Survival at Sea

The Royal Australian Navy’s principle training establishment for naval personnel in Victoria, HMAS Cerberus has played a crucial role in preparing Australia’s defence forces for the rigours of sea since 1920.



Located 75 kilometres south-east from Melbourne near Crib Point, on Western Port Bay, HMAS Cerberus occupies over 1,500 hectares and includes training and recreational facilities, office and living-in accommodation, two chapels and a marina.

As well as being home to approximately 980 staff, the base is capable of accommodating 1,100 trainees at any one time – providing 6,000 training places annually across 300 courses ranging in duration from one week to one year.

Following an engineering assessment on the condition, capacity and compliance of the facilities and infrastructure at HMAS Cerberus in 2013, the Department of Defence committed $463.1 million to the redevelopment and upgrade of the base’s training, support and accommodation facilities.

The project is being delivered by managing contractor Lendlease in two phases.

Phase One will see important infrastructure and services upgrades completed to HMAS Cerberus buildings and facilities.

Walker Fire Protection has been engaged by Lendlease to upgrade the fire and smoke systems within the base’s existing buildings, including training facilities, administration spaces, Living in Accommodation (LIA) and the base’s galley.

A separate works package, includes the construction of a new training ground and support facility for the new Royal Australian Navy School of Survivability and Ship Safety.

A.G. Coombs Projects has been engaged by Lendlease as head contractor on this unique aspect of the overall project.

These new facilities include a simulator control building, a Dynamic Leak-Stop-Repair simulator, a gas-fired diesel firefighting simulator and a portable extinguisher practical training fire pit.

Modelled on an existing facility operating at HMAS Creswell in New South Wales, the Dynamic Leak-Stop-Repair Training Unit (DLSRTU) is a multi-deck ship simulator that replicates the conditions of a navy ship at sea. It is capable of being flooded and oscillated to 10 degrees via a specially-designed hydraulic system to allow for realistic combat survivability training.

Another training facility replicates the environment of a fire onboard a navy vessel, such as that encountered in an engine or electrical room.

A.G. Coombs is designing and installing the mechanical building services required to create the training environments of each simulator, with Walker Fire Protection engaged to design and install a water mist system. Normally installed to quell a fire, the system installed within the firefighting simulator will instead be used as a training aid to create confusion among naval personnel undergoing training.

“The HMAS Cerberus redevelopment will not only deliver key infrastructure improvements but will also enhance the Royal Australian Navy’s training capabilities,” said Barry Hope, Construction Manager for Lendlease.

Project wide, all services are being designed and installed to strict Defence security requirements.

Both A.G. Coombs Projects and Walker Fire Protection have leveraged from the A.G. Coombs Group’s capability, and previous experience in Defence projects, in the successful delivery of the HMAS Cerberus redevelopment project.

“A.G. Coombs and Walker Fire Protection have brought technical expertise across multiple disciplines to the project, as well as an ability to meet compliance with well-documented processes and procedures, which is critical to a project like this.”

Phase One of the HMAS Cerberus redevelopment is scheduled for completion in mid-2020.


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