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FAQs

The Royal Navy is one of the UK's best-known institutions, with a history stretching back through the centuries. But much of what it does is unseen and unheard as it works, thousands of miles from home, in distant waters. The questions answered here about the RN are some of the most frequently raised by people of all ages who are keen to find out more about what the Navy does.

 
Royal Marines
Royal Naval Reserves
Submarines

Rating

Q:What are the promotion prospects?
As a naval Chaplain, you're said to share the rank of the person you're talking to.You’ll have the freedom to talk to anyone and everyone from Able Rate or Marine to Admiral or General, on an equal, informal and confidential basis however, there is a structure for appointments, giving you opportunities to develop your skills and ministry. Back to top
Q:What are you looking for in a Chaplain?
We are looking for people who have a clear sense of their own vocation. Although the Chaplaincy branch is small enough to allow support for one another, there will be times when you’ll minister as an individual, far from colleagues, the structures and the support you'll have been used to in the civilian church. You must also be physically and medically fit for the task. Back to top
Q:What is the pay like?
Royal Navy pay compares very well with similar civilian jobs. As a Chaplain your annual salary will start from £38,463 and could increase to £74,351 or more per year. Back to top

Rating

Q:What are you looking for in a Mine Clearance Diver?
As a Mine Clearance Diver you'll need plenty of commitment, enthusiasm and common sense. You'll need to be very fit and have a strong understanding and awareness of safety issues. You need to have an aptitude for practical work and, of course, enjoy being in the water. Above all, you need to work well as part of a team. Back to top
Q:What is the pay like?
Royal Navy pay compares well with similar civilian jobs. The biggest difference is that with the Royal Navy, you start earning from the moment you enter basic training. Typical starting salaries for ratings begin at £14,349. As you progress in your role and move up the ranks, you could earn anything from £17,767 up to £47,428 if you become a Warrant Officer, the highest non-commissioned rank. You can also earn extra pay for specialist skills and qualifications.  As a qualified Mine Clearance Diver you will be rewarded with extra pay starting at £4.24 per day which could increase to £32.72 per day as you progress through your career. Back to top

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Q:How easy will it be to start a civilian career once I leave?

Most people, whether ratings or officers, find the high levels of training, responsibility and management skills they gain from their Royal Navy career are highly appealing and desirable to civilian employers.

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Q:How long are they away?

Most deployments are about six to seven months in length. Some ships go away for shorter periods, such as those doing fishery protection work or shorter operational exercises.

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Q:How long is the training?

It varies, depending on the branch being entered. For a Royal Navy rating, initial training takes 10 weeks and professional training can take between five weeks and four years. Training for Officers varies depending on which branch you are in but starts from 15 weeks. Royal Marine’s Officer training is 54 weeks long and 32 weeks long for Royal Marines Commandos.

Officer-initial-training , Rating-initial-traing, Royal-Marine-Initial-Training, RFA-Initial-Training

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Q:How long will my child have to sign up for?
The length of service will depend on the role your son or daughter is doing and which part of the Royal Navy or Royal Marines they are working in, but they always have the option to request to leave, and then need to work their notice period of 12 months. Back to top
Q: If there is an emergency, how can I get in touch with my son or daughter?

Ships at sea and units ashore, both in the UK an abroad, have satellite phones, which can be used in an emergency. To find out more please look at the Community pages.

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Q:What if my child wants to try the Royal Marines before committing?

Your son may be able to take part in a week long “Look at Life course” at the Commando Training Centre (CTC) Lympstone. This is the first way of gaining some exposure to the Royal Marines but in order to find out more about what the life will be like, your son can attend the Potential Royal Marine Course or Potential Officer Course, also at Lympstone, which is a physical and mental test to see if your son has what it takes to successfully complete the full 32 weeks of Commando Training.

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Q:What if my child wants to try the Royal Navy before committing?

The Royal Navy runs a four-day acquaint course every week that gives prospective candidates a taster of what life will be like during initial training and on a ship or submarine. For more details speak to a Royal Navy Careers Adviser.

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Fleet Air Arm

Q:Can I change jobs once I join?

