How to become a Navy Sailor

Navy sailors undertake a wide range of peacetime and wartime work on land and at sea, including communications, supply, seamanship, motor transport, combat systems operation, hospitality and stores.

Personal requirements of a Navy Sailor

  • Australian citizenship
  • At least 17 years of age
  • Meet aptitude and medical requirements

Education & Training for a Navy Sailor

To become a Navy sailor you usually have to complete Year 10 or equivalent with passes in English, mathematics and sometimes science. You will also need to successfully complete a series of aptitude tests, medical assessments and selection interviews. Following selection and employment in the Navy as a sailor, you will need to undertake basic training. This involves an 11-week recruit course at the Navy Recruit Training School located at HMAS Cerberus on Western Port Bay in Victoria, followed by specialist training. As different specialisations have different entry requirements, you should contact your nearest Defence Force Recruiting Centre for specific requirements.

Duties & Tasks of a Navy Sailor

A Navy sailor may specialise as an/a:

  • Acoustic Warfare Analyst Submariner - works in submarines to monitor the presence of vessels in the maritime environment. This is achieved by detecting and analysing noise patterns from unknown sources.
  • Boatswain's Mate - performs general seamanship duties on board Navy ships. They handle the berthing of ships, use ship's boats and small arms, and maintain the ship and its fixtures.
  • Clearance Diver - responsible for military diving tasks, which may include underwater repairs; the securing and disposal of missiles, projectiles and explosives; and the safe demolition of maritime assets.
  • Combat Systems Operator - works in the operations room with sensor equipment such as sonar and radar, providing combat data and operations planning support.
  • Combat Systems Operator (Mine Warfare) - operates the combat data system on board the Navy's minehunters, including underwater mine disposal vehicles, radars, sonars and navigation systems.
  • Communication and Information Systems Sailor - responsible for sending information into, out of and around a ship or base, using radio, satellite equipment and Local Area Networks (LAN).
  • Chef - caters and prepares food for Navy personnel both on shore and in ships and submarines.
  • Dental Assistant - helps with dental procedures, writes reports and looks after the accounting and appointment records.
  • Hydrographic Surveyor - works on board Navy research vessels assisting in compiling data for hydrographic surveys of Australia's coastline and approaches.
  • Medical Sailor - assists with patient care and comfort, hygiene and nursing care, and emergency medical and pre-hospital care of Navy personnel.
  • Musician - performs in Navy bands at concerts, ceremonies, parades and dances, playing a range of musical styles, including classical pieces, rock, jazz and swing.
  • Maritime Logistics Steward - responsible for the administration and general running of the Officers' Mess, providing hospitality services such as table preparation, bar services and cabin care for officers.
  • Supply Chain Sailor - responsible for the administration and stock control of Naval Stores items.
  • Personnel Operations Sailor - employed within the Navy's personnel organisation as an administrator to run the office on a ship or base, handling pay, accounts and general clerical work. They may also work as the personal assistant to a Commanding Officer on a warship.

Employment Opportunities for a Navy Sailor

Recruitment into the Australian Defence Force is conducted on an Australia-wide basis all year round. Visit the Navy section on the Australian Defence Force website for more details about the application dates for individual specialisations.

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