The Underwater Centre has successfully delivered two tailored training courses, as well as providing 19 days of operational support, to JFD and one of the world’s largest navies.
JFD, part of James Fisher & Sons plc, and one of the world’s largest navies had a requirement for tailored training and submersible training support. The Underwater Centre provided the ideal location, vessels and operation support to achieve their project needs.
Bespoke course creation and delivery
Training delivery began with our Specialist Diving Team creating and delivering a tailored theoretical and practical 4-day Hyperbaric Systems Acquaintance Course to 12 delegates covering topics such as hyperbaric systems, chamber control and procedures, gas handling and analysers, plus an overview of decompression tables.
Delegates also received practical experience of our barge-based saturation system; diving bell, transfer lock and main chamber.
Operational submersible training support
JFD also used a range of The Underwater Centre’s facilities to store and mobilise the submersible, as well as deliver the training; including 30T crane, mechanical workshop, classrooms, FRC, workboat fitted with a crane and flat-bed truck.
A theory and vessel-based bespoke 2-day ROV Acquaintance Course was also created and delivered, incorporating the Centre’s WROV VMAX simulator and vessel-based operational WROV and Launch & Recovery System (LARS).
Delegates received a range of informative lectures around ROV systems, standard operational procedures including pre-dive checks and LARS procedures. The bespoke course concluded with practical learning on-board our dedicated WROV vessel where LARS operations and procedures were practiced.
Steve Ham, The Underwater Centre’s Commercial Director, commented on the level of support and training provided saying, “We have a long history of providing world-class training and our unique subsea testing site in Fort William gave JFD the platform to successfully complete naval personnel training. Our extremely competent team of diving, ROV, and support staff and array of equipment and vessels ensured the safe and timely delivery of this training and testing for JFD.”
Bespoke ROV and Hyperbaric Systems Training
The Centre’s unique location can accommodate various complexities of trials and testing projects owing to the mixture of facilities, equipment and staff; deep water subsea testing site down to 150m, 500m private pier, electrical and mechanical workshops, 1.5m litre onshore tank, specialised ROV training suite and WROV simulator, land and water-based vehicles including work boats, FRCs, ROV vessels, diving barges, crane, fork lift and transport vehicles.
JFD provides fast, safe and reliable submarine rescue services to the Royal Australian Navy, as well as NATO and Singapore. This encompasses all levels of submarine rescue capability, from operator training and maintenance of existing systems, to complete delivery of systems and emergency services.
Provided a Range of Vessels, Crane, Classrooms and Specialist Support
The Underwater Centre is a purpose-built subsea training and testing facility which incorporates an extensive pier complex including four dive stations, classrooms, workshops and decompression chambers.
With access to sea depths to 150m, the Centre’s Fort William facilities also include a range of vessels providing air and saturation diver training and an ROV fleet including a fully operational work-class ROV.
Our location and facilities provide the ideal position for your subsea testing, and tailored training delivery, as well as the ability to operate in all-weathers and conditions.
The Underwater Centre is set up to provide its clients and candidates with the skills and experience to succeed in their new careers, and provide the subsea industry with the workforce and testing that it requires.
If you, or your company, have a requirement for testing or bespoke training please get in touch with The Underwater Centre by calling +44 1397 703786 or email direct on [email protected]
The Underwater Centre has successfully supported the delivery of a complex Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) testing project.
This significant 15-day operational trial was planned for almost two years and involved the use of the Centre’s workshops, vessels, deep water test sites, ROVs and specialist support staff, amongst other assets, resulting in completion of the complex testing project conducted by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI).
Significant Operational Trial of AUV Technology
With a focus on the growing demands for pipeline maintenance in the offshore oil and gas fields, Kawasaki has been developing cutting-edge component technologies of AUVs, utilising the sophisticated underwater vehicle technologies deployed by Kawasaki internally.
Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Operational Testing
The operational subsea trial used a prototype AUV and charging station; tasks included automated docking of the AUV to the in-water charging station, contactless charging and large-capacity optical communication tests.
The Underwater Centre provided a high level of experienced and specialist support to deliver deployment, operational and recovery assistance utilising the Centre’s array of transport vehicles, crane, WROV and vessels.
This also included the use of our mechanical workshop to allow Kawasaki to prepare the AUV to help ensure that the team and equipment were ready for the testing phase. The Centre’s ROV team mobilised both WROV and OBSROV assets in support of the deployment of a test station and along with the provision of footage of the AUV in the water.
During the trial, representatives from major oil and gas companies, underwater vehicle and equipment operating companies, UK subsea scientific and government organisations attended the Fort William test site to view demonstrations.
Utilising the Centre’s Array of Transport Vehicles, Crane, WROV and Vessels
Steve Ham, The Underwater Centre’s Commercial Director, commented on the successful trial saying, “This was a major subsea trial of AUV technology in UK waters. Kawasaki chose us for their testing due to the unique combination of equipment, facilities and subsea test site. Our personnel worked tirelessly to support Kawasaki and it’s a further testament to our dedicated operational team, plus the range of vehicles, equipment and assets available, that mean we can support complex trials and testing such as this.”
