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As a Mine Clearance Diving Officer you will lead a team of divers in the water doing explosive ordnance disposal, maritime security and mine clearance tasks.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Navigation, Combat and Security
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
  • Upcoming Intake
    19 July, 2021
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About the role

As a Mine Clearance Diving Officer (MCDO), you will work both above and under the water. You will lead a team of divers in the water doing explosive ordnance disposal, maritime security and mine clearance tasks. You will also manage the overall diving function including safety management, working ashore in a headquarters providing advice about diving capabilities, and commanding a dive team. As an MCDO, you will initially be in charge of a team of up to 10 personnel, and you will be responsible for their continued training, well being, career progression, and the maintenance of dive equipment.

As your career progresses, you will move into command positions, commanding combined detachments of up to 50 personnel overseas on operations and exercises. MCDOs are the Navy's experts in clearance diving, mine counter measures, under water engineering, explosive ordnance disposal and improvised explosive device disposal.

An MCDO is a specialisation of the Warfare Officer role. You will gain the knowledge and opportunities that come with the Warfare Officer role and can also become part of the command team for the RNZN’s Diving Support Vessel or the soon to be commissioned Littoral Operations Ship.

The role of an MCDO is demanding physically and mentally. An MCDO needs to be fit and be able to work in extremely testing conditions. Once you are qualified as an MCDO you can expect various postings: to the Clearance Diving Group, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron, operational deployments to Coalition-led missions, and at sea on the RNZN's Diving Support Vessel as you progress through your career

Job on base

While on base, you will be posted to the Clearance Diving Group as a Team Leader. You will have an important part to play in the planning of future operations and exercises. Your experience and professional ability will be tested as many other Defence Force organisations will come to you for diving assistance and expert advice. Likewise, you will need to assist your team who have equipment issues or organisational matters to resolve. In addition, you can expect to carry out weekly diving to maintain underwater skills, conduct morning physical training as a unit and complete reports, planning and projects.

As an MCDO, you will be in charge of a team of up to 10 personnel, and you will be responsible for their continued training, well being, career progression, and the maintenance of dive equipment.

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job training

Once trained, you will be skilled in Mine Warfare and mine counter measures, Clearance Diving, Underwater engineering and the disposal of explosive ordnance and improvised explosive devices. You will be employed in New Zealand and overseas as part of the Navy’s Littoral Warfare Force. This will include land and maritime based deployments with partner nations and organisations such as the United Nations and NATO.

Junior Officer Common Training (JOCT)

(24 weeks) Location: Devonport Naval Base

The objective of JOCT is to provide you with the core skills of military, mariner, and leadership to be an effective Officer in the Navy. The course is completed in two phases of training that train key areas of development.

Phase 1 – Introduction

This phase focuses on ‘followership’ and teamwork. Trainees are instructed in basic service knowledge, discipline, parade, and kit preparation. Physical Training will be conducted at all times throughout training to develop a high level of physical and mental fitness that promotes morale, good health, and good habits. This phase will cover various topics including:

  • Physical Fitness       
  • Service Knowledge
  • Service Discipline
  • Introduction to the Leadership Development Framework
  • Damage Control Training
  • Weapons Training
  • First Aid
  • Basic seamanship training
  • Moving to advanced application
Phase 2 – Fit for Sea

The second phase of training will focus on attributes of being in the Navy in preparation for operational service at sea. Trainees will be taught about the roles and responsibilities on board an RNZN ship. Trainees will also spend time ashore conducting academic and leadership training to further develop as a Naval Officer. This phase will cover various topics including:

  • Sea survival
  • Ship familiarisation
  • Leadership training
  • Communications skills
  • Defence and Strategic Studies

After completing Joint Officer Common Training, you’ll begin an intensive and demanding four week Defence Diver Course to learn basic Military Diving (to a maximum depth of 30m) to:

  • Complete diver safety and recovery techniques
  • Complete seabed, wharves and ship’s hull searches
  • Complete shipborne underwater maintenance tasks

On successful completion of the Defence Diver course, you’ll be posted to HMNZS Matataua within the Diving Team to consolidate your basic military diving skills. Following this consolidation period,  you will be posted for advanced specialist Dive training to either the RNZN Dive School or overseas training schools to:

  • Completed Clearance Diving Officer course
  • Complete Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal course
  • Complete Advanced Underwater Explosive Ordnance Disposal course
  • Complete Improvised Explosive Ordnance Disposal Course
  • Complete Mine Warfare Officer Course. 

On completion of these advanced courses, you will be awarded your Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officer (MCDO) Badge and posted back to HMNZS Matataua.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Navy are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.




Starting Salary


Higher Rank

Military factor

All full time members of the NZ Defence Force receive an added portion to their salary known as Military Factor. This additional compensation recognises the unique nature of military service and the commitment you make to serve your country. This can include short notice postings around the country and overseas. You will be directed at times to be continuously alert, undertake arduous and hazardous duties, and be exposed to adverse working environments exclusive to military life. This also includes the exercise of military skills not recognised by market comparisons. The part you play in our Defence Force and your commitment to our country will be financially rewarded.

Free medical and dental

5 weeks annual leave

Access to additional compensation and housing allowances

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Defence discounts at selected stores and services

Entry requirements



Fitness and medical


Period of Service

Be a minimum of 17 years of age.

You must have achieved NCEA level 2, including 12 credits in Level 2 English.

You must be medically fit for service. Colour perception restrictions may apply. Navy Diver Recruitment Fitness Testing: minimum MSFT standard for Diver is Level 9.5 on the beep test, 30 press ups and 30 sit ups.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required CV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

There may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.


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