Find us on Facebook Connect on LinkedIn Follow on Twitter Watch us on YouTube Get us on Google
The Underwater Centre Blog - Training you for the job, not just the ticket

Trends and New Technology in the ROV Industry

In light of recent updates to IMCA guidelines for the Safe and Efficient Operation of Remotely Operated Vehicles (IMCA R 004 Rev4) our ROV Team share their expertise on the topic and on the next generation of ROV systems. 

This ROV industry article was published in full by Hydro International within their July / August Edition which can be viewed here. We have summarised the key IMCA changes and ROV trend discussion below. 

Trends in Remotely Operated Vehicle applications

As the technology utilised in ROV continues to develop there are some significant increases in the types of operations now being performed “remotely” by qualified ROV pilot technicians. The current trend in the renewable sector involving the installation of offshore wind farm sites (e.g. off the East Coast of Scotland and Australia) has created a requirement for long-term installation, repair and maintenance (IRM) tasks that will require diver-less intervention due to the environmental conditions such as high current and low visibility encountered in these  locations. 

ROV Industry OBSROV In Water With Divers

Divers and OBSROV Working Together

Similarly, many of the various deep water operational tasks previously carried out by semi-submersibles can now be performed from an ROV support vessel utilising remote technology, thereby significantly reducing the operational costs. 

Advancements in electrical motor technology has also seen an increase in the number of “electrical” propulsion ROV systems, which are typically used in regions that may be environmentally sensitive to hydrocarbon releases. 

The latest development in hybrid ROV / AUV technology appear to offer some major benefits for the subsea industry mainly relating to operational costs. The idea of having AUV systems predominantly docked in subsea “stations” ready for deployment at a moments notice is definitely possible with current technology; however long-term reliability and maintenance may be the key factors that prevent this becoming a feasible option. 

“There will always be a requirement for skilled personnel to provide the necessary backup”


Revised IMCA R 004 Rev 4 Classifications

Our team provide an overview of the revised classification and usage examples below, and you can find more information about how these are covered within our ROV pilot technician training here.

Class I – Pure observation class ROVs

Class I vehicles are used in a purely observation role, providing the client with a relatively inexpensive and high quality portable method of performing general visual inspection of subsea assets. 

ROV Industry Class IIA

Class IIA OBSROV, Tasmania

Class IIA – Observation class vehicles with a payload option

Class IIA systems typically have a suitable payload that allows the fitment of additional camera systems and subsea sensors providing a basic survey / NDT (non-destructive testing) capability.

Class IIB – Observation class vehicles with light intervention / survey and construction capability

Class IIB systems are still predominantly observation class but with a significant payload allowing the use of lightweight manipulator capability. 

Class IIIA – Standard work class vehicles with a payload of <200kg and through frame lift of approx. 1000kg

Class IIIA systems are the general work horses of the industry and can successfully perform the vast majority of tasks required in a typical field construction role including survey, metrology, construction and intervention.

ROV Industry Class IIIA Being Launched

Class IIIA WROV, Fort William

Class IIIB – Advanced work class vehicles with a payload of >200kg and through frame lift of up to 3000kg

Class IIIB systems are the heavy weights of the oil & gas sectors and were developed to provide a high capacity hydraulic capability in order to remotely override the blow out preventor (BOP) used during the drilling and work over phases. 

Class IVA – Towed vehicles, typically ploughs used in subsea burial operations

Class IVA towed systems are technically the simplest in design and operation and are loosely based on a typical agricultural plough, being towed along by a vessel. 

Class IVB – Tracked vehicles utilising HP water jetting and specialised rock cutting tools, again used in the burial of subsea cables and pipelines 

Class IVB tracked vehicles provide a significantly more accurate method of burying cable and pipeline, although this process is considerably more time consuming than using the plough method. 

Class V – Prototype or development vehicles

Class V prototype or development vehicles allow the manufacturers to create one off designs in order to facilitate a particular task. A typical design that has been developed is the current range of Rock Grabbers that are being used to clear pathways in subsea boulder fields around Western Europe in order to facilitate burial of the various subsea cables. 

