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Naval Communicator

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time

In Demand

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As a member of the military, 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:

  • Radio-teletype
  • 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

Work environment

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 ship’s 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 vessel’s 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.

If you chose a career in the Regular Force, upon completion of all required training, you will be assigned to your first base. While there is some flexibility with regards to postings (relocations), accommodations can’t always be made, and therefore, you can likely expect to move at some point in your career. However, if you decide to join the Primary Reserve Force, you will do so through a specific Reserve unit. Outside of training, your chosen Reserve unit will be your workplace on a part time basis, and you will not be obligated to relocate to a different base. As part of the Primary Reserve Force, you typically work one night per week and some weekends as a minimum with possibilities of full-time employment.

Career Overview






I'm sailor first class Catherine Bernard. I'm from White Rock, B.C. and I'm a naval communicator.




Naval communicators or Navy Comms establish and maintain communications on board Canadian warships and submarines to stay in contact with allies at sea, shore units, and family and friends. On the bridge, Nav Comms handle voice circuits with other ships -  advising leaders on tactical signaling and fleet exercises with quick judgment. In the communications control room, they handle all long range radio and satellite communications.




I like to say that the naval communicators are the ears and mouth of the ship. It's very action packed when you're sitting up here on the bridge, because you're going to be the ones talking to all the other ships that are sailing around you. You're going to be making sure that the officer of the watch is staying in his station, making sure that we're not going to be crashing into any of the other ships, making sure everyone knows what's going on around them as well as what's going to be happening.




Computer network administration specialists within the Navcom occupation maintain the administrative and operational networks on ships and on shore. They ensure all services, applications and data on these networks function according to their specifications. Navcoms receive I.T. training to operate networks in live environments and provide desktop support, servers support, network support, hardware support, compliance, and security.




When you're on board ship, Naval Communicator could be considered like your first line responder in the I.T. world. Any time someone has an I.T. problem, we're going to be the first ones to go and assist them. We also help set up everyone's accounts, make sure everyone's e-mails are flowing smoothly. We set up our networks so that everyone can use - and we also set up our voice circuits so that we're able to communicate off the ship.





Being a naval communicator, we work with secret and top secret information as well as unclassified information. But knowing all those secrets that are coming on board, super cool because we're going to be the ones that are being trusted with this information and we're passing it on to a very limited amount of people. So you have to be able to keep those secrets.




Nav Comms also have duties such as Watch Keeper or sentry, line handler on the main deck and ship's hand when entering or leaving port. They take part in search and rescue activities, force protection and mid-ocean replenishment operations. They may also have the opportunity to join the ship's dive team or boarding party.




My favorite part of the job is working up here because the communications control room you're working with about the same 6 to 12 people at a time. Whereas when you're working on the bridge, you're working with your friends, you're working with the officers, you get to know people a lot more. You get to hang out with other sailors on the ship.




I'm also a really big fan of going to the other ports and seeing the world while we're sailing around.


Apart from visiting Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which I think is most sailors, one of their coolest places to go, seeing the history there, my favorite port that I've been to would have to be Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I really enjoyed seeing the Batu Caves Temple and I liked experiencing their culture and how they live over there.


And I really liked the city. At the Batu Caves is monkeys everywhere. They're crawling all over the walls in the temple, it was insane.


 I think working a regular job would be more scary than being in the Navy, because when you're sitting at a desk, you're not really experiencing the world or what the world has to offer you, and in the Navy, for me at least, I find it very valuable. And I think it's a really good use of my time because I get to experience everything and I get paid while I do it.

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Marine Computer Network Administrator
  • Computer Network or Systems Administrator
  • Cryptographer
  • Radio Operator
  • Marine Traffic Controller


The first training that a recruit receives in the military is the 9 week Basic Military Qualification course, or “Basic Training,” held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. Recruits are taught the core skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a military environment. Courses emphasize basic military skills, weapons handling, first aid and ethical values. A large part of the course is spent on fitness training.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Naval Communicators attend the Canadian Forces Fleet School in Esquimalt, British Columbia or Halifax, Nova Scotia, 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

Available Specialty Training includes:

  • Naval Boarding party
  • Basic Submarine Qualification
  • Ship’s team diver
  • Instructional techniques

As a Naval Communicator progresses in their career, those who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training in areas such as:

  • Computer operation 
  • 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

Entry plans

The minimum required education to apply for this occupation is :

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Gr 10 high school, Secondary 4 in Quebec or equivalent secondary school education.

Foreign education may be accepted.

Part time options

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 Reserve Division 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.

Find a Recruiting Centre

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, Québec 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 92.8% of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.