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  Clearance Divers

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Clearance Divers have always been the Australian Defence Forces' (ADF) specialist divers and have, since the inception of the Branch, operated all in-service diving equipment to the full extent of its operational capacity. Nevertheless, the primary focus of a Clearance Diver is to perform Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). This role is conducted at sea in ships, in the oceans (particularly the vulnerable approaches to ports and anchorages), onshore in port facilities, installations and the littoral environment associated with amphibious advanced force operations, and currently in support of the Australian Army during land based combat operations.

The Australian Clearance Diving community represents the largest single ADF organisation with a direct and primary interest in the conduct of EOD.

All personnel joining the Branch, including Officers, must undergo acceptance testing and complete the arduous requirements of the Clearance Diving qualification course. These demands, placed on potential applicants, are not seen anywhere else in the ADF outside of the Special Forces.




Indeed and as a result of this demanding selection and training, Clearance Divers have served in the counter-terrorist Squadrons of the SAS Regiment for the first 15 years after that capability was established and continue to serve in that role with the Commando Regiment, (TAG East). Small numbers of Clearance Divers are currently serving as EOD specialists in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the globe. Clearance divers are also used in high risk ship boardings (such as suspected pirate vessels currently off the coast of Somalia).

RAN Clearance divers have served in all major conflicts since the branch was established in 1951, including Malaya, Vietnam, Gulf War, Somalia, East Timor Intervention, Iraq War, and Afghanistan.

In the present international climate of uncertainty and widespread threat of terrorism, Clearance Divers represent a valuable and arguably the most flexible asset of the ADF.

Further information on clearance divers and the RAN Clearance Divers Association can be found here.

Photograph: Kate Geraghty/Fairfax Media