How to become a Navy Sailor

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 for 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 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 in the following areas:

  • Acoustic Analyst Submariner - work 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 - perform general seamanship duties onboard 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 - work in the operations room with sensor equipment such as sonar and radar, providing combat data and operations planning support.
  • Combat Systems Operator - Mine Warfare - operate the combat data system on board the Navy's minehunters, including underwater mine disposal vehicles, radars, sonars and navigation systems.
  • Communication and Information Systems Operator - responsible for sending information into, out of and around a ship or base, using radio, satellite equipment and Local Area Networks.
  • Chef - cater and prepare food for Navy personnel both on shore and in ships and submarines.
  • Hydrographic Surveyor - work onboard Navy research vessels assisting in compiling data for hydrographic surveys of Australia's coastline and approaches.
  • Medic - assist with patient care and comfort, hygiene and nursing care, and emergency medical and pre-hospital care of Navy personnel.
  • Musician - perform in Navy bands at concerts, ceremonies, parades and dances, playing a range of musical styles, including classical pieces, rock, jazz and swing.
  • Hospitality and Logistics Support - a diverse hospitality and logistics role that includes bar and table service, canteen management, inventory management and a variety of general ship duties.
  • Warehouse Storeperson - specialise in inventory and warehouse management, enjoying a rewarding role managing supplies, equipment, spares and provisions for the Navy, both ashore and at sea.
  • Personnel Administration Specialist - 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.


  • Serving as an infantry soldier.
  • Erecting bridges, building field defences, constructing temporary roads, clearing minefields, repairing airfields and demolishing targets using explosives.
  • Guarding airfields and other defence force bases.
  • Maintaining personal arms and ammunition.
  • Operating artillery, ground and surface-based defence systems, shipboard weapons and other advanced specialist military weapons and equipment.
  • Crewing armoured fighting vehicles.
  • Conducting surveillance, reconnaissance and boarding operations.
  • Providing firepower and ground-based air defence.
  • Establishing and maintaining command, control and communications equipment and facilities.

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.


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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    27 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    13% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    50 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Medium skill
  • Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    94% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    110 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 4.7%
    NSW: 27.7%
    NT: 8.6%
    QLD: 35.9%
    SA: 6.5%
    TAS: 0.3%
    VIC: 9.8%
    WA: 6.4%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 8.2%
    20-24: 28.5%
    25-34: 37.9%
    35-44: 14.6%
    45-54: 8.5%
    55-59: 1.7%
    60-64: 0.3%
    65 and Over: 0.2%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 10.8%
    Bachelor degree: 5.6%
    Certificate III/IV: 26.5%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 2.2%
    Year 10 and below: 7.8%
    Year 11: 6.5%
    Year 12: 40.6%
Is the information on this page correct? Request update

Become a member

Already a member? LoginForgot password?

Join the conversation