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  • Underwater Skills

    Underwater Skills

Program Code:UWS
Duration:35 Weeks
Start Dates:Fall,
Start dates are subject to change
Credential Awarded:Ontario College Certificate

Program Description

Studying from September to June, you will receive training and practice in underwater skills relating to commercial diving, welding, construction and salvage work in rivers, lakes, canals, and in inspection and repair work related to the offshore oil industry. You will also benefit from instruction in the safe use and maintenance of commercial diving equipment.

Program Learning Outcomes:

This Seneca College program meets the system-wide standards as set by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

As a graduate, you will be prepared to reliably demonstrate the ability to:

  • Competently demonstrate through practice the skills and knowledge, including professionalism, as described in Clause 9 of the Competency Standard for Diving Operations (CAN/CSA-Z275.4), including a thorough working knowledge of:
    • Canadian federal and provincial diving regulations, standards and industry best practices pertaining to unrestricted surface-supplied diving;
    • the physical laws governing diving operations, including the states of matter, the properties of gases and liquids, and the units of measurement;
    • the principles of compression and decompression that affect divers and the implications for routine operations, emergencies, and therapeutic recompression, including the use of the diving tables;
    • the hazards of differential pressures as well as lockout procedures;
    • the principles, applicable legislation, operation and use of rigging equipment used both on the surface and under water in support of diving-related operations;
    • the function, operation, and safety requirements for hand, pneumatic and hydraulically-activated tools;
    • the principles of operation of topside welding and oxy-arc cutting equipment and the associated safety precautions and legislation;
    • the principles of underwater electric arc-welding and exothermic cutting equipment and the associated safety precautions and legislation.
  • Safely perform at least 50 surface-supplied dives in various environmental conditions and locations and for various purposes, with a bottom time totalling at least 50 hours at depths of up to 50 metres.
  • Assess the causes and manifestations of pressure-related diseases and conditions (i.e. pulmonary barotrauma, gas embolism, the effect of pressure on gas-filled cavities, and decompression illness) and diagnose and deliver treatment as appropriate.
  • Administer therapeutic oxygen safely in appropriate situations.
  • Operate a hyperbaric chamber safely and efficiently while treating occupants using accepted tables.
  • Set-up, operate, and maintain various types of surface-supplied diving equipment demonstrating sufficient knowledge and skills to ensure safe underwater operation, including the principles and operation of high- and low-pressure air compressors, their associated equipment, and applicable safety requirements.
  • Dive safely and competently using different types of surface-supplied diving equipment in open water of varying depths, bottom conditions, and water visibilities.
  • Employ a job-specific understanding of WHMIS.
  • Describe procedures, checks, decontamination, and equipment modifications for diving in contaminated environments.
  • Effectively use all commonly used modes of underwater communication safely.
  • Safely and effectively employ surface-supplied systems in the performance of underwater tasks and mitigate problems related to such tasks.
  • Describe the types of explosives available for underwater use, the physics and the hazards of underwater blast injuries, safe handling and use.
  • Describe and differentiate between construction methods used in diving operations and the elementary principles and procedures involved in salvage operations.

Essential Employability Skills:

Graduates of this program are also expected to demonstrate the essential employability skills learning outcomes as outlined on the Ministry of Training, College and Universities website.

Admission Requirements

Program Eligibility:

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent with:
    • Grade 12 English: ENG4(C) or ENG4(U)
    • Grade 12 Mathematics: (C) or (U) or Grade 11 Mathematics: (U) or (M)
    • Grade 11 Physics: (C)
  • OR Mature Student Status (age 19 or older) with the above prerequisite course(s), their equivalent(s), or appropriate Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) Certificate program credits (see Academic Upgrading).
  • Recreational Scuba Diving Certificate from an approved organization.
  • Successful completion of an approved commercial diving medical prior to beginning the program.
  • Minimum 10 hours bottom time and 20 dives.

