This site is dedicated to all the Royal Australian Navy personnel who have served in HMAS CANBERRA


HMAS CANBERRA (1) from the 9th 0f July 1928 until she was sunk off Savo Island on the 9th of August 1942.


HMAS CANBERRA (2) from the 21st of March 1981 until the Decommissioning on the 12th of November 2005.


HMAS CANBERRA (3) commissioning at Fleet Base East in Sydney, Australia in 2014.





HMAS Canberra Boarding Parties


The term “Boarding Party” has become synonomous with the RAN’s expertise.
But what does a Boarding Party really do, who do the teams consist of and what skills are required?

What is the role of a boarding party?

a. Take positive control of the vessel and crew
b. Establish a two way dialogue with the master
c. Provide mutual support
d. Maintain evidence collection
e. Safely complete the mission

What training do you need to become a boarding party member?

a. Weapon training;
b. Med cat 1 (physically fi t);
c. Fast rope training;
d. Container climbing;
e. Judgemental scenarios;
f. Use Of Force;
g. Roles and responsibilities;
h. Wet and dry drills with the life jacket



HMAS Canberra Boarding Teams - 2002


What are the different skillsets that a boarding party member requires?

Boarding party members normally consist of a range of different ranks and rates to ensure there is a wide range of knowledge and different skills in the boarding team.

In addition, there is always a SMET sailor on every boarding to ensure fi rst aid equipment and additional medical knowledge is available.

What happens with a fly-away team?

A fly-away team can be used to gain access to a non-compliant ship or simply as a alternative method of insertion.

How often do you retrain people on ships?

Weapon re-qualifi cation is conducted three-monthly.

Team training is conducted annually.

What are the different jobs within the boarding party?

The boarding team consists of three elements: Bridge team: The bridge team gather information such as last port, next port, nationality, manifests, cargo plans, charter agreements and ship’s registry, etc.

Security team: The security team normally accounts for all other crew members and is responsible for the security of the crew.

Sweep team: The sweep teams sweep the superstructure of the ship and account for on-watch personnel in the engine room.

They also do checks of the engine room.

How do you select people to be part of a boarding party?

Personnel are normally volunteers, they need to be fit, have good communication skills, be able to complete the training required and have an even temperament.

How many people are in a boarding party?

Depending on the size and type of vessel, co-operation of the master and the number of crew, the composition of the team can be altered as required.

How do boarding party members cope with language barriers?

Boarding teams have access to language cards if required or may simply use hand signals when directing crew members.

English is a second language in many countries and this makes the job easier.

What type of weapons are carried?

All members carry a pistol and baton with the exception of two members involved in crew security who carry a shotgun and baton.

In which parts of the world do boarding parties operate?

All over the world if required. Whenever boarding parties are required to operate on the high seas or territorial seas, permission to board is required from higher authority.

There are restrictions associated with the law of the sea and the correct protocol must be adhered to.

When and why do boarding parties board a ship?

a. To enforce domestic laws, including fisheries, immigration and customs.
b. To enforce sanctions,
c. In time of war,
d. If a ship is without nationality, and
e. To render assistance and save lives.

What type of things do boarding parties find on suspicious ships?

Bulk oil, guns, ammunition, bulk food products and any items desmeanded to be contraband.

What is the procedure for boarding ship?

Once the boarding is under way the first objective is to secure a safe insertion point onto the ship.

Personnel will then proceed to the bridge and engine room to take control of, and assess the condition of, the ship.

At the same time the security element will account for all of the crew and assemble them at a muster point.

When the crew and vessel are safe and secure the vessel is searched for weapons, contraband or other items of interest with all of the information gathered being reported back to the boarding party’s ship.

What equipment do boarding party members use?

The following is a guide to the personal equipment that may be carried by the boarding party:

Water bottles or water backpack Camel back) as required, torch, radio and spare battery, clasp knife or multi tool, cable ties, wrist restraints, field dressings, fast roping helmet, gloves (fast roping), goggles (fast roping), screw gate karabiner, note book and pencil, rations, strobe light and cyalume sticks.



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