Seeking submariners - a team effort

Published on Mr Andrew Bujdegan (author), POIS Yuri Ramsey (photographer)

Topic(s): Recruitment, HMAS Waller (S75), Defence Force Recruiting

Defence Force Recruiting candidates on the gangway of HMAS Waller at Fleet Base East. (photo: POIS Yuri Ramsey)
Defence Force Recruiting candidates on the gangway of HMAS Waller at Fleet Base East.
During a recent visit to the east coast of the Australian continent, the crew of Collins class submarine, HMAS Waller opened the hatches to shed some light on those who sail the depths.
Over nine days the Submarine Recruiting Team supported Waller’s visits to Sydney and Brisbane and held information sessions at Sydney bases, HMAS Watson, HMAS Waterhen, HMAS Kuttabul and Gallipoli Barracks to bust myths and tempt some current and potential Defence personnel to try the ’silent service’.
Australia has operated submarines since 1914, with HMAS AE2 wreaking havoc in the Dardanelles during the Gallipoli campaign, and have been operating the current diesel-electric Collins class since the early 1990s.
As an expanded submarine fleet will be delivered ready for operations in the early 2030s, getting the right people for the job is important, but hard to achieve when you do most of your work - out of sight, out of mind.
Information Sessions were held to support Defence Force Recruiting staff in Parramatta, Brisbane, Toowoomba and Gold Coast. Collectively conducting tours for over 150 personnel, 30 Australian Submarine Association and Brisbane City Council Members, Waller hosted 20 sea riders for a true behind the scenes experience.
Sub Lieutenant James Blumer was one of the lucky few and said that the experience had turned his assumptions upside down.
“I had nominated for the sea ride for the intention to prove definitely and for absolute certainty that submarines were not for me,” he said.
“The hands-on tour showed me that life in a submarine was not what I had originally thought it to be and I thoroughly enjoyed the small boat feeling.”
With only a crew of about 40, submariners receive comprehensive role-specific training, as well as learning the skills to perform multiple tasks on board. The small team environment relies on everyone to be a professional to get the job done.
Australian submarines have mixed messing, which means both males and females share accommodation on board, an attribute unique to the sub-surface Fleet. The boats are based in Western Australia at Garden Island in Rockingham, south of Perth and deploy around Australia, the region and the globe as required.  Deployments often involve exercises with international partners to better integrate our systems with Australia’s allies.
The sessions enabled the team from Defence Force Recruiting better understand the unique and challenging career path of the service and will help them identify and to better inform future submariners.
If you’d like to try a career in submarines, visit jobs as a submariner for more information.