No. You’ll be processed for the branch you applied for. There are very few opportunities to transfer once you’re in, so don’t expect to be able to. Similarly, as an officer you’ll be processed only for your chosen branch, unless there are shortages in other branches (as sometimes happens in Engineering and Warfare) which may be offered as an alternative if the branch you applied for is full.

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Q:Can I join and work locally?

No. You have to be prepared to serve anywhere in the world, which for most people is one of the biggest draws of a career in the Royal Navy.

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Q:Can I see if I like it before I apply?

Yes. We run four-day 'acquaint' courses on the south coast and in Scotland, which are designed to give you a taste of life during initial training and on a ship or submarine, as well as a chance to ask questions and find out more about the different options available to you. It’s free to attend and we’ll even pay your travel costs.

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Q:Can I see if I like it before I apply?

Yes. Your Careers Adviser or Area Careers Liaison Officer will be able to arrange a Potential Officer Visit to a Naval Base or Royal Navy shore base so that you can take a good look round, see all the facilities, eat and stay in the Wardroom (officers' mess) and mix with other officers.  You will be shown presentations and have the chance to ask lots of questions to help you make a decision.

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Q:Does the Navy have Apache helicopters?
No. The Apache attack helicopters are operated by the Army Air Corps (AAC) and can be embarked on Royal Navy assault ships with their AAC support crew. Back to top
Q:How many helicopters are on each ship?
Frigates and destroyers will carry 1 or 2 helicopters, CVS and Amphibious Assault ships up to about 20 depending on requirements.

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Q:When I join how much holiday will I get?

You will get six weeks of paid holiday and time off on all non-working weekends whether at home or abroad.

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Q:What are the promotion prospects?

You will enter the Royal Navy as an Able Rate. If you’re successful in your initial training, promotion is then on merit. If you work hard and show commitment you can work your way up through the ranks. Also, if you show the right potential and academic ability, you may also have the chance to become a Commissioned Officer.

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Q:What are the promotion prospects?
You will enter the Royal Navy as an Able Rate. You’re successful in your initial training you’ll automatically be promoted to Leading Hand. After that, promotion is on merit so if you work hard and show commitment you can work your way up through the ranks. You will be promoted much sooner than other branches due to the intense training you will receive and your subject matter expertise.  Also, if you show the right commitment and academic ability, you may also have the chance to become a Commissioned Officer. Back to top
Q:What are the promotion prospects?

For all officers, the promotion prospects are excellent. The earlier you join, the more skills you’ll be able to develop, which in turn help with your eligibility for promotion. You’ll automatically be promoted to Lieutenant as long as you pass your professional training and perform to the required level. After that, promotion to Lieutenant Commander and beyond is all based on merit and potential.

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Q:What are you looking for in a Naval Airman (Aircraft Handler)?

We're looking for commitment, enthusiasm and common sense. You need to have self-discipline, concentration and quick reactions  – because lives could be at stake. You’ll also need to be prepared to spend a lot of time outside, working in all weather and sometimes dangerous conditions. If you have any previous fire service or driving experience, it will be extremely useful, but is not essential as you will be taught everything you need to know.

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Q:What are you looking for in an Air Engineering Technician?

As an Air Engineering Technician you’ll need plenty of commitment, enthusiasm and common sense. You should also have mathematical ability, good logic and an interest in engineering – all of which you can develop during your training.

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Q:What benefits do I get if I join the Royal Navy?

You’ll receive an excellent pension scheme, six weeks’ paid holiday a year and free medical and dental care.

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Q:What benefits do I get if I join the Royal Navy?

You’ll receive an excellent pension scheme, six weeks’ paid holiday a year and free medical and dental care.

You’ll also get to enjoy fantastic sporting facilities with great opportunities to play almost any sport at every level.  You can also take part in adventurous training at very little cost such as parachuting, snowboarding, climbing, mountain biking and watersports.

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Q:What is the Fleet Air Arm?
The Fleet Air Arm is the Royal Navy's "Air Force". It provides air support for all naval operations at sea or on land. Back to top
Q:What is the pay like?

Royal Navy pay compares well with similar civilian jobs. The biggest difference is that with the Royal Navy, you start earning from the moment you enter basic training. Typical starting salaries for ratings begin at £14,349.

