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9 Interesting Scuba Diving Jobs, Careers, and Side Hustles

Table of Contents

It’s pretty natural to want to turn the incredible scuba diving hobby into a career.

So we’ve compiled a list of several careers, jobs, and side hustles that can allow you to make some money from your passions.

While these different tasks have varying levels of involvement with the hobby, they all should give you plenty of extra bottom time than an office job.

Without further ado, let’s dive into it!

1. Scuba Diving Instructor

  • Job Type: Full Time or Part-Time
  • Expected Earnings: ~$40, 000/yr
  • Difficulty Level: Easy-Medium

This is probably the most apparent job or career you could have involving scuba diving. It’s a fun gig, that allows you to work with people, and get some “free” diving in and the biggest risk is sunburn and over work. So make sure you choose a good company and wear a rash guard or a reef-safe sunscreen. 

In order to become a scuba diving instructor, you’ll need to work towards your dive instructor certification, with any of the agencies, like PADI, SSI, and NAUI.

An estimated income varies on a few factors, like your experience, where in the world you are, and more.

For example, a dive instructor in Vietnam will likely not make the same amount of money as an instructor in Miami.

2. Working on a Liveaboard

  • Job Type: Full Time
  • Expected Earnings: ~$40,000/yr
  • Difficulty Level: Medium-Hard

Another scuba career is working on a liveaboard. This is a tough job and involves you living on a boat for the majority of the year. I got to know two deckhands on Blackbeards Liveaboards, and they said the schedule is 6 weeks on, two weeks off.

The work involves everything from taking care of the boat, monitoring and chatting up the divers, leading dives, and more.

As far as pay goes, a majority of the liveaboards compensation is tip-based. From what I learned on this trip, the breakdown was $250/week to all crew, and tips were split, 4 to 5 ways.

Our boat had 17 passengers on it, and the recommended gratuity was 18% of the cost of the trip ($1055), so this comes out to $190. If we assume all passengers tip the recommended amount, there is $3420 to split between the crew.

Our final estimate is around $1000 per week. There are 52 weeks in a year, but crew mate only works 75% of the year, so maybe around $39,000 a year?

Keep in mind that while on the job, the crew does not need to pay for housing or food, so they are taking home a lot more.

This was an example based on a Bahamas liveaboard, but it can vary on the country, and the quality of the liveaboard you go on.

3. Underwater Photographer

  • Job Type: Contractor/Self Employed
  • Expected Earnings: Varies
  • Difficulty Level: Medium-Hard

While there’s no exact career path you can take for being an underwater photographer, there are certainly several ways to make money from it.

Anything from selling your photos to companies, selling underwater photography courses, an Airbnb Experience for underwater photographers, stock photos for companies, web use, and more.

In order to start, we’d recommend posting your photos on Instagram and if they get a lot of traction, you’ll surely get offers to buy them. If you need help picking a scuba diving camera to get started, we’ve got you covered.

4. Scuba Diving Influencer and Content Creator

  • Job Type: Self Employed
  • Expected Earnings: Varies
  • Difficulty Level: Medium

We hate the word “influencer”, but it’s a pretty good catchall for what we’re trying to describe here.

If you enjoy social media and are willing to create some content on platforms like Youtube, Instagram, Tiktok, or even blogging like us, you can make some extra cash from your hobby.

A few ways you can make money are via affiliate marketing, display advertisements, and sponsorships.

Affiliate marketing is when you promote products or services and receive a kickback or commission when you help facilitate a sale. Tracking links or coupon codes are the most common ways to attribute this process.

Brands like ScubaPro will pay you a 5% commission on their products if you can get accepted into their program, whereas anything on Amazon can be promoted for around a 3% commission. If you do a bit of searching you should find some programs paying 10% or more on their products.

As far as display ads go, it will depend on the platform. We estimated that on Youtube you could receive $15-$20 per 1000 ad views, and a similar rate for bloggers. At a rate of $17.5 per 1000 views (RPM), you’d need around 2,285,714 views a year to make $40,000.

