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March 28, 2013
THE small-boat coxswain course
(SBCC) has been redeveloped in
order to upskill sailors while max-
imising training opportunities and
The new course is delivered
using separate modules, which
ensures sailors are trained to operate
the small boat specific to their unit.
Seamanship Training Officer,
LEUT Ford Davis said trainees
undertaking small-boat training now
complete two common modules.
“The capsize self-righting course
and SBCC (navigation and ceremo-
ny) are followed by an operations
and equipment module specific
to one of the three types of small
boats,” he said.
“By modularising the course it
allows sailors to be upskilled on
other hull types without having to
redo common small-boat units.”
The SBCC was redeveloped
after an internal training review of
“The review identified that the
jet RHIB had superseded the leg
RHIB as Navy’s primary small
boat, although training across mul-
tiple hulls was still required,” LEUT
The review also identified train-
ing deficiencies in fixed small-boat
digital chart plotters. Trainees are
instructed on the interpretation of
paper charts, however, navigation
planning and practical training uti-
lises digital chart plotters.
“With Hanns Inlet now being
a lit channel for the first time in
HMAS Cerberus’ history, trainees’
final assessment is a night naviga-
tion exercise utilising the boat’s dig-
ital chart plotter with the exercise
WITH more than 500 years combined
experience between its 69 personnel,
Sea Training Group (STG) is well
equipped to ensure Navy is a mission-
ready force capable of fighting and win-
ning at sea.
This year, STG will assess the work-
up programs of more than two dozen
major fleet units, minor war vessels
and submarines as well as mine warfare
Captain Sea Training CAPT Heath
Robertson said the evaluations could be
a daunting prospect for young sailors
posted to sea for the first time, but the
confidence-building measures employed
by STG’s highly experienced mentors
made learning easier and less stressful.
STG personnel will sea-ride with
Fleet units and vessels to assess work-
up milestones, mentor crew and help
sailors expand their knowledge.
“We are sailors too, and it is our job
when we come on board to mentor sail-
ors and to share best practices,” CAPT
He said STG ensured knowledge and
learning was shared among the Fleet.
“Experience levels need to improve
so it is important that the corporate
knowledge over many years is shared
and the best practices of all the ships,
and the hard lessons that we’ve won and
learnt are shared between everybody,”
Sharing skills and knowledge is
essential because, generally, a ship’s
company will have changed in the lead
up to a work-up.
“Mariner skills evaluation is often
the first time new sailors have been to
sea, which means that STG takes on
a supervisory role to ensure the crew
is ready to do its job in making the
ship safe to proceed to sea,” CAPT
“It may come as a surprise to some
junior sailors that they are expected to
do more than their category specialisa-
tion in getting their ship through the
evaluation and other milestones.”
He said the Fleet units and ships that
performed best during assessment peri-
ods had a strong learning culture.
“Sailors need to be able to share
knowledge and experience with other
crew members, otherwise STG must
keep repeating those lessons until every-
one has learnt it,” he said.
Sailors also benefit from lessons
learnt on deployment.
Commander STG-MFU CAPT Mick
Harris used his experience as CO HMAS
Melbourne during her Operation Slipper
deployment to make exercise serials
more realistic and relevant for sailors.
“I brought back some experiences
from the MEAO to change the types of
serials and the way we progress a mis-
sion readiness work-up to make it more
realistic and applicable to what can and
does happen there,” he said.
CAPT Harris said mission-readiness
evaluations were now a three-day activity
to include realistic situations such as peri-
ods of boredom and then intense activity
where sailors might have to board 20 ves-
sels in the space of a couple of hours.
“It’s those types of things that make
the training more relevant to what we
do in the MEAO, which means that the
way that we train is the way we fight,”
CAPT Harris said junior sailors
should look at STG members as mentors
and not critics.
“STG personnel will help to make
you a better sailor and crew member
because we want you to do it right in the
real world when it counts most,” he said.
LEUT Daryl Peebles
TWENTY new Vocational
Education and Training (VET)
trainees were inducted into the
ADF-focused Certificate 1 Defence
Force Cadets course in Hobart on
The new trainees are all students
from Claremont College, which has
been conducting the program for
The nationally recognised and
accredited training course is the
only one of its kind in Australia.
Claremont College’s VET teach-
er Patrick Sullivan said the course
ran for a year and formed 25 per
cent of the students’ full-time col-
“The VET ADF course is
designed to allow students to find
out more about a career in the
Defence Force and also the emer-
gency services,” Mr Sullivan said.
“The course has strong links
with Defence Force Recruiting and,
of course, our sponsors through
Navy Headquarters Tasmania.”
CO Navy HQ Tasmania CMDR
Stacey Porter welcomed the trainees
and said the program was an innova-
tive and exciting partnership that
provided many positive benefits and
opportunities for the students.
“Importantly, it gives them an
insight into life in the services and
a pathway into the ADF as a career
choice,” CMDR Porter said.
“A significant percentage of pre-
vious students participating in the
course have gone on to enlist in one
of the three services.
“In fact, although Tasmania has
only 2 per cent of the nation’s popula-
tion, this state provides about 8 per
cent of Navy’s recruit intake.”
CODE of conduct posters for
instructors and trainees have been
released to training authorities
The posters present the code’s
14 principles in a clear and inno-
The new code was introduced
at the end of 2012 to address the
need for the Navy values and
signature behaviours to be elabo-
rated and translated into operat-
COMTRAIN CDRE Michael
Noonan said the establishment
of a clear set of principles would
guide trainees and instructors to
make more informed decisions.
“The training force code of
conduct establishes a standard
by which instructors and trainees
are to conduct themselves towards
others in the performance of their
professional duties,” he said.
“We work in an organisation
that continually presents ethical
challenges in our decision-making
process, so these principles aim
to protect us from inappropri-
ate and unacceptable behaviour
and hold us to the highest ethical
Cadets train for the future
INSIGHT: CMDR Stacey Porter
addresses students and guests
at the induction.
Training authority’s new code of conduct
Sharing skills and
culminating in coming alongside a
moving vessel,” LEUT Davis said.
All trainees are now issued with
the Small Boat Coxswain Aide
Memoir, which collates all small
boat references into one pictorial
guide, and a new small-boat cox-
swain briefing card.
LEUT Davis said a new log book
was also in circulation.
“The updated log book allows for
extra ephemeral data to be recorded
on each boat evolution and the log
book has been included in all depart-
mental audits,” he said.
The log books are issued to train-
ees and are available to existing
small-boat coxswains upon request.
Navy video unit is developing an
audio visual training aid, which will
be used in initial and Fleet consoli-
datoin small-boat training.
Additionally, a Maritime Warfare
3D animation team has recreated
recent small boat incidents, which
will be included in the training aid.
This DVD is expected to be
released by April.
For more information contact LEUT Ford
Davis on (03) 5931 5128 or ford.davis@
NEW DELIVERY: The new course will upskill sailors and save time.
Photo: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez
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