During your time as a Submariner you’ll get to socialise and keep fit, play a variety of sports and explore the places you visit when at sea. You'll have a great work/life balance and get to work with your mates every day.
Life when ashore
Where you'll live
You will be based at HMAS Stirling on Garden Island, close to Fremantle. Some Submariners live alongside their mates in comfortable accommodation on base, while others choose to live in the lively suburbs that surround Perth. Parks, entertainment centres, malls and schools abound and the short drive to work is generally stress-free.
Life when at sea
Standard working hours
For most Submariners, a typical day is broken up into four six-hour 'watches' or work shifts. During your hours on-watch, you'll operate equipment and perform your assigned tasks – but you'll also find yourself multitasking, which will make your work even more interesting. This means that in addition to your specific job, you will have a number of other roles to cover – such as steering the boat and applying first aid – adding variety to your time at sea.
Plenty of time off
When not on watch you can kick back with a book, movie or video game, catch up with your shipmates or exercise. Onboard fitness equipment generally includes an exercise bike, rowing machine, cross trainer and weights, along with boxing gloves, pads and punch bags.
Work and time off in port
On deployments or exercises you'll enjoy time ashore in places such as Sydney, Malaysia, Hawaii and even further afield. When alongside you’ll generally work an eight-hour day (which also applies to when you are at home on Garden Island) so you'll have plenty of time off to explore new places and immerse yourself in different cultures.
Yes, as your application proceeds you will be given plenty of opportunities to meet and chat with Navy members, including Submariners. Or just call us on 13 19 01 if you'd like to arrange to chat with one before you apply.
Every Submariner has their own answer ranging from "everyone has each other's back" to "it's just a really cool place to work". People enjoy working with advanced technology, being "covert and special", the amazing mateship, "everything I've learnt", and all the travel opportunities. Many simply love the balance between an active lifestyle on base and the adventures when at sea.
It takes many different roles to keep a submarine operational, in areas such as:
- Leadership and management
- Technical support and engineering
- Communication and sensor systems operation
- Logistics, catering and hospitality
Full training is provided and the skills you'll learn will be readily transferable to other careers.
Submarines play host to vibrant communities of around 50 sailors and 10 officers. You’ll have your own bunk on board plus enough room to move about, relax and exercise during your time off.
Your training will prepare you for the challenges of living and working in close quarters with your colleagues.
This can vary, but for most Submariners it's the time they look forward to the most. You could be alongside various ports within Australia or overseas for some time, or if your submarine is on a training cycle you might go to sea in the week and be back home for weekends. On the other hand, if your submarine deploys overseas, your time at sea will be longer depending on the final destination.
It averages out at roughly 17 weeks at sea per year with individual deployments ranging from eight weeks to six months. This is similar to the time spent at sea by surface fleet Sailors and Officers.
When in port you’ll generally work an eight-hour day. You’ll be required to stay overnight on board about once a week to maintain the security and safety of the submarine. When at sea, the shifts (called ‘watches’) are six hours on, six hours off for most crew members.