As you progress in your role and move up through the ranks, you could earn anything from £17,767 up to £47,428 if you become a Warrant Officer, the highest non-commissioned rank. You can also earn extra pay for specialist skills and qualifications.

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Q:What kind of skills will I need as a Naval Airman (Aircraft Handler)?

You’ll need to be organised, reliable, able to work in a challenging environment ­and as part of a team. You’ll also need to have great physical and mental stamina and a sense of adventure.

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Q:What kind of skills will I need as a Naval Airman (Survival Equipment)?

You’ll need to be a multi-tasker, reliable, able to work in a challenging environment ­and as part of a team. You’ll also need a great eye for detail, have good physical and mental stamina and a sense of adventure.

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Q:What kind of skills will I need as an Aircrewman?

You’ll need to be organised, reliable, able to work in a challenging environment ­and as part of a team. You’ll also need to have great physical and mental stamina.

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Q:What types of helicopter are there What are their roles?
The primary roles are:
  • Merlin - Anti Submarine Warfare
  • Sea King - Troop Carrying, Airborne Surveillance and Area Control
  • SAR Lynx - Anti Surface and Anti Submarine Warfare.
However, helicopters are versatile and flexible platforms and each helicopter is not restricted to the roles above and can carry out any number of subsidiary roles. Back to top
Q:Are the pilots of the Fleet Air Arm in the RAF?
Except for exchange pilots, they are all either Royal Navy or Royal Marine Officers. Back to top
Q:Why do we need a ship borne aircraft capability?
Ship borne aircraft, with proven availability and inherent sustainability, which are able to conduct multi-role air operations from the sea, either integrated with land based air forces or independently when out of their reach, provide essential political and military options in any emerging situation. See Aircraft Carriers and Future Aircraft Carrier. Back to top

Medical

Q:If I join as a Nursing Officer, how long will it be for?

All Nursing Officers join the Royal Navy on a six year short commission, which you could extend to eight years. You’ll also have the opportunity to apply for a medium commission of 20 years or for a full commission up to the age of 55. If you want to leave, you can send us your one year’s notice before completing your specified return of service (three years).

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Q:What are the promotion prospects for a Dental Officer?
As a Dental Officer, you will enter at a more senior rank than other officers, depending on your experience. You’ll be promoted to Surgeon Lieutenant and Surgeon Lieutenant Commander automatically, as long as you pass your professional training and perform to the necessary level. After that, you will be selected on merit for promotion to Surgeon Commander and beyond. Back to top
Q:What are the promotion prospects for a Medical Officer?

As a Medical Officer, you may enter at a more senior rank than other officers, depending on your experience. You’ll be promoted to Lieutenant and Lieutenant Commander automatically as long as you pass your professional training and perform to the required level. After that, you’ll be selected on merit for promotion to Commander and beyond.

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Q:What are the promotion prospects?

For all officers, the promotion prospects are excellent. The earlier you join, the more skills you’ll be able to develop, which in turn help with your eligibility for promotion. You’ll automatically be promoted to Lieutenant as long as you pass your professional training and perform to the required level. After that, promotion to Lieutenant Commander and beyond is all based on merit and potential.

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Q:What are you looking for in a Dental Nurse?

Great technical and clinical skills and a bright caring outlook. You’ll also need to be able to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues, and enjoy working as part of a team, whether on routine or emergency tasks on board your ship.

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Q:What are you looking for in a Medical Assistant?

You should have commitment, enthusiasm and common sense.  You should also be interested in people and have a desire to care for the sick and injured.  You'll also need to stay calm, react quickly in an emergency and work well in a team.

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Q:What are you looking for in a Radiographer?
You'll need great technical and clinical skills and a bright caring outlook. You’ll also need commitment, enthusiasm and the ability to work on your own without a radiologist. It’s crucial that you’re able to stay calm but react quickly in an emergency. Above all, you need to enjoy working as part of a team. Back to top
Q:What is the starting salary for a Dental Officer?
If you apply for a dental cadetship during your last 3 years of dental school you'll earn from £15,380 to £19,102.  When you begin your basic training you'll earn from £54,311 increasing each year and with promotion. Back to top
Q:What is the starting salary for a Medical Officer?