Applicant Selection:

  • During a college orientation session, testing will be conducted in the areas of English proficiency, mathematics, diving physics, and diving problem solving. The results of these tests will provide the basis upon which selection of applicants is determined. Applicants who are unable to attend the orientation session may make arrangements to write the tests at an approved location (i.e. a school) nearer their residence. Academic achievement (i.e. grades in prerequisite courses or their equivalents) may be used in the selection process.


  • Commercial diving requires that all candidates be determined fit to dive by a qualified diving and hyperbaric physician. All applicants must provide proof of medical fitness to dive prior to the start of the program. A list of qualified physicians may be found on the Diver Certification Board of Canada website at

The Importance of Learning Skills:

Student success in college requires well developed learning skills (such as being able to work independently, participate in a team, be well-organized, develop good work habits, and show initiative). These skills are as important as prior academic achievement. While it is expected that applicants would have developed these skills through previous education and life experiences, Seneca offers support to assist students with further development of these important skills. Seminars, workshops and tutoring are available at Seneca's Learning Centres.


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Your Career

Enjoy an international career in underwater construction, inspection, and repair for both offshore oil and onshore construction sectors of the diving industry. As a graduate of the 35–week Underwater Skills certificate program, you will be eligible for certification by Diver Certification Board of Canada (DCBC). Certification by DCBC is recognized by International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) and accepted worldwide.

Affiliations and Associations

  • American Welding Society
  • Canadian Association of Diving Contractors
  • Canadian Standards Association
  • Canadian Welding Bureau
  • Construction Safety Association of Ontario
  • Diver Certification Board of Canada (DCBC)
  • International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA)
  • Ontario Commercial Diving Labour Management Health and Safety Committee
  • Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS)

Important Academic Dates

Please take a few moments to view Important Academic Dates for your relevant term.


Semester 1 Course Name Hrs/Wk
October - December
EAC150 College English 3
UWS103 Diving Physics 2
UWS104 Diving Physiology 4
UWS107 Rigging and Hoisting 3
UWS108 Compressors and Tools 3
UWS109 Systems and Equipment I 4
UWS112 Applied Diving I 14
January - February
UWS203 Salvage, Explosives and Welding 4
UWS204 Hyperbaric Chamber Operations 4
UWS205 Navigation and Chartwork 3
UWS208 Underwater/Surface Welding Theory 4
UWS212 Applied Diving II 14
Semester 2 Course Name Hrs/Wk
March - April
UWS303 Surface Cutting and Welding (2 Weeks)
UWS305 Small Engines and Compressors (11 hrs/wk) (2 Weeks)
UWS308 Underwater/Surface Welding Practical 3
UWS312 Applied Diving III (1 Week)
UWS315 Construction Diving Techniques (1 Week)
UWS316 Marine Engineering Techniques III (2 Weeks)
UWS319 Systems and Equipment II (1 Week)
April - June
UWS401 Diver Medic (optional) (2 Weeks)
UWS408 Underwater Welding (2 Weeks)
UWS412 Applied Diving IV (2 Weeks)
UWS416 Deep Diving - Practical (2 Weeks)

Each student is required to complete a Canadian Red Cross Standard First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (Basic Rescuer) prior to graduation.

Note: Each semester includes a physical fitness program which is designed: to develop the student’s level of fitness in order to pass an international level of fitness; to emphasize the importance of group effort and co-operation; to develop leadership and to develop the personal fitness required to carry out safe underwater operations.

Contact Us

Admissions Advisors:
Domestic Admissions Advisor: Andrea White
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55013
International Admissions Advisor: Valentyna Gorodovych
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22432
Registration & Records Advisor:
  Andrea White
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55016
Program Contacts:
Acting Program Coordinator: Aaron Griffin
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55020
Program Chair: Mona Nouroozifar
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55010
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Underwater Skills Video

Underwater Skills student Brodie talks about his program, professors and working as a team. Click on image to begin video.


“Our current full time diving and ROV staff is at fifteen, eight of whom are graduates of the Underwater Skills course. I am certain that this is the highest number of Seneca College graduates working for any employer in the marine industry in Ontario.”

Blake Goulet
Manager of Diving Services
ASI Marine

Seneca – Toronto, Canada Edit Page