Mine clearance diving officer

As a Mine Clearance Diving Officer (MCDO), you will work both above and under the water. You will lead a team of divers in the water doing explosive ordnance disposal, maritime security and mine clearance tasks. You will also manage the overall diving function including safety management, working ashore in a headquarters providing advice about diving capabilities, and commanding a dive team. As an MCDO, you will initially be in charge of a team of up to 10 personnel, and you will be responsible for their continued training, well being, career progression, and the maintenance of dive equipment.

As your career progresses, you will move into command positions, commanding combined detachments of up to 50 personnel overseas on operations and exercises. MCDOs are the Navy's experts in clearance diving, mine counter measures, under water engineering, explosive ordnance disposal and improvised explosive device disposal.

An MCDO is a specialisation of the Warfare Officer role. You will gain the knowledge and opportunities that come with the Warfare Officer role and can also become part of the command team for the RNZN’s Diving Support Vessel or the soon to be commissioned Littoral Operations Ship.

The role of an MCDO is demanding physically and mentally. An MCDO needs to be fit and be able to work in extremely testing conditions. Once you are qualified as an MCDO you can expect various postings: to the Clearance Diving Group, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron, operational deployments to Coalition-led missions, and at sea on the RNZN's Diving Support Vessel as you progress through your career

While on base, you will be posted to the Clearance Diving Group as a Team Leader. You will have an important part to play in the planning of future operations and exercises. Your experience and professional ability will be tested as many other Defence Force organisations will come to you for diving assistance and expert advice. Likewise, you will need to assist your team who have equipment issues or organisational matters to resolve. In addition, you can expect to carry out weekly diving to maintain underwater skills, conduct morning physical training as a unit and complete reports, planning and projects.

As an MCDO, you will be in charge of a team of up to 10 personnel, and you will be responsible for their continued training, well being, career progression, and the maintenance of dive equipment.

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.

  • 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 NCEA level 2, including 12 credits in Level 2 English.

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.

After completing your Joint Officer Intake 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.