northern Divers Group to find out more about the work of a bomb disposal diver.
Private sector inside the UK
Up to £60,000
Private sector outside the UK
Up to £100,000
Quaifications and entry requirements
To work in the private sector, it’s advisable to ensure the company you are applying to is accredited by a body such as the British Safety Council.
No specific qualifications are required to become a bomb disposal diver, however you will need to undergo training. If you are funding your own training, you’ll need a minimum of £15,000 to cover the cost of the required courses. These include the following:
- HSE (Health and Safety Executive) Surface Supplied Diving assessment course – this is mandatory for diving offshore and is an internationally recognised certification. Typically the course costs in the region of £5,000
- Diving first aid
- UK water- diving qualifications
- Offshore survival
- Diving inspection and medical technician certifications
- Explosive ordnance disposal qualification
The HSE website contains comprehensive information on the qualifications and competences required for a diving-related career. You can find further details of requirements and regulations here. The Professional Diving Academy also runs a range of HSE- approved courses. Explosive Ordnance Disposal UK provides EOD courses.
You can also receive bomb disposal diver training in the navy. If you choose to do this, to start with, you will need to first meet the navy’s eligibility criteria shown below (source: Royal Navy ):
- Online eligibility assessment
- Online application
- Recruitment test
- Medical & eye tests
- Diver Pre Joining Fitness test
- Potential Diver Assessment
To join the profession through the navy, as a minimum, you’ll need A levels or equivalent, with 180 UCAS points. You can apply for the position of navy warfare officer and specialise as a mine warfare and clearance diving officer. Training is challenging, but thorough, and can take up to 46 weeks. That said, if your training is successful, you could be rewarded with up to £1,000 on top of your basic navy salary (source: Royal Navy).
Skills and attributes required
The best bomb disposal divers have the following attributes:
- Calm under pressure – you’ll typically be working on your own to short timescales
- Adaptability – bomb disposal divers often have to share confined spaces with a number of their team members
- Tenacity- training is long and challenging, so you’ll need to be tenacious and determined
There isn’t a linear career path for bomb disposal divers. Some will develop their skills further through training and become experts in certain areas; becoming instructors. Away from the private sector, job opportunities for bomb disposal divers lie within the military or the navy.
A career as a bomb disposal diver is physically demanding and requires a high level of skill. It is also highly rewarding, both financially and mentally, with excellent career prospects. But could you do it?
Image via ArmedForces of Malta