SAN Careers: How to join the South African Navy

Thinking of building a career with the South African Navy? If you are looking for offshore jobs that are filled with challenging adventures, Navy jobs might be for you.

With a large amount of professions within the Navy, your options for training and even receiving an education and the opportunity to specialise are vast. From fire fighting jobs to a highly trained diver – you will find it in the Navy.


What is the South African Navy?

Part of the Department of Defence, the South African Navy (SAN) has the core function of fighting at sea. The SA Navy effectively helps to protect our country’s coastlines as well as our marine resources. With its fleet based in Simon’s Town, the SAN uses submarines and ships to conduct its duties effectively.

Apart from its fleet base in Simon’s Town, SAN has Naval Stations in Port Elizabeth and Durban, its headquarters situated in Pretoria.

Careers and SA Navy Jobs

There is a huge variety of career fields within South Africa’s Navy to choose from. Some of these careers range to include:

Fire Fighting Jobs

With fires on vessels being a huge risk, fire fighting jobs within the navy is an important role to fill. Though all navy personnel are trained in firefighting, the SA Navy also has its own dedicated firefighting service. This service deals with both offshore as well as onshore situations.

Your Military Skills Development training within this field is valid for a seven month period and includes a large number of modules such as the handling of hazardous materials, handling bush fires, fire fighting and, a more advanced, petro-chemical fire fighting.

Practical in nature, the theory part of this training comprises of 20% of your course. Opting for fire fighting jobs in the Navy, you will also receive training in the form of a basic ambulance course – this training is equivalent to First Aid Level 5 training.


The Protection Force

Responsible for the maintenance of the South African Navy’s security, the second year Military Skills Development (MSD) sailors are required to undergo a ten week long programme in Simon’s Town. Here you will undergo various training that ranges to include vehicle searches, the searching and clearing of buildings, and weapon handling, to name but a few aspects.
After this programme you will be sent to other Naval Units to complete the rest of the year’s training needed to perform these types of navy jobs.

ERATS – Engine Room Attendants

A good example of the offshore jobs within the SA Navy, within this division you will receive the basic skills required to be an attendant in the engine rooms of various vessels. A six week long course, you will learn about the basics of mechanics, maritime refrigeration, the basics of outboard motors and internal combustion engines.
You will also delve into ship systems, propellers, maintenance, shafting and lubrication. After this course is complete, you will be sent to different base workshops, submarines and ships.

Public Relations (PR)

Some sailors spending their second year with Public Relations at the South Africa Navy. Here you will undergo the PRISA (Public Relations Institute of South Africa) Basic Principles of Public Relations course. It is also during this second year at the SAN that you will take part in various functions of the Navy PR Department including event management, the manning of exhibitions and shows, and even basic photography.


Human Resources (Personnel)

Because the South African Navy manages its own personnel, it has a Human Resources Department. Within this department of the Navy you will undergo a six month course in your second year of MSD where you will cover subjects that range to include topics like Labour and Service Relations, Signal Writing, Writing and Human Resource Maintenance.

Physical Training

In the SAN physical fitness is extremely important and, it is for this reason, that the Navy has a branch of trained Physical Training Instructors (PTI). It is the responsibility of these trainers to not only ensure the sailors stay in tiptop shape, but also know all the rules associated with different activities (such as tug of war, military pentathlon, soccer and rugby).

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The SA Navy manages its own hospitality service. This means that Navy requires dedicated and trained chefs and stewards, opening up opportunities for navy jobs within food and beverages. If this is the part of the Navy you would like to be active in you will undergo an eight week long course at the Catering School in Simon’s Town. This includes a number of interesting subjects like menu planning, the principles of cooking, nutrition, bar and wine service and entertainment.


Consisting of a five week long course, your subjects here will include a number of subjects including storage and transportation, the principles of accounting, stock taking, packaging and controlling authorities. After you have completed your training you will be sent to onshore or offshore Naval units to apply your knowledge.