If you apply for a medical cadetship during your last 3 years of medical school you'll earn from £15,380 to £19,102.  When you begin your basic training you'll earn from £54,311 increasing each year and with promotion.

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Q:What is the starting salary for a Nursing Officer?

Your annual starting salary will range from £25,854 to £30,990 a year increasing every year.  You’ll receive a £20,000 joining bonus with certain degree qualifications.

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Q:What kind of skills will I need as a Dental Hygienist?

You need to enjoy helping people, be highly organised, methodical and decisive. Because of the nature of the Royal Navy, having a sense of adventure is very helpful too.  You may be deployed with the Royal Marines as well as the Royal Navy, at sea or on land.

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Q:What kind of skills will I need as a Naval Nurse (Qualified)?

You need to enjoy helping people, be highly organised, compassionate and reliable. Because of the nature of the Royal Navy, having a sense of adventure is very helpful too and enjoying working in challenging environments.

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Q:What will I be doing in my first few years as a student Naval Nurse?
You’ll join Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service (QARNNS) and, after your 10 weeks initial training at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall, you'll be based in Birmingham at the Defence School of Health Care Studies within the Birmngham city University where you’ll study towards your BSc in Adult Nursing. As part of your training you’ll work at sea within the 100-bed primary casualty receiving facility (PCRF) on board the Royal Navy support ship RFA Argus. You’ll then go on to work either in MOD hospital units both in the UK and overseas or in a Royal Navy shore base. Back to top

Officer

Q:Can I join and work locally?

No. As a Warefare Officer you will be responsible for the outcome of the mission and the welfare of your ship and crew so you have to be prepared to go where your duties take you. For most people this is one of the biggest draws of a career in the Royal Navy.

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Q:What are the promotion prospects?
For all officers, the promotion prospects are excellent. The earlier you join, the more skills you’ll be able to develop, which in turn help with your eligibility for promotion. You’ll automatically be promoted to Lieutenant as long as you pass your professional training and perform to the required level. After that, promotion to Lieutenant Commander and beyond is all based on merit and potential. Back to top
Q:What is the starting salary?

Your annual starting salary will be £24,971 increasing to £30,014 on passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College. After one year of service your salary will increase again to £30,807. You’ll also receive a qualification bonus of £27,000 paid in three instalments throughout your training.  This is to reward you for the extra qualifications you require in the Royal Navy.

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Q:What is the starting salary for a Marine Engineer Officer?

Your annual starting salary will be £24,971 increasing to £30,014 on passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College. After one year of service your salary will increase again to £30,807. You’ll also receive a qualification bonus of £27,000 paid in three instalments throughout your training.  This is to reward you for the extra qualifications you require to be in the Royal Navy.

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Q:What is the starting salary for a Training Management Officer?

Your annual starting salary will be £24,971 increasing to £30,014 on passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College. After one year of service your salary will increase again to £30,807. You’ll also receive a qualification bonus of £27,000 paid in three instalments throughout your training.  This is to reward you for the extra qualifications you require to be a Training Management Officer in the Royal Navy.

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Q:What is the starting salary for an Air Traffic Control Officer?

Your annual starting salary will be £24,971 increasing to £30,014 on passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College. After one year of service your salary will increase again to £30,807.

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Q:What is the starting salary for an Environmental Training Officer?

Your annual starting salary will be £24,971 increasing to £30,014 on passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College. After one year of service your salary will increase again to £30,807. You’ll also receive a qualification bonus of £27,000 paid in three instalments throughout your training.  This is to reward you for the extra qualifications you require to be an Environmental Training Officer in the Royal Navy.

