Australia Needs Submariners!
Check out this story in The Australian -- here are some excerpts:
"The navy is currently experiencing a shortfall of submariners of about 30 per cent of requirement," a Defence Department spokesman said in response to questions from The Australian yesterday. "The shortage of submariners has meant there has been a reduction in sailing days..."Collins-class boats have a crew of about 45, so the 30% shortage means that the Aussies need to find an additional 75 or so qualified people to be submariners every couple of years. Getting rid of the requirement that prospective submariners serve in surface ships first should help, as should the extra money. What they really need, though, is a good movie that shows submariners as the supermen they are -- virile, indestructible, and irresistibly desired by the opposite sex. (I would have said "women" instead of "opposite sex", but the Aussie Sub Force has female submariners -- they started training in 1998. This shortage of qualified personnel should put to rest arguments made by those who support opening U.S. submarines to women that we need to do this to ensure we have enough qualified applicants.)
...But these missions are now threatened by a critical shortage of mechanical and electrical technicians, as well as electronic and acoustic warfare specialists...
...The navy said it was considering a range of initiatives to improve the pay and conditions of submariners and entice more sailors to join.
The navy last year allowed civilians to join the submarine arm directly without first serving on surface navy ships, as had been previously required.
It has also increased the size of the special submariner allowances, which traditionally mean pay of up to 20 per cent more than sailors on ships...
...The navy has repackaged its publicity pitch for submariners, extolling the virtues of being based at the fleet headquarters in HMAS Stirling in Perth.
"Nearby you can enjoy a round of golf, or take a peaceful walk deep into jarrah forests," the Defence website says, while spruiking local fishing, nightclubs, markets and water sports.
When discussing the submariner's training course at HMAS Cerberus in Victoria, the navy promises that "despite the Hollywood stereotypes, there won't be gruff drill instructors screaming in your face".
"The type of people we are looking for are what we call extroverted introverts - people who get along with others but at the same time are mentally able to occupy their 'own space', even though others surround them," the navy says.