16 November 2023
Personnel from Army’s 1st Brigade, Maritime Border Command and HMAS Coonawarra embarked one of Navy's newest assets - ADV Cape Capricorn - for a taste of life at sea on a Navy patrol boat.
Two groups of 20 ‘sea riders’ were brought on board in October for an exposure day to build understanding of on-water operations from a Navy perspective for personnel that work in littoral (shore) or support maritime operations.
In particular, the exposure provided a Navy perspective to Army personnel increasing their presence in the littoral environment.
For some embarked personnel, it was their first experience of Navy operations, while for others, it provided an insight into how different organisations within Defence work.
Army Section Commander Corporal Jason Wouters said it was an important learning opportunity.
“With the 1st Brigade becoming a littoral brigade, joint service training opportunities like these will help us to close the gap and fast-track Army littoral capabilities,” Corporal Wouters said.
Personnel experienced various activities on board, including sea boat operations around Darwin outer harbour limits; a man-overboard exercise with a gunner of the watch firing; a damage control exercise - responding to a fire; engine room tours; question and answer sessions with the crew; and a formation entry with HMAS Albany and ADV Cape Woolamai - the first time the Navy’s two newest boats have sailed together.
For submariner Able Seaman Angus McSwan, being on a surface vessel was a novel experience.
“The sea exposure day was the first opportunity I’ve had working with the surface fleet in the littoral, and it was fascinating to see it all in action,” he said.
“The sea boat capability was definitely a highlight and a testament to the ability of the crew to conduct such a dangerous evolution safely while underway.”
Some of the crew took advantage of the chance to practise and demonstrate newly acquired skills.
Sea exposure days, while busy and hard work for crew, enable deeper levels of understanding and integration of service capabilities
Midshipman John-Mark Paul, a maritime warfare officer under training, said: “Being up on the bridge on a day like that, with such a tightly packed schedule and a lot of moving parts, was a real challenge to ensure the program was executed as planned, with the right people in the right place at the right time, and in a safe manner.”