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Q:What skills will I develop as a Marine Engineer Officer?
You’ll have the chance to study for an MSc or MA at a later stage in your career. What’s more, your professional training forms part of a streamlined route to become a Chartered Engineer with the IMechE or IMarEST. These are all internationally recognisable qualifications that are highly valued by civilian employers. Back to top

Rating

Q:Do I need any special qualifications to join as a Writer?
No, you don’t need any special qualifications for this job. We only ask that you’re no younger than 16 and start basic training before your 37th birthday.  The Royal Navy will teach you everything you need to know to carry out this administration and HR role. Back to top
Q:What are you looking for in a Seaman Specialist?
You'll need plenty of commitment, enthusiasm and common sense. You’ll be working outdoors much of the time, so you need to enjoy being out in all weather and handling ropes, cables and small boats in all sea conditions. Above all you should thrive on working as part of a team. Back to top
Q:What are you looking for in a Steward?

As a Steward in the Royal Navy you should have a basic interest in the hospitality and catering business.  You’ll need to be highly organised, have good physical stamina and be a methodical thinker. You need to be able to work under pressure with an eye for detail as well as being reliable and discreet as you'll be serving senior officers and dignitaries.

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Q:What are you looking for in a Supply Chain Logistician?
As a Supply Chain Logistician in the Royal Navy you’ll need to be highly organised, reliable, a multi-tasker, who has strong leadership and management skills too, as you'll be responsible for thousands of pounds worth of stores and equipment. Back to top
Q:What are you looking for in a Warfare Specialist?
As a Warfare Specialist you’ll need plenty of commitment, enthusiasm and common sense. You’ll be working outdoors much of the time, so you need to enjoy being out in all weather and handling small boats in all sea conditions. Above all you should thrive on working as part of a team. Back to top
Q:What are you looking for in a Weapon Engineering Technician?
As a Weapon Engineering Technician you’ll need plenty of commitment, enthusiasm and common sense. This is a skilled engineering role, so you’ll need to be technically minded, with an interest in electrical and mechanical systems and equipment. Above all, you need to work well as part of a team.  The Royal Navy will teach you everything you need to know to equip you for this role. Back to top
Q:Do I need any special qualifications to join as a Writer?
No, you don’t need any special qualifications for this job. We only ask that you’re no younger than 16 and start basic training before your 37th birthday.  The Royal Navy will teach you everything you need to know to carry out this administration and HR role. Back to top
Q:What is it like being a Supply Chain Logistician?
As a Supply Chain Logistician in the Royal Navy you’ll need to be highly organised, reliable, a multi-tasker, who has strong leadership and management skills too, as you'll be responsible for thousands of pounds worth of stores and equipment. Back to top
Q:What kind of professional skills will I develop?

During your time in the Logistics branch you will work towards an NVQ in Hospitality. We’ll also help you gain other academic qualifications, like GCSEs and other key skills that are also recognised and valued by future civilian employers.

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Q:What kind of skills will I need as a Communications Technician?
You need to have common sense and commitment as well as a technical and analytical mind. You will also need to have an interest in electronics and computers as well as good communication and language skills since you’ll be expected to brief senior officers in a clear and confident way (both written and spoken).  You will also have to be efficient, thorough, accurate, discreet and utterly reliable. Back to top
Q:What kind of skills will I need as a Hydrographic Meteorological & Oceanographic specialist?
You will need to be a good communicator and reliable with good physical and mental stamina. You should also be able to work as part of a team in challenging environments and have a sense of adventure. Finally, you should enjoy using cutting edge technology. Back to top

Royal Fleet Auxiliary

Q:Can I change jobs once I join?
No. You'll be processed for the branch you applied for. There are very few opportunities to transfer once you're in, so don't expect to be able to. Similarly, as an officer you'll be processed only for your chosen branch, unless there are shortages in other branches, which may be offered as an alternative if the branch you applied for is full. Back to top
Q:Can I see if I like it before I apply?

There are some opportunities to take a look at life in the RFA prior to application which you can arrange by calling the RFA on 08456 04 05 20.

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Q:What if I am colour blind?

If you have impaired colour perception (colour blindness) this may restrict the branches that are available to you.

