What is a DSV?

A diving support vessel, as the name suggests is a vessel that is used for the objective of diving into oceans. Divers, who dive into the middle of the seas as a part of subsea projects, need proper diving support. This necessary support is provided by such a dive support vessel. The concept of a diving support vessel came into existence four to five decades ago. From that time onwards, these ships have been extremely important to the field of commercial diving which forms a vital part of the Subsea sector.

Dive support vessels are used within the Subsea sector to work on Subsea projects that involve construction, repairing and maintenance of oil-rigs and other important Subsea projects that require Divers to carry out project work on the sea bed.


Who works on a DSV?

Saturation Divers live in a pressurized environment, which can be a saturation system or “saturation spread”, a hyperbaric environment on the surface, or an ambient pressure underwater habitat. This may be maintained for up to several weeks.

The main role of the Saturation Diver is to work on the seabed to carry out construction tasks and also inspection works on subsea structures and platforms. Saturation Divers work 12 hour shifts and generally in teams of 2. The saturation Diver also work alongside ROV’s on the seabed.

This is a very challenging role and is extremely rewarding. This area of subsea sector requires only the best people due to the working environment in which you are placed.

Air Divers are skilled tradesman who are paid for their work both underwater and top side during diving operations. There are several branches of professional diving, the most well-known of which is probably commercial diving.

Any person wishing to become a professional diver will require specific training that satisfies industry regulatory agencies. Air divers may work on a huge range of projects from installing a slip way in a British harbour to constructing off shore pipeline in Angola.

A Life Support Technician (LST) controls the pressurised environment or habitat in which saturation divers live. From the chamber panel, the LST will control factors such as the oxygen content of the breathing gases, concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, temperature and humidity. Training for LSTs begins with the IMCA (International Marine Contractors Association) Assistant Life Support Technician qualification. After gaining sufficient experience, an ALST will sit the LST exam, after which they can progress to Life Support Supervisor (LSS).

  • Life Support Technician
  • Assistant Life Support Technician
  • Life Support Supervisor

Dive Technicians carry out the vital and responsible job of maintaining diving equipment and diving systems. Equipment maintained covers an enormous variety of disciplines and requires a broad skill base. Knowledge of saturation diving systems, air chambers, high pressure gas systems, diving helmets, compressors, and oxygen cleaning procedures only touches upon this enormous subject.

Correct maintenance of Life support equipment is critical and any mistake made during maintenance can be fatal. As a Dive Technician you are vital to all the diving operations that take place.

ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) personnel are involved in the operation and maintenance of ROV systems for a wide range of project activities. The majority of time may be spent piloting the ROV or acting as the observer during an inspection or intervention task. However, specialised engineering skills are required for the ongoing maintenance of the vehicle and related systems which is performed on a regular basis during the project.

  • ROV pilot
  • Trainee ROV pilot
  • ROV supervisor – in charge of the ROV team

Crane Operators are involved in operational activities of pedestal cranes on the Dive Support Vessel. As a crane operator you will be involved in lifting and maneuvering activities to and from the vessel. Such items you may lift and manoeuvre can be subsea equipment, winches, pipeline also other materials such a food supplies that are required for the trip. As a crane operator you need skills as you will be required to operate the crane in harsh weather environments offshore.

Deck Foreman are responsible for and manages the day to day deck operations of the Dive Support Vessel. As a Deck Foreman you will be responsible for the supervision of the Deck crew and will liaise with Deck Crew and the other operational areas of the Dive Support Vessel. Deck Foreman also has the responsibility for the maintenance of deck machinery, paintwork and any planned maintenance on the vessel.

Deck Welders are responsible for following engineering drawings to select materials that need to be cut and joined. As a deck welder you will also work on the repair of subsea equipment and may also make equipment required for the project the Dive Support vessel is carrying out.

Deck Riggers specialize in the lifting and moving of extremely large and heavy objects. Riggers tend to be highly specialized in moving jobs that cannot be accomplished by ordinary means and use equipment designed for moving and lifting objects weighing thousand of pounds. Riggers work as a close knit team due to the potential dangerous nature of rigging

Medics on a Dive Support Vessel and responsible for looking after the health, safety and welfare of the crew.

Offshore Stewards are involved in providing laundry, cleaning and accommodation services on a Dive support Vessel.

Chefs on a Dive Support Vessel are responsible for providing high quality catering services to all the crew on board.


Next month’s focus

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)