Australian Border Force

Australian Border Force Marine Tactical Officers (entry level)

Applications for the Marine Tactical Officer role are not open at this time. Information about the Marine Tactical Officer role is provided below.

Position summary

MTOs in the ABF Marine Unit work on ABF vessels in seagoing positions. Officers will spend a number of weeks out at sea at a time.

MTOs work under the supervision of the Operations Officer, and are required to:

  • exercise powers under the Customs Act, Australian Border Force Act, Maritime Powers Act and other specified legislation
  • assist with the operation and maintenance of Australian Border Force Cutters (ABFC) to provide maritime surveillance and response
  • participate in ABF intervention activities in the maritime environment, including armed boarding and searching of vessels at sea, surveillance and small craft operations
  • assist officers of other government agencies to perform their lawful functions
  • perform all generic APS 3 duties; including but not limited to boarding and searching vessels, seizing prohibited goods, apprehending and questioning suspects, obtaining statements and preparing prosecution briefs
  • perform specialist marine duties including radio operation, ships boats crew  and participation in boarding and shore parties as directed
  • provide armed support for client personnel as required
  • perform general deck, engine room and ship's husbandry duties including food preparation and ABFC hygiene duties
  • assist with ABFC operation and maintenance duties
  • perform  the ships boats navigation and handling duties
  • perform duties as coxswain of  ships boats
  • perform administrative duties to assist the Commanding Officer /Enforcement Commander to operate the ABFC efficiently and effectively
  • conduct lookout duties on bridge of ABFC
  • maintain security of embarked persons under ABF control
  • assist client agencies with taskings
  • participate in ABFC  emergency drills and situations
  • perform Park Warden role when required.

Key attributes of a successful Marine Tactical Officer

Crew aboard ABFCs will be working and living in a structured and confined environment. To be successful working in this environment, Australian Border Force Marine Unit Officers need to be:

  • self-motivated and capable of performing duties with little supervision
  • a good ambassador for the Australian Border Force
  • able to cope with sea sickness
  • emotionally stable and compatible with sharing facilities, when living within the close constraints of an  ABFC
  • able to cope with a roster including regular periods of up to 42 days away from home
  • an effective team leader and member
  • capable of thinking logically under stress and when fatigued
  • capable of leading small teams and managing on board emergencies.

Occupants of these positions will need to have well developed interpersonal, oral and written communication skills, be highly motivated, flexible and able to perform detailed technical and administrative tasks under limited supervision.

Recruitment process

The recruitment process to join the ABF as an entry-level MTO is comprehensive and involves a number of stages, including (but not limited to) written application, interview, medical, fitness and psychometric requirements. Detailed information about each stage of the recruitment process will be posted closer to the commencement of the recruitment campaign in early 2017.

Due to the suitability and assessment requirements, the recruitment process can take up to six months from time of application to a merit pool being finalised and an offer of engagement made.

Employment offers

If a candidate is found suitable for a position as a MTO, they will be placed in a pool of merit and notified accordingly.

As positions become available, candidates will be contacted by telephone in the first instance and offered a role verbally prior to issuing a formal letter of offer. Please note: not all suitable candidates will be able to be offered a position. We recommend candidates do not give notice to their current employer unless they have been provided a formal letter of offer.

All candidates placed into the merit pool will be required to initiate relevant security clearances to be eligible for a placement offer.

MTOs are employed as Border Force Officers, at the Australian Public Service 3 classification.

Security requirements

We operate in a position of trust within the Australian community. Our people are provided with significant powers to support the efficient and effective management of the Australian border.

To maintain the confidence of the Australian Government and the community, it is essential that all our people demonstrate and adhere to the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour - both in their official and private capacities.

Before a candidate can be offered a position, they must first undergo a rigorous pre-employment character and integrity suitability screening process.

To work with us, you must be able to:

  • obtain and maintain the required Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) clearance
  • undertake an Employment Suitability Clearance (ESC).

​​​If a candidate does not already hold a valid security clearance, we will send relevant security packs that must be completed and returned before work can commence. We will assess if there will be any risk associated with granting access to classified information. That assessment will be based, among other things, on advice from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Candidates should be aware that both the security processes can be intrusive in nature and include (but is not limited to) detailed background, character, employment, police and financial checks.


The Marine induction training is conducted over 16 weeks, and includes (but not limited to):

  • Marine specific induction
  • Corporate induction
  • Advanced first aid
  • Detainee Management
  • Marine legislation
  • Operational Safety
  • Certificate of Safety Training
  • Marine Radio Operator
  • Certificate of Proficiency and Damage Control
  • Marine Skills
  • Maritime Vessel Search
  • Boarding Training. 

Information about a career in the ABF Marine Unit can be found on A Career in the Marine Unit.