Class VIA – Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) weighing <100kg

Class VIA AUV systems come in many guises, from the typical survey data gathering type used by many oceanographic institutes, to the more complex military operations such as counter mine operations. 

Class VIB – Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) weighing >100kg

Class VIB AUV systems provide a significantly larger platform that enables a much wider range of survey equipment to be fitted. 

What does the future hold?

Entirely autonomous vehicles cruising the world’s oceans or, indeed, hybrid technology whereby a skilled technician constantly monitors operations whilst the control system performs the auto-pilot function? Either way, there will always be a requirement for skilled personnel to provide the necessary back-up when things do not go according to plan. 

ROV Training at The Underwater Centre

The Underwater Centre has been providing ROV pilot technician training for over 15 years. Our ROV courses provide graduates with experience of operating work class and observation class ROVs in an open-water, tidal environment as well as providing practical experience using our VMAX WROV simulator. The operational experience gained from our courses mean that students have been trained to beyond IMCA guidelines; providing the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary for a career using Remotely Operated Vehicles in the subsea industry and beyond.  

To find out more about the range of ROV training courses and modules the Centre offers, visit our website.

The article was published in full within Hydro International July/August Edition and can be read in full here

ROV Training button

A Diving Partnership: Delivering ADAS Training in Singapore

The Underwater Centre, Tasmania has entered into an International Training Establishment (ITE) Partnership with SSE Training Centre Pte Ltd, Singapore to deliver ADAS accredited commercial diver training.

SSE Training Ltd Group Photo ADAS Accredited Diver Training

Our experienced diver training team travelled to Singapore in June 2017 to deliver the training, in English, to SSE personnel.

This course was an RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) Part 1 SCUBA and Part 2 Surface Supplied Breathing Apparatus (SSBA),  delivered to delegates who are already experienced commercial divers.

Thanks to their existing diving experience, SSE divers completed a shortened version of the standard ADAS courses to gain the ADAS internationally-recognised certification.

“Internationally-recognised commercial diving courses, accredited by ADAS”

The ITE Partnership scheme works by allowing existing diver training establishments to partner with The Underwater Centre, Tasmania, which has an agreement in place with ADAS allowing it to deliver accredited training outside of Australia. All potential partners are fully audited by The Underwater Centre to ensure high standards, and all ADAS courses are then delivered in conjunction with the company’s training experts to guarantee consistent quality.

Allan Brown, Operations Director, The Underwater Centre, Tasmania commented, “Working with the team at SSE Training Centre has been a fantastic experience for us. The commitment to excellence and their passion for quality has been continually evident throughout this first project together. This excellence and passion has combined naturally with the experience and professionalism of the The Underwater Centre team.  We have formed a very strong partnership in the delivery of ADAS qualifications in Singapore.”

This training collaboration, to deliver ADAS internationally-recognised certifications, is the first of its kind in Singapore and, until now, meant that SSE divers were restricted to working in the waters within the government-backed certification boundaries. By obtaining the ADAS certification the divers will then be able to work around the world, on a range of jobs and for different companies.

“(commercial) divers benefit from greatly increased safety”

Divers Pre Dive Equipment Check During ADAS Accredited Diver Training

Steve Ham, Commercial Director, The Underwater Centre, Fort William says, “there are huge opportunities in commercial diving around the world, but also risks – which is a dangerous combination.

“In many countries, too many divers are dying because of insufficient training. Partly this is down to cost, but largely the barrier is having to travel to get the best standard of instruction, which is often unfeasible. We’re removing that barrier with the ITE scheme, just as the market needs it most.

“The oil and gas industry is just picking up from the bottom of its cycle and more projects are coming online; the offshore wind industry is taking off and decommissioning ageing oil and gas assets will need a lot of divers too. There are busier times ahead for the sector in the near future, and the ITE scheme will help divers around the world be part of that while maintaining the highest standards of safety.”

“It has been a great pleasure and privilege to be working in partnerships with The Underwater Centre, Tasmania”

Boost to earning potential and career opportunities 

By training this way, divers benefit from greatly increased safety, as well as an internationally-recognised commercial diving qualification that boosts their earning potential and opens career paths around theDavid Loudon Dive Supervisor Delivering Class Lecture During ADAS Accredited Diver Training world. Companies employing the divers can also be assured of greater worker safety and efficiency and they can bid for a broader array of projects internationally.

Captain Ram K. Kumar, General Manager, SSE Training Centre, commented on this partnership saying, “It has been a great pleasure and privilege to be working in partnerships with The Underwater Centre, Tasmania. Together we have been able to deliver high quality dive training systems coupled with internationally-recognised ADAS qualifications in Singapore.

“SSE Training Centre Pte Ltd and The Underwater Centre have been working passionately for past 6 months to reach this important milestone for both parties and it’s really a proud moment. Looking forward for continued friendship and success.”

Longer term, the aim is to extend this training to deliver a range of ADAS courses, to individual students as well as staff, including ADAS Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 (Occupational Diver to 50M) on the SSE Training Centre site. 

To find out more about the ITE Partnership scheme contact Steve Ham on 0044 1397 703 786 or visit our ITE (International Training Establishment) Partnership page.

Career Enhancement with High Voltage & Electrical Safety Training

We recently welcomed Barry “Baz” Worgan back to The Underwater Centre, Fort William, to further enhance his ROV skills by attending our 2 day High Voltage and Electrical Safety course.

Baz previously trained at The Underwater Centre in 2013 when he underwent his first ROV training course, ROV Pilot Technician, and from there his new subsea career began. Baz enrolled in a Trainee ROV Pilot Technician scheme with ROVOP who have since trained Baz from his early career to where he is now, 4 years later.

“I believe the ROV Pilot Technician course helped me get my first trip offshore.”


With a young family, Baz left behind a decade long career in the Emergency Services to embark on a new career piloting Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) after taking inspiration from a good friend in the subsea industry and taking his existing interest further, saying “I didn’t think I could do it, but once I realised it was only me holding myself back, I looked at re-training in ROV”.

“Next step for me is Senior Pilot Technician”

Baz is hopeful of progressing to the role of Senior Pilot Technician shortly and wants to take each step at a time. After we caught up with Baz during his High Voltage and Electrical Safety course he kindly answered some quick fire questions:

How do you rate The Underwater Centre, Fort William?

‘The Underwater Centre is a great facility. The food is too good!’

How do you think training at The Underwater Centre helped your career?

‘I believe the ROV Pilot Technician course helped me get my first trip offshore. The first company that gave me my maiden offshore trip saw I was serious about investing in myself. I was then lucky that ROVOP saw the same determination and reciprocated with an offer of a trainee Pilot Tech position which has helped me progress my career to date.’

What’s your next planned career step?

‘Next step for me is Senior Pilot Technician.’

What do you most look forward to in your ROV career?

‘The time off! I love my job but the quality time I get with my family is the best part.’

What do you least look forward to in your ROV career?

‘Sharing a room on an offshore rig!’

Finally, would you encourage others to train at The Underwater Centre?

‘Yes, I would recommend the Centre for sure. I would also encourage those thinking of re-training in ROV to thoroughly research and make a confident decision that this is what they want to do. It’s a big investment and one that can pay off but, keep realistic expectations in mind.’

Enhancing your career

Baz originally trained with The Underwater Centre back in 2013 on our ROV Pilot Technician course and, after gaining experience working offshore, returned to the Fort William centre to further add to his skill set by attending the 2 day High Voltage and Electrical Safety course.

Thank you for your time, Baz. Best of luck for the future!

