Trainee submariners attend first passing-out parade of 2021 at HM Naval Base Clyde

A CLASS of submariner trainees at HM Naval Base Clyde recently passed-out from the first phase of their Submarine Qualifying Course (SMQ).

On Thursday, February 18, the class of twenty-three students – being trained for service on board Vanguard Class submarines – reached the culmination of their ten-week “dry phase”, the classroom part of the course conducted on dry land at Clyde’s Fleet Operational Sea Training (North) (FOST)(N).

The class, the first of 2021, graduated on the day with Captain FOST (N), Captain Ian Breckenridge presenting each student with their certificates in the HMS Neptune Supermess under strict social distancing conditions.

The best student award was presented to Engineering Technician (Mechanical Engineer Submarines) ET (MESM) McCarthy for delivering the best overall performance during the course. This award is based not only on the trainee’s academic achievements but also on their attitude, commitment and, most importantly, their teamwork and support of their peers whilst on course.

It is always a proud moment for the students to pass out from SMQ (dry). The course is designed to be intense and to prepare the students for the next phase of their submarine training, SMQ (wet) prior to achieving their ‘dolphins’ and becoming qualified submariners.

Warrant Officer 1, Ian Brown, SMQ Training Officer

Warrant Officer 1, Ian Brown, SMQ Training Officer said: “It is always a proud moment for the students to pass out from SMQ (dry). The course is designed to be intense and to prepare the students for the next phase of their submarine training, SMQ (wet) prior to achieving their ‘dolphins’ and becoming qualified submariners."

The students are of course in possession of their “training dolphins” at this stage of their training. The training dolphins which were introduced in September last year are a similar size and design as the traditional gold dolphins but are black in colour.

Prospective submariners join FOST (North) at HM Naval Base Clyde for the dry phase of their training.  After successfully completing a final exam, oral board and walk-rounds of a nuclear submarine, they pass-out, eventually joining a nuclear submarine.

It is there the second phase of training begins – known as the “wet phase”.  Students complete their SMQ training at sea on board a Royal Navy submarine and it is only then that they are entitled to swap their training dolphins for the coveted “gold dolphins” badge – the mark of a qualified submariner.