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Careers Reserves Royal Navy

RFA Training

There’s a lot to learn on the way to becoming a qualified member of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. 
It starts with your initial training and continues right through your time with us. There’ll be plenty of challenges, but plenty of rewards too.

As a member of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, you will be a merchant seaman on civil service terms. This means you won’t go through the same basic training as Royal Navy recruits but you will train at the same establishments.

Case study

Deck Officer

In the Royal Fleet Auxiliary,  we have the best of both worlds. We are Ministry of Defence civil servants and we use Royal Navy training, courses and establishments.

I had to make a decision between the MOD police or the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Choosing between standing on a gate for 12 hours a day or travelling the world wasn’t a hard decision.

Find your RFA role

Discover more detailed training, eligibility and career development information choose your RFA role from the Royal Navy role finder tool.

Training routes


As a Royal Fleet Auxiliary rating, your training begins at one of three places, HMS Raleigh in Cornwall, HMS Sultan or HMS Collingwood in Hampshire. Wherever you’re based initially, the training you’ll receive will give you the basics you need to do your job.


Your training as a Royal Fleet Auxiliary officer begins at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) at Dartmouth. Here, you’ll spend seven weeks learning about us and our role and developing your leadership and management skills.

Developing yourself

Further training

Throughout your training, you’ll learn the specialist skills you’ll need to do your job through a combination of time at sea and in the classroom. It’s the start of a training process that will last right through your career. The exact length, location and content of your training depends on your job. For some jobs, such as Deck Officer, for instance, you’ll go straight to sea from Britannia Royal Naval College.


Promotion in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary is strictly on merit. As you progress through the ranks, more courses and training options become open to you. 

View all RFA jobs to find out how far you can go.

Featured RFA roles

RFA Deck Officer

You'll take charge of Replenishment at Sea (RAS) operations as the Officer of the Watch on the bridge.

RFA Motorman

As well as the engines, you'll be working on everything from cranes to lifts and other deck gear.

RFA Cadet Systems Engineer

You'll be working towards your professional qualifications to become a certified Systems Engineer Officer.


Have you seen?

The next step in the process is completing an application form.


Not found what you are looking for? Try our Role Finder tool

Find my role