Seaman Skye Kinchin is in her element at sea aboard HMAS Supply, with its mantra of One ship, many stories, and is creating her own Navy story.
“Growing up in Newcastle, I loved being at the ocean and always wanted to work as part of a team in a physical hands-on role, so being a boatswain’s mate was an obvious choice,” Seaman Kinchin said.
To start her Navy career, Seaman Kinchin attended the Navy Indigenous Development Program in Cairns.
“It was great. I made new friends, increased my fitness levels and was exposed to what a real day in the life of a sailor would be like,” she said.
After completing the program, Seaman Kinchin chose to continue down her Navy career path, completing back-to-back courses at HMAS Cerberus before posting to Supply.
The first course was for Navy recruits and the second was specialist training to prepare boatswain’s mates sailors for their roles at sea.
As a proud Indigenous woman from Wormi country, Seaman Kinchin said Supply’s mantra of One ship, many stories was something that appealed to her.
“Supply’s story celebrated my culture and welcomed me into the ship’s family, which has been amazing – I felt like it was home from the first day,” Seaman Kinchin said.
Replenishment ship Supply spends plenty of time at sea, where the sight of aquatic animals is commonplace.
And while the ship’s mascot is Old Tom the Orca, Seaman Kinchin is drawn to the sight of dolphins as they hold personal appeal.
“We are lucky to see dolphins often,” she said.
“They are particularly important to me as they hold a deep connection to my Aboriginal heritage – dolphins are my mob’s token.”
Seaman Kinchin has had challenges and highlights during her time aboard Supply.
“The biggest challenge at the start was being away from family and friends and my home,” she said.
“It was a wake-up call in my life as I realised this was a highlight, too – I was out of my comfort zone and knowing that I could do it and push myself past the limits was so empowering.
“The people I have met aboard Supply have already turned into lifelong friends."
The boatswain’s mate role is critical in maintaining the capabilities of Supply at sea and conducting replenishments at sea with other warships.
Seaman Kinchin enjoys the role.
She is learning continuously through active participation in replenishments at sea, working with ropes and small weapons.
“I would like to remain as a boatswain, gain more experience, be promoted through the ranks and mentor other new sailors in the future” she said.
“This trip has made me feel like I have actually made it all the way - I am so happy to be part of the big Navy family."
In her spare time, Seaman Kinchin plays rugby league and recently competed in the Indigenous women’s team at the Nations of Origin game.
To find out more about a career in Defence, visit www.defencejobs.gov.au.