Navy divers not only dive, they clear and destroy mines and explosives, search for missing persons, carry out surface and underwater demolitions and conduct underwater engineering on ships and structures.

As a Navy diver you will 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.


You will start your career with initial training before completing your first professional diving course. A period of consolidation with the Operational Diving Team and at sea will then follow where you will build up your diving hours 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 counter measures, 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 Littoral Warfare Support Group. This may include land based deployment with organisations such as the United Nations on land based deployments and become an integral part of our Maritime Mine Warfare Force.

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 (see attached pay table). 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.

  • Be a minimum of 17 years of age.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade.
  • Be free of any criminal convictions for the previous two years.

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

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

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.

Upon successful enlistment into the Navy you’ll be posted to Devonport Navy base in Auckland. Here you will do 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
  • Position limpet mine disposal equipment

On successful completion of the Defence Diver course you'll either be employed with the Operational Diving Team at HMNZS Philomel, Devonport performing routine diving tasks. These will 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 achieving a minimum of 10 hours consolidation diving you will commence your Able Diver Warfare Course which is 15 weeks in duration and will cover the following:

  • Compressed air diving to 50 metres
  • Mixed gas diving to 54 metres
  • Surface supply diving to 18 metres
  • Attack swimming using 100% oxygen on a rebreather set
  • Advanced First Aid Course
  • Mine counter measure searches and tasking
  • Landmine clearance (below the high water mark)
  • Above and underwater demolitions and explosive training

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 2 Construction Diver.

When you are posted ashore you will have the opportunity to gain experience in other areas, such as explosive training and technical administration and maintenance. As a professional Diver, you will be required to instruct and assess Defence Divers. This means you'll be required to complete a Diving Medical Technician course (in Australia).

After appropriate leadership and management courses you will have the opportunity to attend professional courses in the USA, Australia and 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...