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Q:What is the starting salary?
Your salary will start from £16,656 a year. You will also receive an RFA allowance of £3,072 a year.
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Q:What is the starting salary for a Cadet Officer?
Your starting salary will range from £11,679 to £12,807 a year. You will also receive an RFA allowance of £3,072 a year.
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Q:What is the starting salary for a Medical Technician?
Your starting salary will range from £22,920 to £30,153 a year. You will also receive an RFA allowance of £3,072 a year.
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Q:What is the starting salary for a Qualified Deck Hand?
Your starting salary will range from £22,920 to £30,153 a year. You will also receive an RFA allowance of £3,072 a year.
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Q:What is the starting salary for a RFA Officer?
Your starting salary will range from £11,679 to £12,807 a year. You will also receive an RFA allowance of £3,072 a year.
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Q:What is the starting salary for a RFA Officer?
Your starting salary will start from £26,745 a year. You will also receive an RFA allowance of £3,072 a year.
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Q:What skills will I develop as a RFA Cadet Deck Officer?

During your professional training and throughout your career, you’ll gain qualifications accredited by leading professional and industry bodies such as the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA). All are recognised internationally and will be highly valued by employers in the Merchant Navy and other civilian employers.

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Q:What skills will I develop in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary?

During your professional training and throughout your career, you’ll gain qualifications accredited by leading professional and industry bodies such as the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA). All are recognised internationally and will be highly valued by employers in the Merchant Navy and other civilian employers.

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Q:When I join how much holiday will I get?
You will be able to earn 84 days voyage leave (holiday) for every 122 days that you serve at sea.  This equates roughly to 3 months off for every 4 months you are away at sea. Back to top

Royal Marines

Q:After my PRMC, how long will it be before I start basic training?

It depends on how well you do on the PRMC. Some people are not quite ready to start straight away and are asked to go away and do some more training. If we feel you are ready to join, then you could start between 4-8 weeks later.

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Q:Are people who join the Royal Marines from outside the UK treated differently?

No, of course not. Everyone is treated equally, no matter what country they come from.

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Q:Are the Royal Marines part of the Army?

No. The Royal Marines are an amphibious force and are therefore part of the Royal Navy. There are Army Commandos who have completed the All Arms Commando Course that work with the Royal Marines but are not Royal Marines Commandos.

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Q:Are there airborne pilot roles available within the Royal Marines?

The Royal Marines have roles for both helicopter and jet pilots. You would train alongside pilots from the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. Pilot roles are only open to Officer Commandos, so you would need to apply at that level.

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Q:Are there any opportunities throughout the year where I can do some training days with the Royal Marines?

The best thing to do is keep your eye on the Royal Marines website as this is where we'll post information about any events. Signing up for the Royal Marines email newsletter is another way to make sure you don't miss out on news.

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Q:Are there sponsorships available for those wishing to attend university first before joining?

Yes, there are sponsorships available to Potential Officer recruits. However, each case is assessed on an individual basis so you need to speak to your local Career Centre team for advice.

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Q:Can a female become a Royal Marines Commando?

No, Government policy states that females are restricted from operating and fighting in front line infantry Units and as such are not able to join the Royal Marines. Females are however eligible to join the Royal Marines Band Service.

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Q:Can a women become a Royal Marines Reserves?
No, unfortunately they can’t. This is because he government doesn’t allow women in front-line infantry units and the RM Reserves will at some point see front-line action. Back to top
Q:Can a women join the Royal Marines Band Service?
Yes, they can. They are only prevented from joining the military as a Royal Marines Commando because it is government policy not to allow women to join front-line infantry units. Back to top
Q:Can I be a vegetarian in the Royal Marines??

It's certainly possible and we do cater for vegetarian diets. However, building your body strength requires protein, so you'll need to ensure you have enough in your diet from sources other than meat.

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Q:Can I be an Officer in the Royal Marines if I haven't got a degree?

There are lots of good reasons to get a degree but it's not essential to become an Royal Marines Commando Officer. There are lots of Commando Officers without degrees who are doing well in the Royal Marines.

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Q:Can I choose my specialisation?

When you complete training, you need to spend 12 months as a General Duties Marine to complete your training and gain experience. You can submit your specialisation preference during that time. We do not force people into specialisations that they don't want unless there is a requirement for the service. For example, there are 600 signallers in the Royal Marines and sometimes ranks need to do 2 years in a specialisation to meet this requirement. They can then choose their preferred specialisation after this.

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Q:Can I go straight from the 32 weeks' training to specialisation?

