DAOD 5003-7, Service in Submarines

Table of Contents

  1. Identification
  2. Overview
  3. Operating Principles
  4. Selection and Qualification
  5. Responsibilities
  6. References

1. Identification

Date of Issue: 2002-12-06

Application: This is an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).


Approval Authority: This DAOD is issued under the authority of the Directorate of Maritime Personnel (D Mar Pers).


2. Overview


2.1 There is an ongoing requirement for CAF members to serve in submarines. The submarine service offers a challenge to CAF members who wish to experience a lifestyle which is adventurous, demanding and responsible. However, living and working conditions on board a submarine are less comfortable than those on board surface ships, and each member of a submarine crew is required to perform many out-of-occupation duties associated with operational requirements in addition to normal military occupation duties.

2.2 It is desirable that submarines be crewed by those who choose to serve in them. However, to maintain a viable submarine force it will sometimes be necessary to post non-volunteers of certain military occupations to duty in submarines. A posting to a submarine is regarded as a normal sea posting.

3. Operating Principles

Eligible Occupations

3.1 CAF members of the following military occupations are eligible for submarine duty:

  1. Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface (MARS 71B, 71C, 71D);
  2. Maritime Engineer (Marine Systems) (MARE MS 44B);
  3. Maritime Engineer (Combat Systems) (MARE CS 44C);
  4. Naval Weapons Technician (NW Tech 065);
  5. Naval Combat Information Operator (NCI Op 275);
  6. Naval Communicator (Nav Comm 277);
  7. Tactical Acoustic Sensor Operator (TAS Op 278);
  8. Naval Electronics Technician (Acoustic) (NE Tech (A) 283);
  9. Naval Electronics Technician (Communications) (NE Tech (C) 284);
  10. Naval Electronics Technician (Tactical) (NE Tech (T) 285);
  11. Naval Electronics Technician (Manager) (NE Tech (M) 286), only with prior submarine experience as NE Tech (A) 283, NE Tech (C) 284 or NE Tech (T) 285;
  12. Maritime Engineering Mechanic (Mar Eng Mech 312);
  13. Maritime Engineering Technician (Mar Eng Tech 313);
  14. Maritime Engineering Artificer (Mar Eng Art 314);
  15. Electrical Technician (E Tech 331);
  16. Marine Electrician (Mar El 332);
  17. Medical Assistant (Med A 711);
  18. Cook 861; and
  19. Steward (Stwd 862).

Crewing Priorities

3.2 Submarine vacancies are to be filled by VICTORIA class-qualified submariners, normally in the following order of priority:

  1. volunteers; and
  2. non-volunteers including:
    1. submarine qualified personnel who have served two or more years ashore; and
    2. personnel with no previous submarine service.

3.3 Selection within these two groupings is based on CAF requirements, such as increasing the available pool of qualified personnel, or returning key experience and expertise for specific positions on board a submarine.

Conditions of Service

3.4 The length of tour in a submarine is comparable to that in a surface ship.

3.5 Submarine duty allowances are paid in recognition of the unique environmental conditions while serving on board a submarine.

3.6 Qualified submariners who do not wish further submarine postings may submit a request in writing to their commanding officer (CO) that they no longer wish to be considered for submarine duty. However, they remain liable for further submarine duty like other non-volunteers when CAF requirements dictate. The CO shall send the request through the chain of command to DGMC.

Top of Page

4. Selection and Qualification

Eligibility Requirements

4.1 To be accepted for submarine duty, a CAF member must:

  1. have a minimum English language profile of BAB;
  2. be medically and dentally fit to the standard set out in A-MD-154-000/FP-000, Medical Standards for the Canadian Forces;
  3. except for those on a basic engagement, have at least three years remaining in their current term of service at the time of commencing submarine duty;
  4. pass a pressure tolerance test; and
  5. have the applicable qualification as set out below:
Military Occupation Qualification Notes

MARS 71B, 71C, 71D

  • certificate of competency level 2
  • naval operations course

Preference will be given to those with Director qualifications.


Head of Department

NE Tech (M) 286

qualification level (QL) 6B

Med A 711

Mar Eng Art 314

QL 6 and Certificate 3

NW Tech 065

QL 5

NCI Op 275

TAS Op 278

Nav Comm 277

Steward 862

E Tech 331

Mar Eng Tech 313

NE Tech (A) 283
NE Tech (C) 284
NE Tech (T) 285

QL 5 Academics

Cook 861

QL 5 Junior Leaders Course

Mar Eng Mech 312

QL 3

Mar El 332

Method of Selection

4.2 Eligible CAF members who wish to serve in submarines may make this known to their CO at any time.

4.3 Career managers compile lists of CAF members who wish to serve in submarines and process an application when the eligibility requirements are met by a CAF member. Should there be insufficient CAF members willing to serve in submarines to fill the vacancies, DGMC selects other eligible CAF members in accordance with instructions issued by or on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS).

4.4 Facilities for pressure tolerance testing are located only at the fleet diving units (FDUs) at Halifax and Esquimalt, and at the Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine (DCIEM). Testing is arranged at the nearest location by the unit of the CAF member.


4.5 Non-commissioned members (NCMs) not previously qualified are required to attend the naval environment training program at the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School at Halifax, prior to commencing basic submarine training.

4.6 The three-month basic submarine course is loaded by Director Maritime Training and Education (DMTE) and conducted at the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School Halifax for both officers and NCMs. On completion of basic training, CAF members follow a training profile designed for each particular military occupation. Total training time, including basic and military occupation specific training, may be five to fourteen months in duration. Candidates are attach-posted or posted depending on the military occupation, duration of training and other factors determined by the career manager. Upon successful completion of training, the prospective submariner will join a submarine for on-job training.

4.7 A CAF member trained and qualified by a foreign navy may submit a request to their CO to have the qualification considered equivalent to CAF standards. The CO shall send the request through the chain of command to D Mar Pers.

4.8 A CAF member who has successfully completed the on-board qualification in submarines is:

  1. awarded the submarine badge; and
  2. entitled to wear the badge for the remainder of the CAF career.

5. Responsibilities

Responsibility Table

5.1 The following table identifies the responsibilities for the administration of service in submarines.

The ... is/are responsible for ...


  • compiling lists of CAF members who wish to serve in submarines; and
  • if there are insufficient volunteers to fill vacancies, selecting eligible CAF members for service.


  • selecting CAF members for submarine training duty; and
  • approving travel for pressure tolerance testing.

D Mar Pers

  • approving foreign qualification equivalencies.


  • forwarding requests for service in submarines to the career manager of the member;
  • arranging for the medical screening of applicants, including pressure tolerance testing; and
  • forwarding the screening results to the career manager.

CAF members

  • submitting requests to their CO if they wish to serve in submarines; and
  • serving in submarines if so selected.

6. References

Acts, Regulation, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other Reference

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