Government & Defence

Navy Submariner

Navy submariners are sailors with specialised skills and training, who work on-board a submarine.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Navy Submariner do?

Navy submariners are sailors with specialised skills and training, who work on-board a submarine. Submariners work across a range of roles in communications, combat systems operations, seamanship and electronics.


Work activities

As a Navy submariner, you might:

  • look after and operate systems in areas such as communications, surveillance, electronic transmissions operation, logistics, or warfare operations
  • maintain the vessel while at sea
  • participate in field operations as required
  • train in firefighting and emergency escape techniques
  • undertake general duties, such as manning defensive positions, patrolling, parade duties, and navigation
  • work in a fleet maintenance unit when not at sea.

Key skills and interests

To become a Navy submariner, 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 levels of physical and mental fitness
  • 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

Submariners work onshore and at sea. While at sea, a submarine 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 submariners can be challenging, 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. You would work in very close proximity with your crewmates, and have little privacy on board a submarine.


How to become an Navy Submariner?

Entry Level Education

To become a Navy submariner you usually have to complete junior secondary school or equivalent with passes in English and mathematics. Submarine officers must have at least a bachelor's degree.

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. Finally, there is a three-day submariner selection course which includes medical and psychological testing.

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


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

There are always good opportunities for submariners.

Although the total number of active-duty and reserve personnel serving in the Australian Armed Forces is currently expected to remain roughly the same, the role of a submariner is highly specialised, and the selection process is extremely rigorous. Only a small number of people make it through the selection process, and so there are always good opportunities should you do so. The Australian Defence Force recruits throughout the year.


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