Offshore & Hazmat
Offshore and Hazmat is where it gets real. This course is the first time where you’ll have projects that simulate the professional world, in which you have a set number of things to accomplish in a certain amount of time. Here you’ll experience the most powerful thing in the industry- teamwork. You work in teams for the first time, communicating and planning together to get the job done.
Throughout the course you’ll learn to control your buoyancy, manage time, control your umbilical, and balance efficiency with safety. You learn to get the job done well in the safest way possible. You’ll learn how to use lift bags, your best ally in the water for moving large things around. You’ll also become more comfortable with no visibility, and strengthen communication.
This course boosts confidence as you build skills underwater, and start to understand what you can do without being able to see.
Is in the classroom, where you’ll learn about helmets (called hats), suits, recompression equipment, and life support equipment. You learn about the roles that different people play in a dive, and try all your gear on dry.
Offshore I begins with two days in the classroom. You will learn about the offshore industry, and what to expect your first time working with an offshore diving company. Before you get in the water you learn dive station orientation, vessel orientation, air spread orientation, expectations & rules.
This course is all about efficiency and safety. Before beginning you’ll learn shell breathing, a technique that teaches how to keep breathing if your helmet were to break underwater. You’ll go down and breathe for two minutes with this method. This takes courage, and students usually cheer for each other when they come out of the water. After this you begin the projects segment of the course, which continues on through Offshore II.
What are the projects?
This course contains two exciting and skill building team projects. Your class heads out to dive station, and two divers complete projects on each side of the barge, with one standby diver. The topside crew practices tending skills while assisting the divers. The whole dive lasts about 90 minutes.
The projects are the Exxon Project and the Blackout Project. In the Exxon Project you’ll work with a partner to put together 6 pieces of 8 inch flange. In mid water you’ll use lift bags to transport the pieces and then use wrenches and drift pins to bolt them together. Communication and coordination are key. The blackout project helps prepare you for real life working situations, by teaching you to work without seeing. Conditions at different professional job sites often have murky water with little to no visibility. The blackout dive is a crucial part of learning how to work without vision.
Take a deep breath, this is the challenge you’re looking for. In this project, you’ll work in about 20 feet of water, assembling flanges while the face port on your dive hat is blacked out so you cannot see. You learn to maintain your composure, communicate well, and get the job done. There is a standby diver there always ready to help you if you need it.
Offshore Instructor Jake Dow
Jake Dow has worked all over the world doing offshore, and he no finds himself teaching at DIT to be closer to his family. He loves his job, as he’ll tell you: “I love working here. Just to see the pride and smiles on guys faces when they do something good, knowing that I’m making an impact in their lives, and guiding them in a positive direction is really rewarding for me. I didn’t plan for it, it just kinda happened and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
When asked what students need to succeed in his course, he said: “Motivation and work ethic. You just can’t teach that. They either have it or they don’t. You know, they gotta have a little grit and determination. They’ve got to be able to pull something from within and persevere and keep moving forward to get the job done. Helps to have a good head on your shoulders, but you have to have good work ethic, motivation, grit, and determination.”
You’ll begin with four days in classroom in Hazmat I. You’ll learn how to differentiate between hazardous materials. You’ll study different explosive levels of chemicals, how they react to other chemicals and situations. You’ll also learn about firefighting in hazardous material situation. Also putting on gear, hazmat suits, and topside drills.
During Hazmat II you’ll go down to the dive station and put on hazmat dive gear, level C hazmat suits, and learn about gear and safety procedures.
In Hazmat II you’ll get familiar with the Desco Pot Hat, a type of free-flow hat used with a Viking suit. It does not allow hazardous material to come in contact with your body. You’ll also learn about a historic dive hat the instructors are very excited about, called the MK 12. It was developed by the Navy back in the 1970’s and is still in use in hazardous material dives in the industry. Instructors dive with every class to help students out and make sure things are going smoothly.
Hazmat is all about how to keep things controlled in a contaminated environment. Instructors set up a decontamination station on deck and teach you tending and deck crew roles as well. You learn how to properly decontaminate the divers, and how to properly take off your gear and prevent further contamination.
Hazmat: Staying Safe
Nuclear power plants. Oil spills. Toxic salvage jobs. With hazmat gear and knowledge, all of these can be made safe to work in. This course is about the awesome power of knowledge, gear, and procedures.
DIT Instructor Britt Coates explains, “Parents with kids going into this think it’s one of the most dangerous things out there. It’s actually not even in the top ten. But that being said, one of the quotes I usually tell the students in offshore is that to call what we do dangerous would be to call us incompetent. There’s risk involved but we through our education learn to be excellent risk managers. So it’s not dangerous unless you are going to be ignorant about what you’re dealing with.”
Offshore Instructor Britt Coates
Britt has done many exciting jobs in salvage and hazmat, including one in Antarctica that you should ask him about if you get the chance! He now brings his knowledge and experience to DIT. When asked what students need to succeed in his course, he said: “Good work ethic, willingness to not only learn but to ask questions, the willingness to put his ego down and be part of a team.”
“To call what we do dangerous would be to call us incompetent. There’s risk involved but we through our education learn to be excellent risk managers. So it’s not dangerous unless you are going to be ignorant about what you’re dealing with.”
– DIT Instructor – Britt Coates