Underwater Skills

Commercial Diving

Dive into a career in commercial diving that supports a busy and high-demand industry. If you’re new to the trade, Seneca offers a comprehensive, 34-week Underwater Skills (UWS) certificate program that prepares you to work globally in every sector of the diving industry. This program is the only one in Canada that provides you with certification from the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB), along with diver medic training under the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA). If you’re an existing industry professional, Seneca also offers additional courses to improve your commercial diving skills.

Underwater Skills (UWS) Program

This rigorous and fast-paced program has been preparing commercial divers for a variety of industry careers for more than 45 years. That’s why contractors continue to contact Seneca looking for skilled graduates to work in offshore construction, salvage, inspection, offshore oil and gas exploration, and production. In this 34-week program, students dive to a maximum of 50 metres (165 feet), led by Seneca’s Unrestricted Surface Supplied Supervisors, who have more than 100 years of combined commercial diving experience.

After completing the program, graduates will receive an internationally recognized certificate as an Unrestricted Surface Supplied Diver from the Diver Certification Board of Canada (DCBC), along with the following certifications:

  • Diver Certification Board of Canada, Occupational Scuba to 30 metres
  • Canadian Standards Association, Hyperbaric Chamber Operator Certificate
  • Restricted Radio Operator Certificate (Marine)
  • First Aid, CPR, Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and Oxygen Provider
  • Optional: CWB Under Water Welding
  • Optional: IMCA Diver Medic
  • Optional: Small Vessel Operator Proficiency (SVOP) and Marine Emergency Duties (MED A3)

Our Facilities

Located north of Toronto, and close to commercial diving employers within Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe, King Campus’ facilities accommodate all skill levels required for international commercial diving standards. Additional training locations in Georgian Bay, near Wiarton – combined with a varied local climate – will help you prepare for a career with dynamic diving environments.

  • 50' x 40' diving barge on Lake Seneca
  • 50' x 26' crane barge on Lake Seneca
  • 55' x 36' deep diving barge on Georgian Bay
  • 40' twin diesel engine diver support vessel - Cato II
  • indoor pool with 40-foot depth capability
  • welding shop
  • mechanical shop
  • rigging shop
  • two recompression chambers

Check out this 360-degree view of our 40-foot deep dive tank where you will train before transitioning to deeper dives in Lake Seneca and Georgian Bay.


News and Events

One hundred and sixty-five feet under

Each year, from May to June, a team of UWS students and faculty perform their end-of-year deep dive operation at 50 metres (165 feet) below the surface of Lake Huron.

One hundred and sixty-five feet under

Seneca trains Erebus researchers

Learn how a team from Seneca’s Underwater Skills program spent months training and preparing Parks Canada marine archeologists to work in the icy waters of the Arctic in order to explore the HMS Erebus.

Seneca trains Erebus researchers

Student Works and Experience

Tougher Than It Looks

Follow along with Andrew Younghusband of Discovery Channel’s Tougher Than It Looks as he trains to become a commercial diver at Seneca alongside lead instructor Aaron Griffin.

Seneca and the Franklin Expedition

Witness how a team from Seneca’s Underwater Skills program trained and prepared Parks Canada marine archeologists to work in the icy waters of the Arctic in order to explore the HMS Erebus.

Daily Planet

Go behind the scenes in the Seneca dive lab at King Campus where a team from the Daily Planet conducts an underwater experiment.



Dive into our photo gallery to see what it’s like to study commercial diving.

Additional Courses

A number of additional courses related to commercial diving are available, including:

For students

Small Vessel Operator Proficiency (SVOP) and Marine Emergency Duties (MED) A3

This four-day course is held annually during the October reading week. It provides you with a Transport Canada Certification in Small Vessel Operator Proficiency and Marine Emergency Duties, which is mandatory for workers operating from vessels. This course is currently not available.

For professionals

International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) Diver Medic - Refresher

This five-day course is for IMCA-certified divers who are looking to renew their two-year certificates.


For both students and professionals

International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) Diver Medic - Full Course

This 10-day course provides training in a range of advanced first aid and basic paramedical techniques.

Underwater Welding

This course provides you with an Underwater Welding Certification - UWW 101 KA, according to CWB and AWS D3.6 underwater welding standards. Currently, Seneca is the only institution in Canada offering this certification.


Frequently Asked Questions

The Underwater Skills (UWS) program is not an underwater welding course. UWS is a commercial diver training course. One of the many skills we train for is welding underwater. No previous welding experience is required to take UWS. 

Graduates from our program are DCBC certified Unrestricted Surface Supplied Divers, with an Occupational SCUBA endorsement, CWB Underwater Welding and IMCA DMT endorsements.

By the first day of classes, you must complete a basic recreational open water SCUBA certificate from a recognized agency such as NAUI or PADI.

A list of qualified physicians can be found through the Diver Certification Board of Canada (DCBC). Medical examinations from only the physicians on this list are acceptable. It is advised that you wait to get your examination done until after you are accepted into the program.

Yes, all UWS students will be required to take first aid, CPR, AED and oxygen provider training regardless of any prior certification or experience.

No. We do not sell diving equipment. The list of equipment that students require is detailed on the UWS program page. Occasionally, we run an equipment seminar and invite vendors to the campus who offer equipment and package deals. Stay tuned for details on our next seminar.

Yes, the Underwater Skills (UWS) program is eligible for OSAP.

Contact Us

Daniela Zarpellon 416.491.5050 ext. 55016 daniela.zarpellon@senecacollege.ca

UWS program admission inquiries

Erik Stewart 416.491.5050 ext. 55023 erik.stewart@senecacollege.ca

Underwater Welding course inquiries

Aaron Griffin 416.491.5050 ext. 55020 aaron.griffin@senecacollege.ca

UWS program-related inquiries

Riccardo Ronca 416.491.5050 ext. 55512 riccardo.ronca@senecacollege.ca

IMCA Diver Medic course inquiries