Becoming a Clearance Diver

Canadian Combat Dive Team members practice using the Shark Marine Navigator during RIMPAC 16 off the coast of Pearl Harbor – Hickam, Hawaii on July 18, 2016. Photo: MCpl Chris Ward, MARPAC Imaging Services

CAF Clearance Divers: selecting suitable candidates

By LCdr Rick Kappel,

Clearance Divers operate from the great depths of the sea to the rugged peaks of mountains, from dry desert climates to the frigid waters of the Arctic, at home and abroad, and during times of peace and in war. They are the masters of the underwater domain whose primary mission is to locate, identify and neutralize explosive devices. They specialize in disposing of Improvised Explosives Devices and have been successful in numerous deployed international operations. Clearance Divers operate in the most unforgiving environments employing sophisticated equipment and the latest technologies to achieve their mission. They are highly trained specialists who undergo intense, rigorous training, selected from the few who have what it takes to endure extreme hardship to achieve mission success.

The training required to produce a qualified Clearance Diver is over two years in duration, taking place primarily at Fleet Diving Unit Pacific, in Victoria, BC. Candidates will also challenge courses provided by the Canadian Army, as well as an eight-month advanced explosives course at the world-renowned Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal in Destin, Florida. Upon qualifying as a basic Clearance Diver, specialization training will occur throughout one’s career.

The Clearance Diver occupation has a long and storied history. The first Units were formed during the Second World War to render safe sea-mines throughout Europe and the South Pacific. From their auspicious beginnings, Clearance Divers have been at the forefront of Royal Canadian Navy and CAF operations throughout the world, including operations in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and most recently Ukraine.

Clearance Divers are a small, tightly knit, and highly motivated group of specialists whose bonds forged under hardship last a lifetime. The job takes them places most will never go. Often, they’re required to endure cold, pain, and extreme discomfort while remaining focused on the mission. But the challenges and the opportunities this occupation affords are second to none.

Anyone interested in becoming a Clearance Diver should contact his or her local Base Personnel Selection Officer. Previous restrictions to joining the occupation have been lifted. Voluntary Occupational Transfer is now open to any member of the CAF from any trade regardless of whether or not they have had initial dive training. Provided you are qualified in your current occupation, meet the medical and fitness requirements, and have 48 months continuous service, you are eligible. The only question that remains: Do you have what it takes? Consider becoming a part of one of the most thrilling, challenging, and rewarding occupations in the CAF: Clearance Diver.

Clearance Divers will be travelling to bases across Canada during the month of March, 2018 to deliver information sessions. More information on this exciting occupation and exact timings of information sessions can be found at: