A clearance diver is an exciting career path for men and women of the Navy. A Navy diver is trained in Mine clearance and underwater explosives utilizing the latest diving equipment. They also, search for missing persons and conduct underwater engineering on ships and structures.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Navigation, Combat and Security
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
  • Upcoming Intake
    21 February, 2022
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About the role

As a Navy diver you will have to be determined, have a high degree of stamina and physical fitness, work well under pressure, love a challenge and enjoy being part of a strong team environment.

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

Specialist Training

You will start your career with initial training before completing your first professional diving course. A period of consolidation with the Clearance Diving Team or at sea will then follow where you will build up your diving and navy experience in preparation for the next level of training. Further courses, promotion and training will follow to assist with career progression and advancement. Civilian recognised qualifications are awarded on completion of Navy dive training.

Once trained, you will be skilled in mine countermeasures, clearance diving, underwater engineering and the disposal of explosive ordnance and improvised explosive devices. You will be employed at sea and ashore in New Zealand and overseas as part of the Navy’s Clearance Diving Team. This may include land based deployments with organisations such as the United Nations on land based deployments and become an integral part of our Maritime Mine Warfare Force.

Upon successful enlistment into the Navy you’ll be posted to Devonport Navy base in Auckland. Here you will complete your basic training. Find out more about basic training.

After completing your Basic Common Training course you'll begin an intensive and demanding four week Defence Diver course to learn Military Diving (to a maximum depth of 30m) to:

  • Complete seabed and ship's hull searches
  • Complete all maintenance relating to military diving
  • Complete all shipborne underwater maintenance tasks
  • RNZN decompression training

On successful completion of the Defence Diver course you'll be employed with the Clearance Diving Team or Navy Dive Training School, Devonport performing routine diving tasks and continuation training. These can include ship's hull maintenance and assisting the New Zealand Police and other civil authorities in searching for missing persons and crime scene evidence. Searching and disposal of suspected improvised explosive devices ('homemade bombs').

Or you will be posted to sea to gain experience onboard naval vessels and be exposed to naval culture. You'll be required to assist in all general ship activities and may even be part of the ship's boarding parties. In addition, you will be required to maintain all diving equipment on the ship and assist the Senior Rating Diver with all diving related tasks.

After completing your competency log you will eligible to commence your Able Diver Warfare Course which is about 38 weeks in duration and will cover the following:

  • Compressed air diving to 50 metres
  • Mixed gas diving to 54 metres
  • Surface supply diving to 50 metres
  • Attack swimming using 100% oxygen on a rebreather set
  • Dive Medical Technicians
  • Mine countermeasure searches and tasking
  • Landmine clearance (below the high water mark)
  • Above and underwater demolitions and explosive training
  • Pouncer Operations (Mine disposal inserted from helicopter) 

When you have progressed to this level, which usually takes the first four years of Naval Service, you will have the opportunity to gain civilian qualifications. The Diving School currently awards 30 NZQA Unit Standards in occupational diving. Your Navy diving qualifications equate to a recognised Class 3 Construction Diver.

During your personal development you will have the opportunity to gain experience in other areas, such as Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) training and technical administration and maintenance. As a professional Diver, you will be required to instruct and assess Defence Divers. 

After appropriate leadership and management courses you will have the opportunity to attend professional courses in the USA, Australia and the UK, and even to gain an internationally recognised ADAS qualification in Construction Diving.

If you think you can find a more exciting way to get one, don't hold your breath...

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Navy are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.

While undertaking Basic Recruit Course you will be paid as a Recruit. On completion of your Recruit Course you will be paid as an Ordinary Rate and your pay will continue to increase as your career progresses.




Starting Salary


Higher Rank

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental

Access to subsidised equipment on base

Subsidised food on base

Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

Be a minimum of 17 years of age.

You must have 10 NCEA Level 1 credits in each Literacy and Numeracy.

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

Navy Diver Recruitment Fitness Testing: minimum MSFT standard for Diver is Level 9.5 on the beep test, 30 press ups and 66 curl ups.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required security clearance for this trade. Be free of any criminal convictions for the previous two years.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

There may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.

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