Competition winners get a taste of submarine life

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), CPOIS Damian Pawlenko (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base West, WA

Topic(s): Fleet Base West, Submarines (SSG)

Commanding Officer HMAS Rankin, Commander Robin Dainty, RAN (2nd left) stands with members from the Submarine Recruiting Team, staff from Defence Force Recruiting and the 2020 National Submariner Tour and Competition winners with HMAS Rankin and HMAS Sirius in the background at Fleet Base West, WA. (photo: CPOIS Damian Pawlenko)
Commanding Officer HMAS Rankin, Commander Robin Dainty, RAN (2nd left) stands with members from the Submarine Recruiting Team, staff from Defence Force Recruiting and the 2020 National Submariner Tour and Competition winners with HMAS Rankin and HMAS Sirius in the background at Fleet Base West, WA.

A group of young Australians were given the VIP treatment recently when they participated in the National Submarine Competition Tour and Immersion Experience at Fleet Base West.

The competition, which was open to people aged between the ages of 18 and 35, saw more than 1800 Australians compete for the chance to see what it takes to be a submariner.

Commander Cath Hayes from the Submarine Recruitment Team said an enduring and potent submarine capability was a cornerstone of Navy’s national security role.

“This capability is currently provided by Navy’s six Collins Class submarines and the approximately 850 officers and sailors who serve in them,” Commander Hayes said.

“With the introduction of the future Attack Class submarines, this number will need to increase steadily over the coming years.

“Initiatives such as this competition give potential submariners an in-depth look into what submarine life is all about.

“It not only gives them the opportunity to tour a submarine and associated training and support facilities, but also gives them the chance to talk to serving submariners and learn first-hand what life as a submariner is really like.”

Competition winners, who came from every State and Territory in Australia, spent two days at Fleet Base West undertaking various activities and tours, all of which were designed to give them the best possible insight into a naval career.

Brisbane local Bailey Nugent said he had been interested in a naval career for as long as he could remember.

“I’m currently studying engineering at university and it just seems that the Australian Defence Force, and the Navy in particular, is more hands-on and offers greater opportunities than are available in the civilian world,” he said.

“The opportunity to work on a submarine is completely different to anything else that’s on offer.”

Apprentice chef Caitlin Parmiter from Moonta, South Australia said she relished the chance to speak to serving chefs and learn about their experience as a Navy submariner.

“After being a Naval Cadet when I was younger, I’ve always been interested in a career in the Navy, and I’ve already applied to become a chef,” Ms Parmiter said.

“This competition gave me the chance to the get onboard a submarine before I undertake my DFR assessment day so I could see the environment I will be working and living in if I’m successful in my application.

“The tour of the submarine has taken away any doubt I may have had about applying to become a submariner.”

Chantelle O’Donohoe from Redfern, New South Wales works at Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) teaching technology skills to Aboriginal communities.

Ms O’Donohoe said she entered the competition as a way of widening the career choices of IDX students.

“I was already very familiar with the options available in the Air Force and the Army, but I hadn’t actually had the chance to get to know about the Navy,” she said.

“I was really excited to come over here and find out what sort of career opportunities are available for Indigenous people, and then to go back to the communities and make some recommendations.

“The submarine was incredible, I loved it, it was so fascinating.”

As well as participating in a submarine tour, competition winners were also shown around various training facilities located at Fleet Base West including the Submarine Training Systems Centre and the Weapons Training Simulation System.

The group also participated in various team-building and leadership exercises throughout the day.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: https://images.navy.gov.au/S20200663.