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Royal Navy: Diver

Job Profile

Special note: Women do not serve as Divers in the Royal Navy.

The Diving Sub-Branch is a small specialisation of the Royal Navy dedicated to a wide range of underwater diving tasks and more specifically to Mine and Explosive Ordnance Disposal underwater. The primary aim of the branch is to supply personnel to man the diving elements of both Hunt and Sandown class Mine Countermeasure (MCM) vessels and front-line diving units ashore.

You could expect to work in one of the most advanced MCM ships in the world today acting as a major component of the ships weapon system. The Diver will be deployed once the ship has found a target, using its minehunting sonar, to identify or even countermine the object. The small team of 5 or 6 divers onboard is self-contained; teamwork is essential in this physically demanding environment. You will use specialised 80 metre diving equipment, which is state of the art and not dissimilar to that used by NASA astronauts for space walks.

When you join one of the shore based front-line diving teams the range of tasks you will perform is extensive. Underwater engineering on ships of the Fleet will feature in your day-to-day work; you will conduct a range of survey operations and then, perhaps, large engineering tasks including propeller blade removal. All of these tasks are conducted in the most modern commercial diving "hard hat" diving equipment all of which you will be taught how to use and maintain. On the road with the team whilst covering Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), life will be one long adventure, one day disposing of a Second World War mine dragged up by a fisherman or just collecting, and disposing of, old pyrotechnics found by the Coastguard.

NATO and other multinational Naval exercises would see you based for short periods in places such as the Far East and Mediterranean. There you will practice the wartime role of the diving branch - harbour and open water mine clearance operations. The work will be demanding but there is always some time to put your feet up in these more exotic locations.

To be a Diver in today's Navy you must be prepared to work in a small, self-reliant diving team capable of adapting to a wide range of situations. You will be taught Seamanship skills and essential Diver First Aid; Firefighting and Damage Control techniques will come early in your training prior to you being drafted to your first ship.

The Diving phase of your training will be a big challenge and initially last in the region of 20 weeks. You will be trained to the highest professional, military standards and you will receive civilian HSE diver certification on completion of training. The specialisation attracts "Special Service Pay (Diving)", this is an extra amount that you will receive in addition to your normal Naval salary, payable on qualification.

Qualifications

Preference will be given to those candidates with previous diving experience, which may be either commercial or sub-aqua. To join the Royal Navy as a Diver you need to be aged between 18 and 36 (up to and including the day of the 37th birthday). On completion of your new entry training at HMS Raleigh you will be required to attend and pass a 4 day Aptitude Course at the Defence Diving School in Portsmouth where you will be expected to pass a Diver's fitness test.

The basic requirement is to run 2.4 km in 11 minutes and you will also undergo a number of strength tests. Before attending the aptitude course you will need to complete a diving medical, the details of which are available at the recruiting office. A good general education is desirable, along with a mature attitude to your chosen career. A basic test of your reasoning, numeracy, literacy and mechanical comprehension will also be conducted.