Seamanship Combat Specialist Reserve

Group: Rating
Job Availability: Part Time

The Role

Seamanship Combat Specialists control and conduct seamanship operations and all aspects of ship’s husbandry and maintenance. As a Seamanship Combat Specialist your role is mentally and physically demanding, whether driving the Navy RHIBs (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats), undertaking fire fighting exercises, shift working steering the ship and conducting ships maintenance.

Time Commitment

Naval reservists commit to undertake a minimum of 20 days training each year which includes:

  • Evening parades (generally every second week)
  • Monthly training session held over a weekend
  • 10–14 days of full time training per year

Job on Deployment

Following the Seamanship Combat Specialist course, personnel will be eligible to be posted to a ship on an opportunity basis to begin on-the-job training that consolidates the skills learnt on course, and provides the experience required for the first promotion to Able Seamanship Combat Specialist. Whilst at sea, as well as shift working on the Bridge for at least 2 x 4 hour shifts in every 24 hour period, Seamanship Combat Specialists are required to complete other specialist and general tasks.

Service at sea is for a period determined by the requirements of the Navy and the time that the Reservist can make available, however it is noted that Seamanship Combat Specialists in the Regular Force can expect to spend the first few years of
their career at sea. Admittedly this will not be possible for Reservists but there is always a chance to transfer to the Regular Force where the full opportunity of at sea experience may be enjoyed. Reservists do get the opportunity to experience sea service but this is always on an 'as available' basis by an individual in recognition of their full time civilian responsibilities.

Seamanship Combat Specialists at sea are responsible for a specific part of ship, and become experts in the completion of specific tasks or naval ‘evolutions’.

Career Progression

Following your initial training, you will spend the majority of your Reserve career at sea, when you are available, to first consolidate and then develop your skills. When it is considered you are fully competent in this rank further professional training will be offered to assist in your professional development and career progression.

There are opportunities for Seamanship Combat Specialists on all Navy ships, whether they are carrying out long range combat missions or patrolling New Zealand's territorial waters. Peacekeeping opportunities as part of a deployed force are also possible.

Pay & Benefit Details

Reservists are paid on a graduating pay scale depending on rank. You are paid for your attendance on an hourly basis.

General Requirements

  • You must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade.
  • You must be free of any criminal convictions.
  • Must produce evidence that you can swim (the Navy swim test requires individuals to swim 50 metres and tread water for 3 minutes in overalls).

Educational Requirements

You must have achieved the NCEA level 1 Literacy and Numeracy requirements.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

Fitness Requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.


Basic Training

Your introduction to the Navy begins with a five-week basic training course at the Tamaki Leadership Centre where you will train alongside your Regular Force counterparts.

Job Training

Following Basic Common Training, you will undertake training in the following areas:


  • Helmsman duties
  • Bridge lookout
  • Slipping & berthing

Seamanship Combat Specialist Duties:

  • Boat operations
  • Anchoring
  • Crane operations & rigging
  • Underway replenishment
  • Towing
  • Recovery of personnel and materials from the sea
  • Upper deck maintenance & ship’s husbandry

Ongoing Training

All sailors are provided opportunities through their chain of command to conduct further training to further them within the RNZN.

Specialist Training

Personnel are required to undertake additional specialist courses for further promotion. On these courses recommended Seamanship Combat Specialists have the opportunity to undertake the Maritime Safety Authority approved Boat Master and Inshore Launch-Master courses. These are recognised civilian qualifications for boat operations in New Zealand. You will also have the opportunity to further develop your understanding of small arms and self defence courses.

Location Details

There are Naval Reserve Units in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin and a sub-unit in Tauranga. Transfers are available if you move cities.