Recruit Training in the Naval Service is 18 weeks in duration. During this initial period of training the recruit is based in the Naval College on the Naval Base. This is a robust and intense period of training aimed at training new entrants to the Naval Service in all the basic skills, Naval and Military that will be required of them prior to proceeding on to their branch specialisation.
In Recruit Training the new entrant will undergo aspects of training including: Foot and Arms Drill, Weapons and Tactical Training, Physical Training and a number of skills courses required for personnel serving at sea including Damage Control & Fire Fighting (DCFF), Personal Survival Techniques (PST) and First Aid
On completion of Recruit Training the new entrant qualifies as an Ordinary Seaman and is assigned to one of four branches:
Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) Career Training
On the progression up through the various ranks, an Able Rate will have to complete a number of career courses to provide them with training to develop their skills in a number of area e.g. Leadership and Management, Administration and Naval/Military Skills.
The first of these courses is the Naval Service Potential NCO Course. This is the career course that gives the Able Rate the foundation of knowledge in order to prepare them to be junior leaders in the Naval Service. The Potential NCO is trained in a number of areas including: Instruction Methods, Leadership and Personnel Management. On successfully completing the course the Potential NCO is qualified to fill the rank of Leading Rate in their respective branch. On completion of the Naval Service Potential NCO Course the successful candidate may also be eligible to be awarded a Higher Certificate in Leadership, Management and Naval Studies in partnership with Cork Institute of Technology.
The next career course that must be completed is the Naval Service Standard NCO Course. This course qualifies personnel of Leading Rate to fill the rank of Petty Officer (and Senior Petty Officer in the Logistics Branch). The course updates the skills attained on the Potential NCO Course and also introduces the Leading rate to more advanced Theory and Skills to equip them to fulfil the role of a Petty Officer both afloat and ashore. The candidates on Naval Service Standard NCO may at this stage embark on a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership, Management and Naval Studies, which will be completed on their final career course, the Naval Service Senior NCO Course.
The final career course undertaken by an NCO in the Naval Service is the Naval Service Senior NCO Course. This course qualifies successful candidates of Petty officer (or Senior Petty Officer) rank to fill the rank of Chief Petty Officer upwards. This course aims to develop the candidates existing knowledge and focuses on the skills the NCO will require going forward in their career, such as Human Resources Management, Training Management. The successful candidate may also complete and graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership, Management and Naval Studies in partnership with Cork Institute of Technology.
Communication training is designed to educate and train the O/Seaman into a Communication Operator (ComOp) for duties onboard ship and ashore in the Naval Base Communications Centre (Comcen). The initial training period consists of 16 weeks of classroom activities including radio principles theory and practical operation of the various types of equipment. Naval Service ships have modern state of the art communications equipment, with a global reach, including Satellite (Satcoms), Tactical VHF, MF and HF and marine VHF. They will also learn how to communicate using Morse Code and visually by means of naval flags and signalling lamp.
As part of their training they must learn how frequencies work and how each item of equipment operates. This will be done using experienced and dedicated training staff that assists the student in a controlled environment in stage by stage training. To assist the Naval College has simulators which allow for progressive training building up to full scale exercises. This type of training allows the student to build on their confidence in operating the equipment before moving onto the next stage.
On completion of a period at sea and having successfully reached the required standard in their task book, O/Comops will return to the Naval College for further training on a 6 week advancement course. This course tests the student on what they have learned at sea but involves learning about the various duties they would have to perform in the Comcen. Importantly during this period successful students will be presented with a General Operator GMDSS certificate, having completed an intense three week course. This civilian certificate is recognised worldwide in the maritime industry as the standard for radio operators and focuses on Search and Rescue (SAR) communications techniques and procedures.
At a later stage A/Comops will return to the Naval College and undergo their first professional course before selection for promotion to Leading Comop. This four week course prepares the student in various aspects of junior management specific to their own area of expertise. Some of the subjects included on this course include Comcen procedures, method of instruction and internal security including cipher operation. On completion, students will be ready for selection for a career promotion course.
The last professional course during a Comops training will be a Leading Comop to Petty Officer Course. This course is designed to prepare the student for selection for middle management. The seven week long training period is geared towards management and enhancing the learners knowledge using their experience combined with new procedures and training doctrine. This course introduces the student to inter-agency radio procedures in the maritime domain and includes scenario based training. It also covers the Naval Service role in naval Partnership for Peace (PfP) exercises and the different procedures that exercising units may use and the importance of Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA).
The Naval School of Seamanship carries out career and acquaint training in all aspects of seamanship including upper deck safety and operations, replenishment at sea, and lifesaving equipment. Students are taught procedures for replenishing a ship with stores at sea, berthing and un-berthing a ship and recovery of a man overboard. They also learn basic knots, bends and hitches, how to recognise and wear safety and survival equipment and learn basic seamanship terminology. Further seamanship training, both theoretical and practical, is given to Operations Branch trainees to build upon their basic safety training.
The Seamanship Training School is the home of all seamanship training for the seamanship. Training is also carried out for all Junior Officers and Ratings about to join their first seagoing appointment, personnel can complete Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) and Certificate of Proficiency in Survival Craft (CPSC)
The Seamanship Training Staff also provides coxswain and crew training in all Naval Service Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB). Students can complete all levels of Irish Sailing Association certification.
Personal Survival Techniques
Personal Survival Technique (PST) training involves a one day course with international recognition. Training is carried out in a 20 metre environmental pool, in the NMCI, which can replicate storm conditions at sea.
RIGID HULL INFLATABLE BOAT (RHIB) Capsize training is given to personnel who travel or carry out operations in Defence Forces small boats instructing personnel the actions to be carried out in the event of a boat turning over at sea.
RIGID INFLATABLE BOAT (RHIB) training is given to personnel who carry out operations in Defence Forces small boats. The training is recognised internationally through the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) and covers all aspects of navigation, location finding, Future Location Prediction, route planning, collision avoidance and Search & Rescue (SAR) Techniques.
HELICOPTER UNDERWATER EGRESS TRAINING (HUET) is supplied to all members of the Defence Forces who carry out operations above water, giving them the internationally recognised training to escape from different types of aircraft in the event of the aircraft having to make an emergency landing in the sea.
PERSONNEL SAFETY and SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES (PSSR) is an STCW 95 Course provided by the Naval Service to new entrants providing them with a basic introduction to ships safety, including; Basic Health and Safety, movement aboard ship, basic fire safety, manual handling, interaction with other personnel in a confined environment and personal responsibilities onboard ship.