Once the underwater world has captured you, it’s easy to start thinking about how you can make it your everyday life by looking into a dive-harvesting career. The scuba dive harvest industries in BC are a boost to coastal economies in British Columbia. This industry is fundamentally dependent on both the health of the marine environment coupled with a skilled and safe labour force. The Pacific Urchin Harvesters Association wants to get the word out that dive harvesting is an exciting, well-paid career and overall very safe. Dive harvesting allows for a flexible work-life balance, which means you invest time and energy evenly between your professional and personal endeavours. For example, working a compressed schedule offers you time to engage in your hobbies or maybe spend more time with your family.

The skills needed to be an Urchin/Sea Cucumber diver are one part training, one part work ethic and one part love of the ocean and outdoors, so it’s within the reach of many people. You must meet WorkSafeBC requirements, and hold current commercial diving certification, dive medical, first aid certificate and updated gear servicing records.

Below are the qualifications and certification you will require.

What a seafood harvester needs on board the vessel:

List of Hyperbaric Chambers – British Columbia
Fleet Diving Unit Pacific
CFB Esquimalt, Naden St, Victoria British Columbia V9A 7N2
T: Chamber: (250) 363-4981

Simon Fraser University
Environmental Physiology Unit, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby British Columbia V5A 1S6
T: Chamber: (778) 782-3782

Vancouver Hospital & Health Science Centre Hyperbaric Unit
855 West 12th Ave, Vancouver British Columbia V5Z 1M9
T: Emergency 24/7: (604) 875-5000

DCMI dive tables – Download PDF

List of Safe Diving Best practices Download PDF

O2 Therapy Unit

Current Dive Log (previous 2 year)

Extreme weather factors, a key aspect of the commercial dive-harvesting environment, can present danger to fish harvesters and fishing vessels. Storm days are a common occurrence as dive fisheries are mostly conducted on the exposed outer coast and bad weather can hamper dive operations, particularly in the winter months. This can mean being anchored in safe harbor for sometimes days at time, so being creative with the time spent can also be of benefit.

In past years, vessels were out of touch with the outside world for sometimes weeks at a time. Today, Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX, providing satellite Internet access coverage to over 50 countries. It also aims for global mobile phone service after 2023. This definitely has been a benefit to the PUHA fleet as crew members can now stay in touch with family and friends as this technology allows for internet access right off a mobile phone or laptop.