The Centre’s unique location can accommodate various complexities of trials and testing projects owing to the mixture of facilities, equipment and staff; deep water subsea testing site down to 150m, 500m private pier, electrical and mechanical workshops, 1.5m litre onshore tank, land and water-based vehicles including work boats, FRCs, ROV vessels, diving barges, crane, fork lift and transport vehicles.
We Can Support Your Trial or Testing Project
The Underwater Centre is a purpose-built subsea training and testing facility which incorporates an extensive pier complex including four dive stations, classrooms, workshops and decompression chambers. With access to sea depths to 150m, the Centre’s Fort William facilities also include a range of vessels providing air and saturation diver training and an ROV fleet including a fully operational work-class ROV.
The Underwater Centre is set up to provide its clients and candidates with the skills and experience to succeed in their new careers, and provide a range of industries with the workforce and testing that it requires.
If you would like to find out more about The Underwater Centre, or to discuss your upcoming testing project, then please contact us by calling 01397 703 786 or email [email protected]
The Underwater Centre has vast experience in subsea training, which includes specialist commercial diving and ROV training, designed to prepare and develop personnel for their new career.
As a Training, Testing and Trials Centre, we also offer bespoke ROV training courses to a growing client base outside of traditional sectors such as Oil & Gas.
Three scientists from India based National Institute of Technology (NIOT) Deep Sea Technologies Project travelled to Fort William to attend a bespoke 2-week ROV Operations course. This intensive but highly rewarding course was designed to provide practical experience of launching, recovering and flying a Work Class ROV (WROV) as well as a general technical overview of ROV systems similar to those NIOT will be using during their upcoming research projects.
NIOT scientists received an in-depth technical insight
The group were given hands-on experience of our fully-mobilised, vessel-based WROV as well as our VMAX Simulator; delivering a realistic, digitised subsea environment and wide variety of
underwater tasks to learn and hone functional ROV piloting skills.
During their course, the NIOT scientists received an in-depth technical insight into a WROV from one of our highly-experienced ROV instructors who holds extensive offshore experience. This allowed the group to explore more of their unique requirements for using a Remotely Operated Vehicle during their research projects.
Mr R Ramesh, Scientist, part of the Deep Sea Technologies Project at NIOT, commented on the training saying, “The Underwater Centre has excellent facilities to train and operate all kinds of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) including WROVs. One of the best training centres in the world for ROV operations training”
Time spent using the VMAX simulator was invaluable as it allowed Mr Ramesh and his colleagues to work as a team and instilled some of the communication and dexterity skills required to operate a WROV in the water. They gained experience operating around subsea structures and using the manipulator arms to pick up and move objects without damaging them – a key factor in the recovery of delicate items underwater!
“real feel of world-class facilities for underwater technologies”
The group also got to grips with the process of deploying and recovering a WROV, using our vessel Launch and Recovery System (LARS) which is set-up to deploy a Triton XL WROV into the tidal water of Loch Linnhe. Again, showing team work, the NIOT group practiced using the LARS and safely deploying the ROV.
Another member of the group, Mr V Billavara, Scientist at NIOT, commented that he had a “real feel of world-class facilities for underwater technologies and it’s the right place to learn underwater technologies”.
We wish the best of luck to the National Institute of Technology for your Deep Sea Technology Project and upcoming WROV deployment. We look forward to welcoming you to Fort William in the future.
The Underwater Centre offers bespoke training packages to a range of clients based on their unique requirements. If you would like to explore training options or to find out more information about our subsea training facilities, please get in touch using by calling +44 1397 703 786 or email [email protected]
Bibby Offshore divers recently attended The Underwater Centre to prepare for upcoming decommissioning projects by completing a newly launched 5 day Oxy-Arc Underwater Cutting course.
Newly created and bespoke underwater cutting course
In partnership with Bibby Offshore and ConocoPhillips, The Underwater Centre has developed an Oxy-Arc Underwater Cutting course designed to provide training in the safe and practical use of ultra-thermic methods.
We are the only training provider in Europe equipped and located to deliver this realistic training. Our training site provides students with a subsea experience that includes structures and equipment present in the North Sea.
An extensive programme of decommissioning works will be taking place throughout the subsea industry over the coming years. These projects require underwater cutting of subsea structures, or equipment, and widely involve the use of various cutting techniques. These techniques include using saws, shears and water jet cutters or the use of a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).
There are occasions when sending commercial divers to carry out subsea cutting is the only option for a successful project. Diving personnel are required to be safe and proficient in underwater cutting methods.
Oxy-Arc underwater cutting techniques
The decommissioning project the Bibby Offshore divers were contracted for had the potential to require the use of Oxy-Arc underwater cutting techniques. The divers therefore needed to be trained to ensure competence in cutting knowledge and practice, to mitigate any risk involved in the project. This safety aspect formed a key focus during their 5-day practical course.
