Going for it: A career dream in commercial diving

Dorota “Dot” Bankowska has been enamored with diving since she was young. When she decided to make diving her career, she discovered that she was one of a very small number of women to choose this path. Defying the odds and often working outside her comfort zone, she became certified, experienced and a valued team member. In this talk, she tells her story, brings us into the world of commercial diving, and gives insight into the most technical niche of this profession: saturation diving. A thrilling cave-diving experience instructed by Krzysztof Starnawski – one of the world’s greatest divers – led Dorota “Dot” Bankowska immediately to set her sights on a career in commercial diving. Attending her first training course, she found that not only was she the only female attendee, she was one of the few women ever to take the course. Once a professional diver, Dot worked seamlessly alongside her male counterparts in all forms of diving, but was not able to follow her dream and secure work in saturation diving: a world of lengthy, weeks-long stays in cramped chambers with all-male teams, and a world that few women have been permitted to enter. Instead of being disheartened, Dot recognised an opportunity: the freedom to pursue another avenue; something that had seemed it would remain a fantasy. Starting with a television advertisement, and now an underwater camera assistant, she began the next exciting phase of her career, later resulting in work on some major productions. A recent on-the-job anecdote features chatting to Linda Hamilton between takes, while James Cameron apologised for the frigid water temperature, on the set of Terminator 6.