That’s a lot of views, it’s certainly not impossible, but we think it makes a good supplemental income source. Youtuber Scuba Jake or DALLMYD consistently pulls in 500,000 views a video from his diving content.

5. Golf Ball Collector

  • Job Type: Self Employed
  • Expected Earnings: Varies
  • Difficulty Level: Medium

Not too much is known about this hustle, but it is certainly profitable. There are several ways you could approach it. You could work part-time for a course, collect them on your own and sell them, or anything in between.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that these divers make around $200/d, but this varies on several factors.

Watch out for the gators!

6. Commercial Diver

Commercial Diver
  • Job Type: Full-time, Part-time
  • Expected Earnings: Varies
  • Difficulty Level: Hard

Commercial diving is a pretty big umbrella term that can encompass anything from working on oil rigs, underwater welding, hydroelectric power plants, nuclear power plants, docks, water treatment plants, and more.

The nature of this scuba diving work is dangerous, requires an extensive certification process, and overall a very demanding career. You can learn more here from Commercial Diving Academy commercial diving school in America. 

Whole the cost of certification is pretty high (over $20,000), the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the mean commercial diver salary at $82,000, so it should pay for itself given enough time.

7. Marine Biologist

Marine Biologist
  • Job Type: Full-time, Part-time
  • Expected Earnings: $60,000
  • Difficulty Level: Easy-Medium

Marine Biologists can study and specialize in several different areas, anywhere from giant whales to microscopic plankton.

According to TheBalanceCareers, popular areas of specialty include: “phycology, ichthyology, invertebrate zoology, marine mammalogy, fishery biology, marine biotechnology, marine microbiology, or marine ecology”.

These specialties can lead to careers at zoos, sustainable fisheries, museums, environmental conservation groups, and more.

The most common path to becoming a marine biologist involves getting a degree in biology, followed by a graduate program specializing in marine biology or one of the above-mentioned specialties.

This career path requires a ton of school and time in the lab and library, and won’t necessarily give you a massive payday at the end of it, but is a great option for those extremely passionate about the oceans and wildlife.

8. Commercial Fishing Diver

  • Job Type: Full-time, Part-Time, Self-Employed
  • Expected Earnings: $60,000
  • Difficulty Level: Medium-Hard

The title of a commercial seafood diver casts a pretty large net (no pun intended) but basically involves you harvesting some sort of aquatic life from the oceans. This can be anything from traditional hook and line fishing, trawling, spearfishing, diving for invertebrates, and more.

This field doesn’t require any sort of college degree typically, usually just a strong work ethic and passion for the hunt. Depending on the seafood market trend, certain types of catch will be more profitable than others.

9. Repair Scuba Equipment

  • Job Type: Full-time, Part-Time, Self-Employed
  • Expected Earnings: $40,000+
  • Difficulty Level: Medium-Hard

It’s not the most exciting career, but if you’re good with your hands and have a passion for scuba diving, this could be an interesting option. 

You’ll most likely find yourself working at a dive shop, repairing their customer base equipment as it comes in. The most important qualifications to land a job like this are professional certifications to repair scuba gear companies’ equipment. Professional diving certifications such as divemaster or higher are also highly encouraged.

Conclusion

While we know that a career in scuba diving isn’t going to be possible for most people, we hope this list helps give you some insight on possible ways to engage with the sport on a part-time or full-time basis.

These were all of the scuba diving careers we could think of.

Did we miss any?

Do any of these scuba diving jobs, careers, or side hustles interest you?

If so let us know which one in the comments!

  • Welcome

    My name’s Austin Tuwiner, a PADI Divemaster based in South Florida. With nearly 10 years of diving under my belt, I’ve accumulated the knowledge to help readers become better divers, buy their next piece of gear, and plan their dream dive vacation!

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