If your passion is tingled by secure communications, this is the Naval department for you. Because all communications are done in a secure format, the MSD sailors who do choose to go into this field are required to complete a nine month long course in Simon’s Town.

During the span of this communications course you will learn everything from Morse code and Voice and Radio Procedures, to plashing lights and semaphore.

MRS – Maritime Reaction Squadron

Exciting offshore jobs, MRS is a specialised unit within the South African Navy. The Maritime Reaction Squadron is aimed at deploying members into peacekeeping roles, assist in offshore boarding operations, conducting observer missions and provide VIP Protection, to name but a few functions.

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 SA Navy Diving Jobs

If you are looking for diving jobs, the Navy might be for you. At the SAN you will receive a physical and physiological training that will help you become a highly skilled diver. Open to sailors who have successfully completed the MSD programme, you must be between the ages of 18 and 22 (or if you are a graduate the age of 26), have a National Senior Certificate (Matric), comply with the medical fitness requirements and be a South Africa Citizen.

Combat Officer

Combat Officers are a very important aspect of the Navy. These officers are responsible for executing the main functions of the South African Navy, which is Maritime Warfare. In these navy jobs you will be active within the elements of combat. Reaching the peak of your career would be receiving command of your own warship.

Candidates found in this department are highly motivated with great leadership trademarks that can meet the high demands of this field. During the span of your training you will learn how to effectively use complex computerised weaponry.


Student Engineer

With the acquisition of new vessels and modern weaponry, an Engineering career within the SA Navy is exciting and fulfilling. These navy jobs are aimed at the modification and maintenance of electronics, weapons, propulsion, the design of new systems and the development of these systems.

After you have successfully completed your first year of MSD, you will further your studies at the University of Cape Town or the University of Stellenbosch, having the opportunity to study Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering.

Student Naval Technical Officer

Here you will have the opportunity to work closely with experienced Naval Engineering Officers. Students within the Naval Technical Officer position will also be involved in the acquisition of new vessels as well the electronic systems within these vessels.

After you have completed your officers and military training during your first year, you will further your studies in Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

How to join SAN

Ready to join the South African Navy? If you would like to apply to the SAN, you will have to be a South African citizen and between the ages of 18 and 22. If you would like to apply to the SAN, you must have a National Senior Certificate, comply with the fitness requirements, not be bound to a specific area, have no criminal record and preferably be single.

If you are 26 years of age or younger and have a fitting University Degree, a three year National Diploma or an N4, N5 or N6 Certificate in Electrical Engineering or Mechanical Engineering, you can also apply to the South African Navy.

If you would like to be a Diver, you cannot suffer from claustrophobia, have a fear of heights or have any physical disabilities. In order to apply you must also be a strong swimmer and have a talent for general water based activities.
In order to apply for Combat Officer and Student Naval Technical Officer jobs, it is required that you have Physical Science and Mathematics at Level 4 and pass Matric with exemption.


If you would like to become a part of the Maritime Reaction Squad (MRS) you must first complete the Military Skills Development Programme.

The Military Skills Development (MSD) programme is a two year long programme aimed at giving recruits the skills, knowledge and experience to be employable within the South African Navy and fill offshore jobs within SAN. Within this programme you will learn a huge variety of skills ranging to include Musketry, Seamanship, Work Ethics, Environmental Awareness, Hygiene, Basic Financial Management Skills, Computer Skills and more.

You will receive basic training at SAS SALDANHA, located in Saldanha Bay. Here all Military Training for Ratings (MTR) takes place. Candidates here receive intensive Officer training before moving on to fill posts in various branches including Combat, Engineering and Personnel.

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Junior Ratings receive training that can be used in functional areas within the SA Navy. These fields include Divers, Radar Operators, Engine Room Attendants, Protection Force and Hospitality, to name but a few examples.

Officers are trained at SA Naval College located in Gordon’s Bay while specialist training takes place at SAS SIMONSBERG located in Simon’s Town.

If you would like to learn more on how to apply to the Military Skills Development programme, please be sure to visit the SAN careers website.

