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
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.
The starting salary for a fully-trained Naval Communicator is $49,400 per year; however, depending on your previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Naval Communicators are posted to their first ship stationed either in Halifax, Nova Scotia, or Esquimalt, British Columbia.
Naval Communicators usually serve at sea until they reach the rank of Leading Seaman. They then divide their time between jobs at sea and ashore in radio stations, fleet training schools, and in various staff positions at Headquarters and Naval Reserve Divisions throughout Canada. Opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training are available for those who demonstrate ability and potential.
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 trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
Naval recruits attend the Canadian Forces Fleet School either in Esquimalt, British Columbia, or Halifax, Nova Scotia, for approximately five weeks. Training includes the following topics:
- Naval history and organization
- Shipboard firefighting and damage control
- Shipboard Safety
- Watchkeeping duties
- 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
Naval Communicators may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
- Maritime Semi-automatic Exchange Basic Operator
- Military Aeronautical Communications
- Naval Boarding Party
- Basic Submarine Qualification
- Ship’s Team Diver
- Instructional Techniques
- Ship’s Coxswain
As they progress in their career, Naval Communicators who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- Computer Operation (message handling)
- 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
This position is available for part-time employment through the Reserves. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit in their community. 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.
Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required in order to specialize skills, arrangements will be made by the home unit.
Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.