Government & Defence

Navy Sailor

Navy sailors work aboard ships or at onshore navel bases, carrying out a wide variety of operational and non-operational roles.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Navy Sailor do?

Navy sailors work aboard ships or at onshore navel bases, carrying out a wide variety of operational and non-operational roles.


Work activities

As a Navy sailor, you would:

  • maintain the vessel on shore, and at sea
  • participate in field operations as required
  • train in firefighting and emergency techniques
  • look after and operate systems in areas such as communications, surveillance, electronic transmissions operation, logistics, or warfare operations
  • undertake general duties, such as manning defensive positions, patrolling, parade duties, and navigation
  • participate in training courses and lectures to increase your knowledge.

Key skills and interests

To become a Navy sailor, you would need:

  • self-discipline, confidence and initiative
  • good teamwork skills
  • the ability to think and react quickly in rapidly changing situations
  • good communication skills
  • good fitness levels
  • willingness to be involved in combat.

You will need to meet aptitude and medical requirements, be willing to serve anywhere in Australia or overseas, be at least 17 years of age, and be an Australian citizen.


Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

While at sea, a vessel is operational 24 hours a day so you would work on a rotating shift pattern. You could be away from your family for long periods of time.


Working conditions for Navy sailors vary greatly, from working in an office to spending extended times at sea, possibly in rough conditions. Sailors are posted to a vessel which will split its time between its home port in Australia and missions at sea. In port, you would stay in Naval accommodation.


How to become an Navy Sailor?

Entry Level Education

To become a Navy sailor you usually have to complete junior secondary school or equivalent with passes in English and mathematics.

You will also need to successfully complete a series of aptitude tests, medical assessments and selection interviews.

All entrants must complete basic naval training. Potential sailors undergo their basic training
at the RAN Recruit School, while officers must complete the New Entry Officer Course at HMAS
Creswell. Completion of basic training is followed by a four week seamanship course covering knowledge of all naval vessels. Completion of this course is followed by specialised training for particular jobs.

As different specialisations have different entry requirements, you should contact Defence Force Recruiting for specific requirements.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

The total number of active-duty and reserve personnel serving in the Australian Armed Forces is currently expected to remain roughly the same.

The Australian Defence Force recruits throughout the year.


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