Saturation Diver Salary: Shannon Hovey awoke in a metal tube 20 feet long and seven feet in diameter, tucked deep inside a ship in the Gulf of Mexico, with five other men for 52 days this winter. He got his breakfast from a hatch (usually eggs), read the day’s briefing, and waited for a disembodied voice to tell him it was time to put on his rubber suit and get to work. Life in the tube was constructed around repeating these steps day after day… while trying not to think about the fact that any accidental breach in his temporary metal home would result in a fast and agonising death.
Hovey works in one of the world’s least well-known, dangerous, and, to be honest, weird occupations. He’s a saturation diver, one of the men (almost all of them have been men*) who perform construction and demolition work at depths of 1,000 feet or more beneath the ocean’s surface.
Saturation divers can earn anywhere from $30,000 to $45,000 per month. This will cost over $180,000 a year. “Depth pay,” which can range from $1 to $4 per foot, is a rare compensation addition for saturation divers.