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As a Mine Warfare 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 Trade Training
navy mine clearance officer landscape
navy diver landscape

About the role

As a Mine Warfare 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 NZDF 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.

As an MCDO your career will commence with Warfare Officer Training. The skillsets you develop in the first few years of your career, alongside your Warfare Officer Course mates will be developed as you progress. During breaks in your Warfare Officer training, whenever possible, you will conduct dive training and attachments to the Clearance Diving Group (HMNZS MATATAUA) and/or the diving support vessel (HMNZS MANWANUI) to begin to familiarise yourself with the equipment and operations required of an MCDO.

On achieving your Warfare Officer qualification milestones, you will undertake Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officer Training as detailed below. Being an MCDO provides you with a specialised and exciting career but also provides you the option of one day becoming a Captain of your own 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 diving support vessel HMNZS MANAWANUI and other RNZN ships. 

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 and be responsible for their continued training, well being and career progression.

I’ve lead a team to the Solomon Islands to do some EOD work clearing all the explosive remnants of WWII... To go out and get rid of all that danger for them was pretty cool.

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing 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)

(21 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


Defence Diver Course

The aim of this intensive and demanding course is to learn the fundamentals of Military Diving (to a maximum depth of 30m) in order to gain:

  • Fundamentals of diving (theory and practice)
  • Complete seabed and ship's hull searches
  • Complete all maintenance relating to military diving
  • Complete all shipborne underwater maintenance tasks
  • RNZN decompression training

At the completion of this phase of training, personnel will be qualified as ADAS Part 1 (Australian Diving Accreditation System (Part One - Diver to 30metres)). 

Officer of the Watch (OOW) Course

The aim of this course is to teach the basic principles and processes of navigation and good bridgemanship, which includes experience in the bridge simulator and culminates in assessments at sea navigating a small naval vessel.

On completion of your OOW(Basic) course you will spend time aboard a navy ship getting platformed endorsed and putting your new skills into practice, or commence your tertiary studies if you are entering on the University scheme of training. This on-the-job training is aimed at preparing you in a practical sense for the OOW(Advanced) course. You will also progress your OOW task book which is a written record of your progress, training and development.

The OOW(A) course is 16 weeks and covers navigation, bridgemanship and training in basic warfare skills. On completion of that you will then return to sea to get qualified by completing the task book and gaining your OOW (A) Certificate. 


After completing your immediate job training you'll begin a period of professional development which includes:

Diver Transfer Course (38 weeks)

  • Compressed air diving to 50 metres
  • Mixed gas diving to 54 metres
  • Surface supply diving to 50 metres, including
    • underwater salvage, and
    • underwater engineering tasks 
  • Military combat diving using 100% oxygen on a rebreather set
  • Dive Medical Technicians
  • Mine countermeasure diving including searches and disposal
  • Explosive ordinance clearance (below the high water mark)
  • Above and underwater demolitions and explosive training
  • Pouncer Operations (Mine disposal inserted from helicopter) 

Overseas MCDO Course

Officer of the Watch (OOW(W)) Course (16 weeks)

On successful completion of the above training, 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:

  • Complete 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.

Navy Diver Training School_May 21

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.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and medical


Period of Service

  • Be a minimum of 17 years of age upon entry.
  • Be free of any criminal conviction for the previous two years.
  • Pass an Officer Selection Board.
  • Pass the RNZN Diver Selection Board.

RNZN Diver Selection Board

The selection board helps to determine your aptitude and suitability for a career in the RNZN as a Diver or General List Executive Mine Warfare Clearance Diving Officer (GLX MCDO). This is also an opportunity for you to gain insight into life as a RNZN Diver or GLX MCDO. The selection board takes place in Devonport, Auckland over 3 days.


There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required TSV security clearance for this trade. You must be free of any criminal convictions for the previous two years.

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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