Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time
Boatswains are the seamanship specialists of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). They are responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of the ship’s rigging, shipboard cargo handling equipment, boats and small craft.
The range of their responsibilities and supervisory duties is wider than in most other seagoing occupations. Their primary responsibilities are to:
The Boatswain is truly “the professional sailor,” experiencing the unique adventures and challenges that come with work at sea, such as open deck surfaces and a rotating shift or watch system. Ashore, Boatswains normally work as instructors training other naval personnel. Junior Boatswains spend time working outside their occupation performing general duties such as cleaning, painting, working in the cafeteria, standing sentry duty, storing the ship, and acting as members of the Naval Boarding Party.
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 occupations in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the CAF physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
Naval recruits attend the Canadian Forces Fleet School in Esquimalt, British Columbia or the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School in Halifax, Nova Scotia for approximately five weeks. Training includes the following topics:
Learn more about Basic Training here.
The next training is specific to the duties of Boatswains. It lasts about 12 weeks. It includes the following topics:
Boatswains may be selected to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
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 position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at a Naval Reserve Division (NRD) in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. Naval Reservists are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can voluntarily transfer from one NRD to another. They may also volunteer for deployment on military missions within or outside Canada.
Reserve Boatswains serve as members of the Royal Canadian Navy. Like their Regular Force counterparts, they are employed as seamanship specialists and are responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of ship’s rigging, shipboard cargo handling equipment, boats in all waters, and small arms. Part-time employment is normally in the Boatswain’s NRD; some part-time training is conducted on weekends at naval schools or in ships afloat. Casual full-time employment in ships and at naval schools is normally available in the summer months.
Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts for work that is common to the two components. Reservists usually begin training in their Naval Reserve Davison to prepare them for the Basic Military Naval Qualification course. Following basic training and naval environmental training, Boatswains complete their occupation qualification at either the Canadian Forces Fleet School in Esquimalt, British Columbia or the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School in Halifax, Nova Scotia for approximately nine weeks.
Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home Naval Reserve Division for scheduled evenings and occasional weekends. They are paid 92.8 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package including a pension plan, and may qualify for reimbursement of civilian education expenses.