Frequently Asked Questions


How is metal cut underwater by divers?

The most common method is with an underwater cutting torch. Commonly referred to as “Broco or oxy-arc cutting”.

The equipment required is a welding machine supplying DC current ONLY. Ground and positive cables of sufficient length and size, 1/0 minimum according to the water depth. A knife switch circuit breaker. A supply of 100% 0xygen, high flow oxygen regulator and suitable electrode holder. rubber insulating gloves and a helmet-mounted welding shield.

Is specialized training required to use this tool?

Yes. Employers must provide operator training before allowing their personnel to do any oxy-arc underwater cutting. Oxy-arc cutting is potentially dangerous due to the nature of incorporating 100% oxygen and high electrical amperage together. Additionally, hydrogen gas is produced in the cutting process. Users must be properly trained and strictly follow all safety procedures according to manufactures and industry-accepted safe diving practices as found in the Association of Diving Contractors International “Consensus Standards for Commercial Diving” and adhere to ANSI Z49.1:2012 “Safety in Welding and Cutting” standards and OSHA Safety and Health Standards “29 CFR 1910.

Can material other than steel be cut underwater with this tool?

Yes! There are two types of electrodes (rods) that are commonly used, exothermic and tubular. When ignited, the exothermic electrodes burn at 8000 to 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Exothermic rods can be used to cut rock, concrete, wood, cast iron, stainless steel, and non-ferrous metals.

Can Oxy-arc cutting be conducted using SCUBA gear?

Using SCUBA gear while conducting oxy-arc cutting can result in electrical shock. SCUBA gear does not have communication with the surface personnel which is mandatory. Divers should always use surface-supplied gear with hard wire communication to topside personnel.

Can Commercial Diving Technologies (CDT) provide expert training in the safe and efficient use of oxy-arc cutting?

Yes. CDT is the industry leader in providing cost-effective training to the worldwide commercial diving industry. CDT in cooperation with JC Roat Expert Services is now offering a one-week course that covers safety and expert instruction in cutting techniques in steel pipe and plate up to 2″ thickness with a wide variety of manufacturers electrodes. This course is recognized by the Association of Diving Contractors International and is available to divers, dive supervisors, client representatives and government officials. It is anticipated that this Certification will be required of dive personnel in the industry as a pre-requisite prior to the use of 0xy-arc cutting.

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