The following story is pretty much the diametrical opposite of the recreational diving we tend to focus on here at Reef Divers. Instead of simply strapping up with gear and going for a quick one hour dip in tropical waters, these commercial divers experience the ultimate in demanding diving.
Recreational SCUBA diving generally stays above 100 feet or 30 meters of depth, but to work on oil pipelines and fiber optic communication cables, these commercial divers must go much deeper. Dives of 200, 300 or even 500 feet are not uncommon for these diving professionals.
But in order to avoid lengthy decompression every day, these divers let their bodies literally saturate with gases under pressure. After their dives they enter into a pressurized vessel which takes them back to the surface to live in a pressurized chamber until they’re next work shift.
Working at these depths for such long periods of times still requires lengthy decompression, in the neighborhood of one day of DECO for every hundred feet of depth they were working/diving in. I’ve always wanted to dive deep, and to stay for much longer, but I don’t know if I am committed enough to do this kind of diving for up to four weeks at a time.