Maritime Surface and Sub-surface Officer
What They Do
Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officers manage and direct the maritime strategy, tactics and procedures in the operation of ships, submarines and aircraft, maritime sensors, combat information and weapons systems.
Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officers are the only officers who can have Command of the Navy’s ships and submarines. Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officers also provide input into the design, procurement and evaluation of ships or systems and perform staff, training and administrative duties. Their primary responsibilities are to:
- Command, coordinate and control Military Maritime Operations
- Lead and make decisions that will affect the general conduct of operations and ship’s crew security
- Provide expertise in a wide range of activities relating to the exercise of sea power
- Direct and conduct strategies, tactics and procedures in the operation of ships, submarines, aircraft, maritime sensors, combat information and weapons systems
- Provide input into the design, procurement and evaluation of ships or systems
- Perform staff, training and administrative duties
Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officers have two distinct working environments: at sea and ashore. As with all seagoing personnel, Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officers experience the unique challenges and adventures that come with work at sea. When ashore, Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officers work a standard workday in an office environment.
The starting salary for a fully-trained Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officer is $51,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Regular promotions through the junior officer ranks take place based on the completion of required training and on the length of service as an officer. Once promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (Navy) their salary is approximately $74,000 per year.
Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officers start out in the Navy as Commanding Officers’ representatives, responsible for the safety and control of the navigation and operations of ships from the bridge as Officer of the Watch. Once qualified as Officer of the Watch, Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officers are normally promoted and proceed on specialty training to return to the fleet and employ their newly gained knowledge and skills. After specialization, Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officers may train further to qualify for the Combat Department Head in a submarine, frigate or destroyer, responsible for all the ship’s weapons, sensors and operations. With staff experience ashore and Command Qualification, they may be promoted and become an Executive Officer, the second in Command of a submarine or ship, and subsequently promoted again to become the Captain in command of a vessel at sea.
Related Civilian Occupations
- Mate, Master or Captain of merchant ships
- Mate, Master or Captain of Coast Guard vessels
- Mate, Master or Captain of passenger liners
Basic Military Officer Qualification
After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 15 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Forces, basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.
Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete depending on your ability in your second language.
Maritime Surface and Sub-surface Officers attend the Naval Officer Training Centre in Esquimalt, British Columbia, for 12 months training for their specific responsibilities. The training consists of classroom instruction, simulators, and ships at sea, in order to gain expertise and hands-on experience in navigation, bridgemanship, communications, relative motion, ship safety, emergency procedures and rules of seamanship.
Upon successful completion of this formal training, you will be posted to your first operational ship where, in approximately 24 months, you will complete at-sea requirements and on-the-job training leading to a Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate and Naval Officer Professional Qualification. You will also complete the Naval Operations Course in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is designed to train you in various shipboard operations and tactics, such as communications, helicopter operations and procedures, military law, and general naval knowledge.
After six months of practical application of your professional training, you will specialize for four to six months in any of the following areas:
- Ship navigation
- Above or under-water weapons direction
- Control and direction of helicopter operations; or
- Management of information and communication systems.
If you already have a university degree, the Forces will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.
Regular Officer Training Plan
Because this position requires a university degree, the Forces will pay successful recruits to complete a Bachelor degree program at a Canadian university. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full-pay in exchange for working with the Forces for a period of time. Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In some instances, the Forces is able to pay for Officer Cadets to attend other Canadian universities in a relevant degree program. Officer Cadets who attend other Canadian universities typically attend university during the regular academic year and participate in additional military training during the summer months. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the Forces and the Canadian university of your choice. For more information, click on Paid University.
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.
Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officers serve with the Royal Canadian Navy. They are employed to lead and direct the operation of ships and patrol vessels and their associated systems. They may also advise on the design, procurement and evaluation of ships or systems and perform staff, training and administrative duties. When they are employed part-time they usually serve in a Naval Reserve Division in their home city, and while on casual full-time basis they usually serve in a Royal Canadian Navy home port location within Canada.
Reserve Force Training
Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic officer training, Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officers attend the Naval Officer Training Centre in Esquimalt, British Columbia, for 12 months of training for their specific responsibilities.
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% of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.
Find a unit in your area and start the application process for part-time employment now.