Amped to start your career with the South African Navy? Register your CV on Job Mail and start applying for Navy jobs. Also be sure to check out our range of available jobs – from diving jobs to fire fighting jobs, has it all!

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83 Responses

  1. karen says:

    Are there any navy jobs opening? I am looking for one

  2. ndozwidivha says:

    I would like to join san,i do have N5 in mechanocal engineering and knowledge in welding….if you have vaccancies I would be glad if you let me apply for one

  3. lungy says:

    I’m looking job for Public relation management or internship

  4. lungy says:

    Looking internship of public relation management

  5. nakedi says:

    Are there any fire fighting jobs opened within the Navy, I am keen in one

  6. Lee-Roy says:

    I will like to join the navy

  7. kobe says:

    I’m older than 26 and I have all qualifycations, so what must I do.

  8. Chadwin De Koker says:

    I would like to join the navy , what is the requirements and how do I go about applying for a relevant position

  9. dimakatso says:

    Hi I also want to be part of SAN but I’m 26 years of age and I also have N4 in Hospitality,I would like to get an oppotunity to do something for my country and also for my family as there is no one who is working.

  10. Willie Sibiya says:

    I would like to join the logistics training.

  11. Lebalang Moiketsi says:

    I am interested in IT related jobs. I have A+ certificate.

  12. percy says:

    Can you please Email me application form for navy or call on 0783670508. I want to defend our country. Like it

  13. Mncedisi Skhosana says:

    I am a gentleman who has an N1 & N2 Mechanical engineering and I would like to work for Navy. I am not working at the moment I am available if there is a vacancy . I have an experience in Diesel Mechanics my cell number is as follow 0735272265, I will I appreciate if you could employ me.

  14. phillip says:

    I’m available at anytime

  15. Nkosinathi says:

    interest in gaining experience in the technical aspects of communication. I will love to work in your company as a fresher technician and broaden my base of knowledge in cabling and maintenance. My interest in network cabling is the greatest motivation for me and I believe I will do complete justice to the concerned position.
    I have always been a hardworking and career oriented technician with keen

  16. victor says:

    How can I apply for Navy post!

  17. Keatlaretse says:

    Kea, can someone keep me posted about the SANDF post ASAP

  18. I am gentleman I would like to work under the south african san because of this situations ilove to be under san,i like to protect my country ,i like to support my family because i’m jobless.i can feel happy if san can hire me.

  19. surprise khoza says:

    Hi am 20 years old ihave the following qualifications: matric,HIRA,SAMTRAC,ASHEPP, system tools documentation and drivers learners iwould like to apply for a job in SAN

  20. LINDOKUHLE says:

    hi am 18 years old i would like to apply for a job in SAN

  21. Thorbjorn Pretorius says:

    I would really like to join the navy – how do i go about it.
    i have just written my last matric exam – i am 19 years old

    • Hi Thorbjorn Pretorius,

      Thank you for taking the time to check out our blog.

      If you read the blog post, there is a lot of information about how you can apply for these jobs.

      Alternatively you can contact the South Africa Navy directly and get the information from them.

  22. Gail Gilbride Bohle says:

    One of my students would like to join the Navy Band. He won the matric music prize and plays in a jazz band, as well as the school band. How does he go about this? Where does he apply? Any info would be useful. Thanks in advance

  23. Buhle Fikiso says:

    i am looking for internship in Management Assistant i am 22 years old

  24. pride says:

    Hi I am a 20 year old boy from limpopo and I would like to join the S.A.N to protect our country.

  25. mtunzi befile says:

    hi i know im way over the age required,im 39 years old.back at school i was in navy.back then i joined it for fun.but now hence i wanna serve and protect and further equip myself can i still join again? i was a student at newell high school then

  26. muano says:

    Hi am Muano 21 looking for a learnership am doing mechanical engineering (boilermaker) i have N1&N2
    Contact 0767390661

  27. lutho matyhintyala says:


  28. KEANAN-LEE says:


  29. aneesha fanie says:

    good day

    i am in matric now and would love to join the SAN.I would just like to know what i must do to apply for enrolling for next year.

