Naval Communicators establish and manage all external voice, radio-teletype and data circuits, and provide real-time tactical information in support of operations.
Naval Communicators establish and maintain communications with national and allied networks over radio frequencies required for mission coordination, using tactical line-of-sight, long-range and satellite communications. It is also their responsibility to advise Command on tactical signaling and ship maneuvering, encoding/decoding of signals and dissemination of tactical and maneuvering signals. Their primary duties include:
- Computer networking
- Satellite, tactical voice and visual communications
- Classified and unclassified computer networks
- Computer-based message processing network
- Radio communication control systems
- Cryptographic and satellite equipment in support of high speed data and imagery exchanges
While on board ships, Naval Communicators experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with work at sea, such as rough waters and shift-work. They work primarily in the Communications Control Room, Operations Room, on the bridge and the flag deck.
As with all sea-going personnel, Naval Communicators work with their fellow shipmates in out-of-occupation duties such as watchkeeper or sentry, act as a line handler for replenishment at sea, and as a ship-hand for entering and leaving harbour. They participate in Search and Rescue events and man-overboard emergencies, act as a member of the ships emergency response team for security watches, and routinely perform ship maintenance and repairs. If necessary, a Naval Communicator may serve as a member of the Naval Boarding Party in order to inspect the cargo of suspect vessels and detain the vessels crew during inspections.
When employed ashore, Naval Communicators work in office-like conditions in a high-security environment, typically a restricted-access communications facility. They may work in a wider variety of duties such as providing communications support to ships and shore establishments, performing duties to assist in the communications flow in Naval Radio Stations, or employed as instructors in Recruit, Leadership or Communication Schools.
Pay and career development
The starting salary for a fully trained Naval Communicator is $49,400 per year; however, depending on your previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Naval Communicators are posted to their first ship stationed either in Halifax, Nova Scotia, or Esquimalt, British Columbia.
Naval Communicators usually serve at sea until they reach the rank of Leading Seaman. They then divide their time between jobs at sea and ashore in radio stations, fleet training schools, and in various staff positions at Headquarters and Naval Reserve Divisions throughout Canada. Opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training are available for those who demonstrate ability and potential.
Related civilian occupations
- Computer Network or Systems Administrator
- Radio Operator
- Marine Traffic Controller
Basic military qualification
The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
Naval environmental training
Naval recruits attend the Canadian Forces Fleet School either in Esquimalt, British Columbia, or Halifax, Nova Scotia, for approximately five weeks. Training includes the following topics:
- Naval history and organization
- Shipboard firefighting and damage control
- Shipboard Safety
- Watchkeeping duties
Basic occupational qualification training
Naval Communicators attend the Canadian Forces Fleet School in Esquimalt, British Columbia, for approximately 29 weeks. Training includes:
- Communications security
- Information Systems Security
- Basic communication procedures, such as:
- Basic radio theory and computer skills
- A Plus and Network Plus Curriculum
- Keyboarding and Message processing
- Frequency Management
- Operating Radio Communication Equipment
- Fleet Maneuvering
Naval Communicators may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
- Maritime semi-automatic exchange basic operator
- Military aeronautical communications
- Naval boarding party
- Basic submarine qualification
- Ships team diver
- Instructional techniques
- Ships coxswain
As they progress in their career, Naval Communicators who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- Computer operation (message handling)
- Local area network administrator
- Advanced cryptography
- Communications policy directive planning and implementation
- Tactical communication plan preparation and execution
- Communications security
- Information systems security
- Frequency management
- Advanced fleet tactical manoeuvring
- Leadership and management courses
The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.
This occupation is available part-time within the following environment: Navy
Serve with the Reserve Force
This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at an Air Force Wing in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Naval Communicators serve with the Royal Canadian Navy both full and part time at sea in ships, ashore in Naval Reserve Divisions, at Fleet Schools and Training Establishments both as students and instructors. Spread among 24 Naval Reserve Divisions and the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, Naval Communicators have a presence in every major city in Canada. On the job, they work in a dynamic and fast paced environment managing the communications that enter and leave the ship. Trusted with sensitive and classified information, Naval Communicators are experts in procedural security. They exercise their expertise with computers, part of local and wide area networks, radio-teletype and voice circuits. Naval Communicators are also the tactical signaling experts in the Royal Canadian Navy. Throughout their development, Naval Communicators are exposed to, interact with and advise Command on this expertise.
Reserve Force training
Naval Communicators in the Reserve Force train alongside their Regular Force counterparts to what could be compared to the journeyman level of competence. Training is modularized and delivered on a schedule that is conducive to limited periods of availability. All training is paid whether it is done at home, at the local Naval Reserve Division, or in other locations across the country such as Victoria, Qubec and Halifax. Naval Communicators undergo the Basic Military Qualification (Basic Training), usually the first summer after joining a Naval Reserve Division. During that same summer, they undergo environmental training as well. This training exposes the student to life at sea aboard a ship and includes things like Naval Firefighting, Damage Control, and shipboard ceremonies to name a few. From there, the student begins Naval Communicator training by Web-based and distance learning followed by a residential phase of 29 weeks the following summer in Victoria, British Columbia.
Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.