The course was based on the IOGP R 471 “Oxy-Arc Underwater Cutting Recommended Practice” and provided Bibby divers with knowledge and practical competency in burning practices, procedures and handling techniques, theory of cutting methods, pre and post-job considerations, Oxy-Arc risks and mitigation, and practical dives.
The final practical assessments involved the divers completing cuts on bespoke test pieces, which were created specifically for this course.
Ensuring commercial divers are safe and competent
The Bibby Offshore divers displayed a high level of competence and knowledge during the course.
Bibby Offshore’s Director of Diving, Allan Nairn noted: “With the anticipated programme of decommissioning works over the coming years, we saw the clear benefits of participating in the training course for Oxy Arc underwater cutting.. ConocoPhillips were instrumental in driving the need for this and we were delighted to work in conjunction with both them and the team at the Underwater Centre. This ensures that we are well placed to provide cutting techniques which deploy diving personnel as an alternative option to ROVs and most importantly, in a safe and efficient manner for our clients.”
We also welcomed the visit of a Health & Safety Executive (HSE) HM Inspector Diving Specialist for the duration of the course. The HSE recognised the contribution to reducing diver risk, the content of the course syllabus and professionalism of the overall course.
This Oxy-Arc Underwater Cutting training course is available to other operators or commercial divers and has helped to safely re-establish an important skill in North Sea decommissioning methods.
If you would like to find out more about our Oxy-Arc Underwater Cutting course or to find out how your company can train at The Underwater Centre, please call +44 (0) 1397 703 786 or email [email protected] for further information.
We welcomed a visit from Health & Safety Executive representative Bill Elrick, to provide our staff and instructors with a safety overview and industry update from the regulator’s perspective.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulate and enforce health and safety legislation to prevent work-related death, injury or ill health throughout Great Britain. As part of their work, the HSE engage and collaborate with a number of stakeholders within the offshore industry, including commercial diving training schools.
Engage with commercial diving training establishments
As part of maintaining a dialogue with commercial diving training schools we welcomed HM Inspector Diving Specialist, Bill Elrick, based in Aberdeen within the Health and Safety Executive Diving Group (part of the Offshore Energy Division), who work to regulate all Diving at Work operations including the Oil and Gas Industry. Bill’s early career was with the Royal Navy before starting his role in the specialist diving department; he previously attended the, formerly-named, HSE Part 2 course at The Underwater Centre in 1986.
Bill’s current role sits within a network of HSE Inspectors who form a Diving Operations Safety Team (D.O.S.T.) in locations including Aberdeen, Portsmouth, Bristol and Newcastle. All HSE Inspectors hold warrant and various powers to allow the lawful execution of their role.
All commercial diving areas are within the HSE scope as “any reward for services is classed as work and therefore falls under HSE regulations which layout certain standards for a commercial diver” and these include Offshore, Inland / Inshore Civils, Renewables, Decommissioning, Police and Military diving.
The HSE have three main areas of responsibility; Advise, Regulate, Enforce
As a HM Inspector, Bill is appointed a warrant that provides him with powers that can be exercised under law, although not the power of arrest, to enable the intervention and prevention of incidents whereby a breach or potential breach of regulations is occurring. Some circumstances can mean that HM Inspectors hold more powers under law than a Police Officer can legally exercise.
Multiple sectors and actions undertaken are monitored, inspected and investigated by the HSE and we were provided with insight into some “hot topics” that are described in more detail below.
Diving Medicals; a trend is emerging whereby forged medical certificates are being passed to diving schools and investigations have found that even divers themselves are creating their own medical certificate as proof of diving fitness.
Qualifications; HSE are inspecting qualification standards, investigating reports of diver false record keeping and divers who are handing over false qualification tickets.
Shell Fish Diving; the HSE are working with this industry to ensure HSE regulations and information leaflet are followed to reduce associated risks as serious accidents continue to be reported each year.
Decommissioning; as subsea organisations start the process of decommissioning, the HSE will be working with stakeholders to maintain the safety of underwater cutting and ensuring that training schools and operators alike are practicing safe methods.
Client Responsibility; ensuring that organisations responsible for dive operations are acting in a safe manner and aware that they have responsibility over risk and hazards. The diver, supervisor, contractor and client are all responsible for safety during a diving project.
HSE-approved commercial diving training provider
HM Inspector, Bill Elrick, works with The Underwater Centre to ensure that we continue to deliver training courses in a safe manner and advises us on opportunities where we could develop our training to incorporate changes to regulations, for example, or visiting training sessions to witness first-hand training by our experienced instructors.
As a HSE-approved commercial diving training provider you can find out more information about these courses which include our Premium Industry Package, HSE Surface Supplied and HSE Closed Bell.
If you have any questions or require further information then please contact our Student Advisors by calling +44 1397 703 786 or email [email protected]