UK Navy Sailors to Sign up for Four-Month Exchange with Royal Australian and New Zealand Navies


Sailors are being encouraged to sign up for a four-month exchange with the Royal Australian and New Zealand Navies in 2012.

Each year a few dozen British sailors head to Australia and New Zealand for sun, sea, surf and, er, ships… and Aussies and Kiwis head in the opposite direction for sea and ships.

The aim of the Long Look exchange is to broaden the experiences and professional knowledge of sailors travelling in both directions – which makes it easier for the RN, RAN and RNZN to work together and means personnel will take back fresh ideas about the way their day jobs can be carried out.

The programme runs from March to July and generally works on a straight swap basis – namely a Royal Navy diver trades places with his counterpart from Australia or New Zealand. Typically around two dozen personnel take part.

During Long Look 2011, LPT Dean Goulding from RNAS Culdrose found himself putting recruits through their paces at HMAS Cerberus, the RAN’s main training establishment near Melbourne.

There, trainees get their first taste of life as sailors (on an 11-week course, one week longer than the equivalent training at HMS Raleigh for Royal Navy newbies). Early morning physical training begins at 4.45am (!) and Dean found himself in charge of 300 recruits – all on his own.

Four hundred and fifty miles to the northeast, marine engineer LET ‘Tugg’ Wilson spent four months in Sydney keeping frigate HMAS Newcastle running as she carried out patrols along the east coast, visiting Brisbane, Mackay, Cairns and her namesake city.

On a more poignant note, Long Look sailors who were attached to the New Zealand Navy found themselves supporting their Kiwi comrades during the massive aid and clear-up operation in the wake of the terrible earthquake which struck Christchurch and killed more than 180 people.

Feedback to the Long Look organisers on Whale Island in Portsmouth from some of this year’s sailors who took part in the swap includes:

“It’s a fantastic opportunity. Not only does it allow you to work alongside a different Navy, but it’s also excellent for meeting new people, travelling and experiencing a different culture. It’s enhanced my personal and professional development.”

“I travelled all over New Zealand, immersing myself in Maori culture, getting up close with local wildlife and sampling the best Kiwi cuisine. There is so much to see in New Zealand.” 

“Long Look has been a great learning experience – I’ve brought a number of lessons back to the UK. I would recommend people to give it a go.”

Long Look is open to most branches but only at sub lieutenant and lieutenant ranks for officers and leading hand through to warrant officers for ratings. Able seamen will only be considered from the diving branch.

Source: royalnavy, August 26, 2011;