    Anesha Fanie

  30. aneesha fanie says:

    good day

    do i need any specific subjects for Hospitality?

  31. Nashon says:

    I’m interested in joining the Navy! Would like to be updated

  32. sibani says:

    am a grade12 student and i want to be in the navy and i dont know where to start

  33. tshego says:

    hi i would like to join but am struggling with
    maths and physics

  34. Lona says:

    I did Economics,Business studies,Accounting and mathematical literacy is it possible for me to quality for Navy seal

  35. David Mnyakama says:

    Am a major male of 23 years and in my final year of LLB degree. Am adamant to join the SA Navy next year but I don’t know in which post I can fit in. Advice plis!!!

  36. Ayanda says:

    it always been my dream to protect my country and it citizens, my parents passed away in the first 10years of my life and because of the tax payers I’ve never went to bed sturving and I am greatful of that, so do I join the NAVY. Ijust completed my NSC lat year and i have not obtained ant tertiary education

  37. Motsoaledi says:

    When is 2017 application for jobs open for pupils currently in grade 12.

  38. David Kivido says:

    I want to join the navy I was a cape corp in 1991 I have a technical grade 10 and no I am part of the reserwe force in Bfn

  39. Kgawu Tsitso says:

    i really want,need 2 join the sa navy diver,i am a good swimmer and a diver,if any opportunity opens,any one please contact me,i know i can be the best of the best

  40. Madeleine says:

    Would like to know if the navy has any programme or opportunities for 17 yr old boys without matric?

  41. Luthando Funani says:

    I’m 23 years old and i want to be a SA Navy How can I apply?

  42. nompilo duma says:

    I’m 23 years old with a qualification in matric and ancillary health care and i want to be a SA Navy how can i apply?

  43. Michaela says:

    This is something I’m willing to do. As I’m extremely hard working and have my head screwed on right.


    hi I would like to join but I am not good at maths and physical sciences

  45. Shemaiah de Vries says:

    Where can I get a form online to apply for SAN

    Shemaiah de Vries

  46. kate-lynn says:

    Hi I’m Kate-lynn fortuin
    20 years of age and I would like to join the navy

  47. khumbulani says:

    Hi i’d to join sand..plz can u help on how to apply..pleas

  48. zaaid moodley says:

    im 15 years ca old i want to join the navy, but im to young what can to do to be part of the navy or army now already so i can start preparing for the future…

    • Hi Zaaid, the SAN has certain requirements. Please familiarise yourself with these so that when the time comes, you will be able to meet the requirements and enter the navy.

  49. Audi says:

    Im eager to join navy submarine dept or combat rifle dept but my age is above 26 and i dont have qualifications for this

  50. shanaash saiet12 says:

    hi i have tried registering my son twice but gets the same error in step3-4 – province -western cape and when i submit and next it tells me this section must be completed?
    please advise

  51. Wongama says:

    I’m a 19 year old and have a matric
    With a N1 certificate in electrical engineering , I would like to join the nazy

  52. Sonti Phapo says:

    My son has just complete the course of BAA and Fire fighter, he is 20years of age ,he pass his matric last year,can i please get a form so that he can apply

  53. Tshidi Melato says:

    Hi Henno I’m Tshidi Melato from Gauteng Provence I have been applying to the navy for the last 3 years and have no luck in getting through please help me I have apples and for 2018 I called to fine out if I’m s candidate for next year and told my name is not on the list the closing date is I the 30th October l don’t know what to do any more

    • Jani Grey says:

      Hi Tshidi,

      We’re sorry to hear that this has been a struggle for you. We would like to suggest that you look at the careers you applied for at SAN and search for something similar on Job Mail. You could just find the perfect fit.

      We wish you all the best with your job search and hope you find something you love soon.

      Thank you for using Job Mail.

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