Clearance Diver recruiting campaign underway

Clearance D\diver recruiting

MS Mark Littler is on hunt for more Clearance Divers.

Peter Mallett 
Staff Writer


Military members interested in diving, explosive ordnance demolition, and working in a close-knit unit, becoming a Clearance Diver might be just the fit.

The Royal Canadian Navy is ramping up efforts to recruit regular and reserve force members to the trade, which mostly resides within Fleet Diving Units on both coasts.

“This campaign is seeking highly motivated, intelligent, and physically-fit individuals that are looking for more out of their career,” says MS Mark Littler, from the Halifax-based unit. “If you are up for a new challenge and the experience of a lifetime, the Clearance Diver trade is looking for you.”

Retirements have dwindled trade numbers in recent years, bringing the East and West Coast units together to recruit candidates. First in their efforts is bringing awareness of the trade to all three environments.

“Our latest effort is intended to generate more interest in the Clearance Diver trade until we reach a point where our trade is well-known throughout the CAF,” says MS Littler. 

A Canadian Forces General Message (CANFORGEN) memo, to be released in July, will officially promote the Clearance Diver Assessment Centre and provide application details and deadlines.

The selection and training of Clearance Divers is conducted annually. Application deadlines typically end each year in November. Potential candidates must complete medical and dental screening and conduct a Clearance Diver Physical Fitness Evaluation with Personnel Support Programs staff during the application process.

The Clearance Diver occupation dates back to the Second World War. The term ‘Clearance’ is derived from divers tasked to clear harbours and port obstructions, such as sea mines, by using underwater explosives.

The first Royal Canadian Navy clearance diving unit was formed in 1954 and evolved over the decades.

Today’s Clearance Divers play a vital role in neutralizing explosives, both underwater and on land. Core responsibilities are mine countermeasures operations, explosive ordnance disposal, battle damage repair, and force protection support.

These capabilities are done by approximately 120 Clearance Divers and 30 Clearance Diving Officers.

Additional responsibilities and tasks include training all Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) divers, maintenance of all CAF diving and life support equipment, operating recompression chambers, and providing submarine search and rescue support. A subspecialty within the occupation is improvised explosive device disposal operator.

“The job of Clearance Diver does not parallel with other jobs of the navy,” says MS Littler. “We work in small teams of two to 10 persons; deployments, exercises, and operations are typically two to six weeks in duration.”

Physical fitness is a key component of the job. Working underwater with heavy gear requires stamina, endurance, and higher than average fitness, says MS Littler.

For those interested in learning more about the CAF diving world, both Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic and Pacific offer a six week Ship’s Diver course. Find more information for FDU(P)’s courses here:

Or contact MS Mark Littler at for information on upcoming Ship’s Diver course at FDU(A).

Examples of some operations and exercises that Clearance Divers will, or have, already takenpart in this year are:

  • Operation Reassurance
  • Operation Open Spirit
  • Operation Nunalivut
  • Exercise Trade Winds
  • Operation Unifier
  • Exercise Rim of the Pacific
  • Exercise Baltops
  • Exercise Northern Challenge
  • Operation Regulus
  • Operation Podium

Clearance D\diver recruiting

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