Taking the plunge into rewarding Navy career

IT'S never too late for a change in career.

It wasn't that long ago that Submariner trainee, Able Seaman Marine Technician Winston Gavriel could be found with a saw, hammer and nails in his hands.

Now you will find him at the depths of the sea patrolling the coastline on board one of Australia's Collins Class submarines.

Collins Class submarines dive to more than 180 metres and travel over 20 knots when submerged and are one of the world's most sophisticated conventional submarines.

Before joining the Navy in 2009, ABMT Gavriel was a carpenter in Queensland.

He joined as a direct entry submariner and completed his 26-week Marine Technician trade at HMAS Cerberus in 2010.

As a marine technician, Winston is responsible for operating, maintaining and repairing the ship's machinery, gas turbines, diesels, ventilation, as well as power generation and distribution, and electrical control systems.

Winston Gavriel.
Winston Gavriel.

Since then he has been a submariner trainee and has completed his initial Collins Class submarine course and joined HMAS Dechaineux in April 2012.

Submariners are astronauts of the deep, or the Silent Service of the Navy.

The technology and sophistication of today's submarines is akin to the space program. Being a part of this service tests the sailors to their limits, but they are one of a select few who get to wear the 'Dolphins', a badge of distinction.

Winston said he was enjoying the challenges of his new career, despite being based on the far side of the country.

"I am posted to Fleet Base West south of Perth. It's a long way from home in Queensland," he said.

"But at the same time I am excited about qualifying by the end of the year and I am looking forward to deploying with HMAS Dechaineux."


HMAS Dechaineux is the fourth of six Collins Class Submarines.

It was launched in Adelaide in 1998 and is named after Captain Emile Dechaineux, the Commanding Officer of HMAS Australia (II) during the latter stages of the Second World War who died in battle.

Since commissioning, HMAS Dechaineux has successfully conducted a range of activities throughout the region in support of Australian Defence Force exercises, operations and the government's strategic directives.

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