Age & Gender


The Navy is committed to identifying the very best people for each job based on education, aptitude and potential, regardless of their gender. All roles in the Navy are open to men and women and you can start applying for a job at sixteen.

Age range for recruitment

To apply for a job in the Navy you must be at least 16 years and 6 months old, though you can start thinking about a career in the ADF much earlier (see below).

You'll find details of the maximum age for recruitment in each job description on this website. As a general rule, you can join the Navy on the provision that you can meet the Initial Minimum Period of Service set for that role prior to the Compulsory Retiring Age applicable to full-time or Reserve entry.


17-year olds in the Navy

At this age you are a 'minor' so special conditions apply. Your application must be voluntary, approved in writing by both your parents or your legal guardian(s), and accompanied by an original or certified copy of your full birth certificate.

The Navy abides by the spirit and intent of the Optional Protocol on the Rights of the Child on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. That means we will take all feasible measures to ensure that minors do not participate in hostilities, however there will be times when they may have to.


Info for those under 17

  • You are at least 10 years of age:

To receive information about the careers available in the Navy, please register your details with Defence Jobs.

  • You are over 12 years and 6 months of age:

You can experience what it's like in the Navy by joining the Cadets. You'll develop leadership, team-building and survival skills while having great fun.

  • You are over 15 years and 6 months of age:

If you are applying to start your Navy career with a degree course at the Australian Defence Force Academy, you may be eligible for an ADFA Education Award.