All in a day's work for an uShaka Sea World diver

  • September 04, 2012 | Garth Winfield

Service divers hard at work cleaning algae off some large windows

It’s incredible that a diver can burn up to 20 times more energy underwater than he does while completing the same task above water, but it's true, which is why divers often tuck into hearty meals when they emerge from the depths.

My responsibility as part of the 16-member team of uShaka Sea World service divers is to maintain our high standards of exhibit cleanliness.

Although recreational divers often shy away from the water when weather conditions and good common sense make getting into the water a bad idea, service divers dive regardless of water temperatures and weather conditions.

Since the use of harsh chemicals in the animal exhibits is obviously not an option, combating the build-up of algae takes a team of 15 strong young men four hours' dive time each day, 365 days a year. 

We begin our workday in the early hours of the morning armed with hand scourers, brushes and liberal doses of good, old-fashioned elbow grease. Now this may seem straightforward, but eradicating 15 different species of algae, during the early days of their life cycle, is no easy task. 

We spend our working days in wetsuits which change from 3mm to 5mm in thickness as the seasons change and the water becomes colder. 

Our dive time is a maximum of one hour, before we surface to refill our oxygen cylinders, rest our muscles and warm up. We might also enjoy a meal, drink a warm beverage and play a few ball games before heading back to work.

The best part of my day is getting to work early in the morning and assisting the dolphin staff with their early morning checks before going into the water.

Find out more about career opportunities available at uShaka Sea World.

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