How to become a Navy master diver

It's an exclusive club
Petty Officer 1st Class Charles White

From salvaging wrecks to building aquatic infrastructure, master divers like Chief Warrant Officer James ­Emerson handle some of the U.S. Navy’s most complex subaqueous projects—­because if something is tricky on dry land, it can be diabolical in the drink. Emerson is in charge of turning Seabees (the name comes from the abbreviation for “Construction ­Battalion”) into underwater experts. Out of 160 Seabee divers, only 2 to 4 percent will ultimately earn the title of “master.”

man in construction hat welding
a man welding underwater in a scuba suit
person in scuba gear swims with a chainsaw
man performs CPR on a dummy
man in a military suit giving orders to a scuba diver

This article was originally published in the March/April 2017 issue of Popular Science.