Find out what you'll be doing
About the Job
The Boatswain's Mate (BM) provides provide the specialist knowledge, training and supervision of the more advanced seamanship evolutions including anchor work, rope work, small boat handling and operations, berthing, towing, helmsmanship, and replenishment (re-fuelling) at sea. In addition, BM Sailors are the Navy's close range weapon specialists, maintaining and operating weapons such as the Typhoon and Mini-Typhoon electro-optical remotely fired gun systems and the 12.7mm heavy machine gun. The BM is also the Navy's subject matter expert in F88 Austeyr rifle, F89 machine gun, 9mm pistol, 870P shotgun and batons. Along with other work groups, selected BMs can be nominated to attend the demolition charge preparation course.
The Boatswain's Mate category is also heavily involved in Boarding Operations and Force Protection. Additionally, within the seamanship area of employment, you will be able to perform the following tasks: tying knots, rope-work and work with buoys and shackles. You will also conduct ships husbandry (corrosion control), and evolutions associated with the movement of ships in harbour. Later in your career, as an Able Seaman, you may sub-specialise as a Navigator's Yeoman (NY) or Shipborne Lifesaving and Survival Equipment Maintainer (SLSEM).
As a Leading Seaman BM, you have the option of becoming an Officer of the Watch (OOW) on Armidale Class Patrol Boats (ACPB) by obtaining your Limited Navigation Watch keeping Certificate (LNWC) or Coxswain of an LHD Landing Craft (LLC).
Petty Officer Boatswains have the ability to increase skill levels by obtaining a Navigation Watch keeping Certificate (NWC).
FULL JOB DETAILS
Other Ranks - Non Technical
Join the ADF with appropriate high school passes
Salary & Allowances
Salary while undertaking Military (Recruit) Training: $1,379 per fortnight ($35,854 per year).*
Salary while undertaking Initial Employment Training: $1,576 per fortnight ($40,976 per year).*
While under training, you will also receive $387 per fortnight ($10,086 per year pro rata) Trainee Allowance.
Salary (excluding allowances) on completion of Initial Employment Training: $1,847 per fortnight ($48029 per year).*
In addition to your salary, you will receive Service Allowance of $517 per fortnight ($13,448 per year) except while undertaking Military (Initial) or Employment training. This allowance compensates a member for the unique requirements that service life may impose on an individual and his or her family.
To assist you in maintaining your uniforms in good order and condition, you will also receive a Uniform Allowance of $16 per fortnight ($419 per year).
Each General Entry job in the Australian Defence Force is classified into a pay grade. This particular job commences at Pay Grade 2 on completion of Initial Employment Training.
Salary will continue to increase based on rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank. Pay Grade may also increase following the acquisition of additional skills and completion of advanced courses.
Refer to the Salary Scales for further details.
* Note: These figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); and superannuation.
All Sailors will serve in fleet units and shore establishments on a rotational basis.
Applicants must be aged between 17 and 54 years of age inclusive on day of entry.
Applicants will not be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years and six months of age, depending upon the capacity of their local recruiting centre.
Education & Experience
The minimum educational standard for entry to the Boatswain's Mate Category is successful completion of Year 10 level, which must include passes in English and Mathematics. However, you may apply while still studying Year 10,
If you do not satisfy the education requirements for this trade or do not possess evidence of your educational attainment there is an alternative pathway available to you.
You may be eligible to sit an Alternative Education Equivalency (AEE) assessment to ascertain your ability at the required educational level for this trade.
Further information is available here.
Medical & Fitness
To be appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry into the ADF. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.
You must also pass the swim test and physical fitness test to graduate from your Navy Training and to proceed to the Safety of Life at Sea Training that is a requirement for Recruit School and Officer training.
Royal Australian Navy Swim Test (RANST)
The RANST is conducted to ensure the Navy's duty of care to all serving personnel, with respect to rudimentary swimming skills. The purpose of the RANST is to ensure fundamental water survival skills as a prerequisite to training such as survival at sea training.
Individual components of the RANST are fundamentally related to the survival at sea scenario. Competency in the RANST is achieved through successful completion of each component comprising:
- A safety jump off a 3m tower in overalls
- A 10m underwater swim in overalls
- A 50m swim using three safety strokes
- The ability to tread water or float for 15 mins (removal of overalls optional)
Note: You will find it much easier to pass the swimming test if you undertake swimming training before you join.
All personnel will undertake the RANST upon entry and competency is to be achieved within 15 weeks from commencement of initial training. Failure of any one component will constitute failure of the entire RANST and no waivers will be granted.
For more details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF , Medical Process for Entry into the ADF and Physical Employment Standards once you're in the ADF
Period of Service
You will be enlisted for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of four years. On enlistment if you elect to serve an open ended enlistment, you will be able to serve until retirement age, subject to your continued suitability for service. If you elect to serve for a fixed period of service, subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. Your Careers Counsellor can advise on how IMPS will relate to your chosen occupation.
The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.
Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.
The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.
Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.
Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.
If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary waiver of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.
The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to obtain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry.
A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and, as required, interviews enables the Regional Security Office to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.
Current policy requires applicants for this particular avenue of entry to have lived in Australia for the preceding 10 years, or have a checkable background for this period.