We offer a range of short-duration modular courses to suit your needs,  ranging from Fibre Optics to T4 Manipulator training; you can find out more about our training modules here, or click the link below:

ROV Training button

ROV Training – a Student Case Study

Argentinian Lisandro Peralta completed his 7-week Premium ROV training course at The Underwater Centre in June 2017 and tells us how he intends to use this to break into a new ROV pilot career.

“Always had an interest in electronics and new technologies”

With a keen interest in electronics, computers and new technologies, Lisandro decided to enrol on our Premium ROV course to enable him to start his journey to a ROV pilot career. His desire to work in a practical, hands-on and technological environment continues to motivate him.

As he says, “I came from a maritime background after serving 10 years as an Officer with the Prefectura Naval Argentina (Coast Guard) and have always had an interest in electronics and new technologies; so my decision to train in the ROV industry was driven by my desire to use my previous knowledge in a more practical and hands-on environment”.

It was Lisandro’s maritime experience and our international reputation that led him to The Underwater Centre. He continues, “The Underwater Centre was suggested to me by a Port State Control Officer in the Prefectura Naval Argentina (Coast Guard) as well as a friend who works for the South African Maritime Safety Authority”.

Find out more about ROV training in Fort William here

Lisandro received industry specific training on various subsea equipment and disciplines including Fibre Optics, Working at Height, Hydraulics Level 1, TITAN 4 Manipulator training plus High Voltage and Electrical Safety which will supplement his skill set when seeking employment.

“The Underwater Centre provided a very diverse learning environment with the latest technology… taught by world-class professionals”

When asked to comment on his experience of learning at the Fort William Centre, Lisandro praised the learning environment and industry specific equipment saying,
“I would rate The Underwater Centre 10/10 and encourage others to train here. You provided a very diverse learning environment with the latest technology used in the industry so as to equip students with the best knowledge and practical experience taught by world-class professionals”.

Training for a new career

Lisandro is looking forward to the challenge of a new ROV career providing an opportunity to work in the multi-disciplined subsea industry around the world.

We look forward to helping you in your career again soon, Lisandro!

Read more about former students and our Commercial diving courses. Alternatively, for more information, contact our Student Advisors on +44 1397 703786 or email

Commercial Diving – a Student Case Study

Bulgarian Alexander Paunov completed his 9-week Standard Career Package training at The Underwater Centre last year and tells us how his training kick-started his new career as a commercial diver.

The Underwater Centre Fort William Commercial Diving Case Study Photo“The Underwater Centre helped prepare me for the reality of work as a diver”

Inspired by his brother who works in the subsea industry, Alexander decided to make a big career change from his previous job as a production planning expert in a metallurgical company. He chose our Standard Career Package to equip him with the vital skills and experience on subsea tools that he’d need as a commercial diver..

Training at The Underwater Centre

As he says, “As well as the training and certificates that I needed to be able to start work as a commercial diver, the extra time spent on skills and equipment training at The Underwater Centre helped prepare me for the reality of work as a commercial diver.”

Find out more about Commercial Diving Training in Fort William here

Alexander also believes that the facilities and the wide range of subsea operations and structures that you train on at The Underwater Centre helped get him ready for real industry conditions. “Having recently been to another school, I am happy that I chose to do my training in Fort William as I believe the facilities are better at The Underwater Centre.”

“I’ll definitely be returning to Fort William for my next advanced qualification.”

Working in the commercial diving industry

The Underwater Centre Fort William Commercial Diving Case Study Kirby Morgan Helmet

Just two months after completing his course, Alexander began working and earning as a commercial diver with a ROV and Diving Services company in Norway. He started out in his first industry job at a day rate of 4000 NOK, roughly equivalent to £365 per day,and is looking forward to advancing in his career.

“I’d recommend The Underwater Centre for anyone thinking about training as a diver. I’ve already told lots of people in online diving forums about my great training near the home of the Loch Ness Monster! I’ll definitely be returning to Fort William for my next advanced qualification.”

We look forward to helping you in your career again soon, Alexander! 

Read more about former students and our Commercial diving courses. Alternatively, for more information, contact our Student Advisors on +44 1397 703786 or email