Submariner Life


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

As a Submariner you'll enjoy a balanced lifestyle in one of the sunniest spots in the country – Western Australia. From the beautiful surf beaches and vibrant nightlife of Perth, to the hiking, biking and fishing opportunities nearby, you'll love life in the West. Your immediate family can live with you locally, but if they’re not based in WA the Navy will support you to make trips home throughout the year.

Accommodation Accommodation

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

A submarine is a uniquely challenging workplace, but for many Submariners there's no place they'd rather be.

Life at sea Life 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.


Time off Time off

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.


Submarine Submarine

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.




Any questions?

You probably have a lot of questions about serving on a submarine. If you can’t find the answers here, just get in touch.

Can I speak with a Submariner to find out what it's like?

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.

What are the best things about the job?

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.

What type of jobs are available?

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.

How many people will I work with?

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.

How long will I spend at sea and what are the hours?

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.