Duration: 11 weeks
Location: Crib Point, Victoria
The Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus is situated on Western Port Bay, Victoria about 70 kilometres south east of Melbourne. The school has its own administration building, accommodation blocks and classrooms and operates as an independent unit within the greater training environment of Cerberus.
The eleven week recruit course is designed to give you sufficient knowledge and skills on which to base your navy career. The course includes both classroom and practical activities. Most subjects are individually tested. Examinations are set to ensure recruits are sufficiently prepared to undertake further specialist training at category schools. Private study areas are available in the school and a Duty Instructor is available for assistance during non-instructional hours.
When you are offered a General Entry job in the Navy, you will receive Joining Instructions for the Recruit Training Course. These instructions will provide you with a good indication of the daily routine while at the recruit school and what will be expected of you during your training. This information is also available by accessing the Navy recruit school web site.
Recruits, who successfully complete the course including the Navy Swimming Test , participate in a Graduation Parade, which is normally held on the Friday of the last week of training. Recruits will have the opportunity to invite family and friends to view the parade.
After graduation, personnel will be posted to category schools at Cerberus or at other training establishments throughout Australia.
During Military (Initial Recruit) Training and Initial Employment Training (IET), members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities, depending on a number of factors.
Following the completion of Military (Recruit) Training, you will complete a Boatswain's Mate Course of 13 weeks which will include 3 weeks of Basic Seamanship. This will be conducted at the Boatswain Faculty, HMAS Cerberus.
Boatswain's Mate Course
Maritime Combat and Security Duration: 10 weeks.
This phase of your training forms the core specialist skills that you will require as a Boatswain Mate. It includes:
- Higher level proficiency in the use of F88 AUSTEYR
- Proficient use of all Navy issue service weapons which include F89 Minimi, 870p Shotgun, MAG 58 and 9mm Pistol
- Use of less-than-lethal weapons and tactics, such as Batons, Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray and personal defensive techniques
- Operation of a ship's close range weapons system including 12.7mm machine gun
- Providing visual direction of medium range gunnery systems
- Training to diffuse situations and where necessary apply the appropriate level of reasonable and necessary force to control a situation
- Training in Domestic Boarding Party duties for fisheries and other enforcement operations
Basic Seamanship Duration: 3 weeks.
This training is completed by all Seaman Sailors and covers all aspects of basic seamanship, including:
- Launch and recovery of sea boats
- Training as a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) Coxswain and Bowman
- Working with all types of cordage and understanding the characteristics and splicing techniques of these materials
- Use and maintenance of most forms of rigging, blocks, slips and shackles
- Maintenance of ships and boats anchors and cables and acting as a member of a ship's cable party
- Major seamanship taskings including Replenishment at sea (RAS - Refuelling) and towing
- Ships Husbandry of the upper decks of a ship
- A working knowledge of a ships organisation, routines, line handling and erecting awnings
- Watch on Deck (WOD) duties, including lookouts, Quarter Master Assistant (QMA), Life buoy sentry and Helmsmanship (steering the ship) skills
- Man overboard recovery methods by seaboat and swimmer
Sub Specialist Option
After 12 months at sea, Able Seaman Boatswain's Mates (ABBM), can sub-specialise in a number of career options such as:
- Navigator's Yeoman (NY) or
- Shipborne Lifesaving and Survival Equipment Maintainer (SLSEM).
Following promotion to Leading Seaman Boatswain's Mate (LSBM), you can sub-specialise in career options such as:
- An OOW with an LNWC
- Coxswain of an LLC
- Coxswain of a Mexe float
Following promotion to Petty Officer Boatswain (POB), you can further specialise your LNWC career options such as:
- Navigation Watch Keeping Certificate (NWC).
Application to transfer to submarines is open to all Sailors and some Officers, male and female. Volunteers may apply for Acoustic Warfare Analyst (AWA SM) whilst in Recruit School and to other submariner categories as early in their careers as during initial Sailor trade and Officer primary qualification training.
Although not all Sailor categories are employed in submarines, Acoustic Warfare Analysts (AWA) and Electronic Warfare Analysts (EWA) are drawn from any category. Transfer into one of these may be necessary for some personnel to serve in submarines. (See the individual category sections to find out if the trade of your choice has a submarine component. If not you may volunteer to transfer to AWA or EWA).
If Submarine Service interests YOU let the Interviewing Officer know at your Recruiting Centre.
Service in submarines is extremely demanding, both emotionally and physically.
Submariners work and live in very close proximity to each other and personal privacy is extremely limited, except when ashore. Submarine personnel work long hours and are constantly subjected to emotional and physical pressures not found in surface ships.
Many a new recruit to the Submarine Arm of the Royal Australian Navy believes that he /she has what it takes to become a good submariner. However, until you have been tested and have experienced the arduous conditions and life inside a submarine, you won't fully appreciate the difficulties.
Today's Submariner is a unique breed of Sailor/Officer. They have met the challenges, been tested to the limits of their endurance and abilities and found to have what it takes to be members of a very demanding arm of the Royal Australian Navy.
If you think you have what it takes, then you must be prepared for some very demanding personal challenges throughout your training and employment. If you come through these you will be willingly accepted into the Submarine Arm of the Royal Australian Navy and welcome to wear 'The Dolphins' (the submariner's badge of distinction).
Note: Submarine Service is not a sub-specialisation of this category. Transfer of category is necessary to become a submariner.