Operations Branch Training
Officers of the Operations Branch of the Naval Service are responsible for the efficient running of the ship. It is only from within this Branch that an officer may become Captain of a ship. The Operations Branch Officer’s responsibilities include Bridge Watchkeeping, where they are responsible for the safe navigation of the ship and the safety of the ships company along with the weapons and communications systems onboard. Operations Branch Officers also lead boarding teams in fishery protection and anti-drug running boarding operations and are therefore prime leaders and motivators of the ships company.
Check http://www.military.ie/careers/cadetships.htm for information on Officer Entry into the Defence Forces.
The Operations Branch Cadet will undergo a course of training of approximately two years duration divided into different stages.
Initial training takes place in the Cadet School, Military College, DFTC, Curragh Camp and is of approximately three months duration. Subsequent training takes place in the Naval Base, Haulbowline, Co Cork and onboard ship. This training encompasses both the theory and practical application of the skills required for the officer to take his/her place as a fully functional member of the ships command team. Subjects covered include Navigation, Seamanship, Gunnery, Leadership and Management.
In the second year the Cadet will commence studies at the National Maritime College Ireland (NMCI) in Ringaskiddy Cork for award of a Degree in Nautical Science. NMCI is a partnership between the Cork Institute of Technology and the Naval Service.
On successful completion of first year at NMCI the cadet is commissioned on a 3 year Short Service Commission in the rank of Ensign/Sub-Lieutenant in accordance with paragraph 18 below. After commissioning, training continues both at sea and ashore until the Officer is fully qualified to take an appointment onboard ship.
When fully qualified an Officer will, subject to satisfying certain criteria and on being recommended by the Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service and the Chief of Staff, then be offered a full Commission without limitation as to time.
The fully trained Junior Officer spends the following years on sea/shore rotations. The primary sea duties involve watchkeeping and navigation while shore duties involve training or administrative appointments. The Naval Service Officer can avail of opportunities of further education as well as participating in professional sub-specialisation courses such as Tactical and Naval Warfare Courses at home and abroad.