I have always admired and been curious about why people choose to join the navy.

I know there are great benefits that come with the job - like training, allowances and great pay.

But, I have always wondered what their lives might be like day to day. How many times do service people get deployed or what do they do in their free time? 

 So, I decided to do some research and find out.

So what’s life like in the navy?

If recruits pass all the tests and physical training, they are assigned to a ship. But that doesn’t mean they will be deployed to sea right away.

Navy personnel could spend a few months in their home port before they are deployed. Or, do one day at sea and be back in port by dinner. It all depends on the job and the ship they are posted to.

Life ashore

Ashore is a pretty standard 8 hour day. There is plenty of free time to catch up with family, friends or explore home base.

Navy personnel also choose to live on base, in separate funded navy accommodation or in their own homes.

Life at sea

At sea, standard work hours are broken up into 6-hour work shifts called watches. During watches, navy personnel perform many tasks like operating equipment and other assigned duties, which allows them to learn a variety of skills on the job.

It’s hard work, but there is also downtime to watch movies, catch up with mates or work out in the gym.

Travelling the world is one of the biggest perks of working in the navy. On deployment navy personnel get the chance to explore new places and engage with different communities around the world.

Navy officer


Navy employees enjoy many benefits, like the opportunity to travel, rewarding work and a great salary.

Health is very important and that’s why all employees get free healthcare services, access to sports clubs and gyms.

The job can be physically demanding and it’s important that navy personnel stay in ship shape.

But, that’s not all. Other benefits include:

  • 4-6 weeks annual leave
  • up to 52 weeks of maternity leave
  • long service leave
  • help with housing
  • maritime allowance
  • uniform allowance
  • access to Defence Assisted Study Scheme
Sporty couple giving high five to each other at gym

How to enter the navy

There are a few ways to enter the navy. The training will be different depending on which route you choose to go.

Here are a couple of options:

  • General entry is for those who don’t have any experience or qualifications. For these types of jobs, you will receive training, be paid while you work and earn a qualification.
  • General officer entry is for those who want to be trained as a leader and learn management and mentoring skill to command a team. You don’t need a degree, but you will need to meet the education requirements for these types of jobs
  • Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) is for those who want to study a degree and start a career as a Navy Officer. You can enter via the ADFA and be paid while you study and then go on to enter the navy in your chosen field.

There are loads of career paths and jobs on offer like aviation, communication, administration, engineering and the list goes on!


How to join 

There are a few requirements if you’re thinking about joining. But if you’re an Australian citizen and have completed your year 10 certificate, then there’s a good chance that you can join

The Australian Defence Force is looking for results oriented, problem solvers to join its team of highly skilled technical professionals.

Set yourself up for the future with world class training opportunities, be paid to develop vocational and life skills and work on sophisticated equipment in varied environments, where no day is the same as the last.

With over 200 roles on offer in the ADF, there is a career option to suit people with broad ranging backgrounds, skill levels, expertise and interest.

After reading this blog you might decide that you want to find out more. I recommend you head over to the defence jobs website and start exploring your options to make sure that it’s the right fit for you.  

Best of luck!

Images: Department of Defence, iStock

Author: Clarissa @ jobactive