RAN Recruit School

RAN Recruit School is located at HMAS CERBERUS on the Western Port Bay side of the Mornington Peninsula, 60 kilometres southwest of Melbourne. This is an area that boasts an array of beautiful vineyards, golf courses, walking tracks, outdoor markets, restaurants and of course pristine beaches. The beach and bushlands around the bay provide beautiful surrounds for activities like horse riding, trail bike riding, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking. The closest town centre is Frankston which has a variety of hotels, restaurants, cafes, cinemas and a large shopping complex.


Each new recruit intake is known as a Division, and each Division is divided up into small groups of between 15 and 25 people, known as a class. Recruits in each class study together and form great friendships which will last throughout their Naval careers. The Divisional System exists to help you work together with the large amount of sailors with whom you'll be stationed at Recruit School. The 'Divisional Chain' runs from the Commanding Officer all the way to the Recruit, with seven ranks in-between. A Divisional Officer will be available for directions and instructions, providing guidance, advice, discipline and monitoring well being and morale.

Some of the subjects you'll be studying...

  • Living in Communal Harmony
  • Maintenance of Service Kit
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Equity and Diversity
  • Ceremonial
  • Drill (Marching)
  • Cleaning
  • Physical Training
  • Drugs and Alcohol Education
  • Leave and Travel
  • Steyr Rifle Training
  • First Aid
  • Survival at Sea
View a typical day at recruit school

Good food and plenty of it

Most recruits are genuinely surprised by how good the food is at Recruit School. There is a huge amount of choice, it's great food and to keep energy levels high there's lots of it.

Meals are served three times a day, with at least three main choices including a low fat and a vegetarian option. There is also a full salad bar and tea and coffee making facilities.

Fun facilities

The Sobroan Club is the main meeting place for all recruits. It's where you'll catch up with your new mates, or just relax during your off-duty hours. You can make phone calls and talk to family and friends, play music, table tennis or pool. There's the Internet room where you can check emails and also the store which provides groceries, snacks, drinks, newspapers and phone cards. The Cerberus Retail Centre includes the Post Office (Australia Post), Glendinnings clothing and tailoring service, Service Credit Unions, a Westpac ATM, travel agent, and dry cleaners. The Aquatic Centre houses an eight lane 50m swimming pool and there is a Gymnasium, Cardio Centre and sporting fields.

The Mud Run

The Mud Run is a team building exercise that is part of the URE, the Unit Readiness Evaluation which is conducted at the end of the course. Recruits have to move through a large stretch of mud in swamp like conditions, sometimes only able to move forward by crawling flat on their stomachs. It's a race for the fastest time between classes in the same division and even though recruits are completely covered in mud by the end of it, they love the experience and have a lot of fun.


During the first four weeks of the 11 week course there is no leave granted, but after this time there will be regular opportunities to leave the Base, either to get out and explore the surrounding towns or to go home and visit friends and family. Following completion of Recruit School training, you may be granted leave for weekends, public holidays and overnight, when you're not required for duty. Additional leave, such as Compassionate or Sick Leave, can be granted in exceptional circumstances.

Sea Training

Sea Training is without a doubt the most exciting and satisfying part of the course for recruits. It's a week long Sea Familiarisation Training deployment on the Seahorse spirit, a 72 metre long ocean going vessel. On board you'll experience life at sea, participating in a range of duties that you'll get to carry out regularly once you're deployed on a Navy warship. You'll also do things like steer the ship, take part in night watches and learn about navigation, as well as explore all of the ship's compartments including the Engine Room, the Galley and the Bridge.

Sea training gives you a feel for what you'll be doing once you leave recruit school and puts all your weeks of training into perspective. You'll be more confident in your own abilities at the end of it, as well as part of a much stronger team.

Staying in touch

The Navy knows it's important for you to maintain contact with your family and friends while you're at Recruit School, especially if this is the first time you've lived away from home, so there are phones located in the Sobroan Club to help you keep in touch. During the working week, you're not allowed to use your mobile phone, but you have full use from Friday afternoon and all weekend. There's also an Internet café located in the Sobroan Club which can be used for a small fee.