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Port Inspection Diver

Non-Commissioned Member | Part Time

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As a member of the military, Port Inspection Divers use compressed air breathing apparatus (CABA) to perform various underwater searches, surveys and inspections, primarily for the purpose of port security. Port security is one aspect of Maritime Coastal Operations conducted to ensure the maritime security of the nation. Port Inspection Divers often work in conjunction with naval port security teams to provide underwater skill sets in support of the sovereignty and safety of Canada’s numerous ports, harbours and waterways, and may also be deployed outside Canada for operations or exercises.

Port Inspection Divers have the following responsibilities:

  • Underwater searches and harbour/sea bottom surveys
  • Inspections of jetties and ships' hulls
  • Identification of surface and underwater explosive devices
  • Participating in mine counter measure (MCM) operations
  • Performing underwater search and recovery operations
  • Performing underwater photography
  • Recognizing diving or pressure-related illnesses
  • Providing assistance to civil authorities when required during domestic operations

Port Inspection Divers must also carry out several tasks in support of diving activities such as driving inflatable boats and specialized dive vehicles, preparing dive sites, maintaining dive-related equipment and conducting general and diving-related administration including forward logistics for operations.

Work environment

Port Inspection Divers experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with working in a marine environment.  The work is physically and mentally demanding, and often involves diving in restricted visibility or confined areas and hazardous situations.

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.

Related Civilian Occupations

  • No directly related civilian jobs


The first stage of training is the Basic Military Naval Qualification (BMNQ) course, or Basic Training, which will span most the member’s first year. The course is conducted in three phases; a preliminary training program conducted at a member’s home unit typically during winter/spring months, a second three-week “residential” phase normally held in the summer at Camp Vimy in Valcartier, QC, and a final phase typically held at the home unit during the fall training period. 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, a good portion of the training is physically demanding.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Port Inspection Divers attend one of the Navy’s two Fleet Diving Units located in Halifax, NS or Esquimalt, BC for six weeks of initial dive training to acquire a shallow water (15m) diving qualification that is common to all diving-related occupations/sub-occupations in the Canadian Armed Forces. This is followed by a three-week dive course which involves qualification to a depth of 30m using surface supplied air diving systems to be considered fully-trained and prepared for operational deployments.

Career progression in the Port Inspection Diving occupation involves advanced dive-related training, including:

  • small boat and rigid hulled inflatable boat driving qualifications
  • qualification in explosive device recognition/identification
  • deep diving qualification to 45m
  • dive supervisor qualification to 15m
  • dive supervisor qualification to 45m

Entry plans

The minimum required education to apply for this occupation is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondary 4 in Quebec including Grade 10 Applied Math and any one Physics, Biology or Chemistry course at Gr 10 level or equivalent.


Candidates must demonstrate above-average team work and enjoy learning the principles of human physiology and diving physics. A Port Inspection Diver must be highly dependable, self-motivated, and confident, with a high-degree of self-control and emotional stability. Determination, maturity and responsibility are necessary attributes to diving candidates. Since diving is a physically demanding trade, candidates must be coordinated, manually dexterous, and must always maintain a high level of fitness. Candidates must pass a pressure tolerance test to be eligible to become a Port Inspection Diver.

Foreign education may be accepted.

Part time options

The Port Inspection Diver occupation 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 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 naval reserve division, and apply for opportunities for full-time training and deployments outside of their home division.  They may also volunteer for deployment on military missions within or outside Canada.

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.

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After enrolment, Reserve Force members normally begin training with their home unit to ensure that required basic professional military standards are met.

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