We usually want guys to do a year of close combat Company time, however on occasions you can go straight to a specialisation. It depends what is needed within the Commando Brigade at any given time.

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Q:Can I join the Royal Marines if I have asthma?

Each case is assessed on an individual basis, so the  best thing to do would is speak to your local Career Centre team for advice.

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Q:Can I play rugby in the Royal Marines?

Yes, we have elite sportsmen across many sports and actively encourage everyone to get involved in sport. The Royal Marines have sports teams for everything from Football and Rugby to Motor Bike and Dragon Boat racing. You name it, we've pretty much got a team for it. If you are very good at a sport, you may even get the chance to represent the Royal Navy or combined services teams which often go on tour all over the world.

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Q:Can I transfer directly from the Royal Marines Reserves to become a full time Royal Marines Commando?

It depends what level you have reached within the Reserves. If you have been awarded your Green Beret, there would definitely be opportunities for you to transfer directly into a full-time role with us.

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Q:Can I try out the Royal Marines before I join?

Yes. The Royal Marines run several "look at life" courses throughout the year and all the Units run several "meet the Marines" days. Everyone is eligible to attend these and they serve to improve potential applicants knowledge and understanding of what a career in the Royal Marines would be like. For more details, speak to a Royal Marines Careers Adviser.

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Q:Can Royal Marine Officers have tattoos?

It is preferable if you don’t have tattoos, however the Royal Marines will not turn you away if you do, so don't let that stand in the way of your application

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Q:Can women join the Royal Marines?

Yes, Government policy states that females are restricted from operating and fighting in front line Infantry Units, however, women are eligible to join the Royal Marines Band Service and, through joining the Royal Navy, may be drafted to the Royal Marines in a number of exciting support roles.

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Q:Can you choose which Unit to join after passing out as a Royal Marine?

On completion of training you are asked which unit you would like to join. We then look at the requirements of each unit; if your first choice unit is deployed on operations at that time they will be fully manned, so you may then get your second choice.

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Q:Can you fail your basic training at any time?

You can fail, but that's not what we want and we work hard to train recruits to pass. Some people might take a little longer than others, but with our support you will get there.

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Q:What are the promotion prospects in the Royal Marines Reserves?

Like with all jobs in the Royal Marines, how far you go is up to you. Just like the regular Corps, everyone starts out as a General Duties Marine. Once you’ve built up some experience and skills, you’ll be given the chance to train for one of the Commando specialist jobs. These could be anything from assault engineer, to drill leader or reconnaissance operator.

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Q:Do I receive a pension if I have been in the Royal Marines?

You will receive a full pension after 22 years service - not something available in many civilian roles these days.

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Q:Do the Royal Marines cater for different diets on operations? How easy/possible is it to get kosher/halal/Hindi/vegetarian rations whilst on operations?

We now supply rations to cater for a number of different dietary needs, including kosher, halal, Hindi and Vegetarian, and there are a number of serving personnel that only use these rations.

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Q:Do the Royal Marines go on ships?

Yes. Royal Marines use shipping assets to move to a potential conflict zone as well as a platform from which to base themselves from. The Royal Navy provide the ships and play an integral role to the success of Royal Marine Operations.

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Q:During basic training, am I allowed to use a laptop or mobile phone?

During training you will have some restrictions on using both phones and laptops, but you will be allowed to use them after working hours. Computers are a great help for writing up your notes from lessons and field periods.

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Q:During basic training, how often will I have leave to go home?

Leave is normally in December, at Easter and in August. You'll also get most weekends off if your training is up to standard.

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Q:How can I become a Physical Training Instructor?

To become a Physical Training Instructor (PTI) you must serve as a Royal Marine and gain a B grade promotion appraisal as all PTI's are Corporals. Once you have a B, you can apply to do an aptitude test, where your fitness and instructional technique are assessed. If successful, you will go on course upon completion and will be based at CTCRM instructing a troop of recruits through training. After 2 years you can go back to a Commando Unit or specialise in remedial training for injured Royal Marines, or in adventure training.

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Q:How can I start to develop a Royal Marines Commando State of Mind?

When you train to be a Royal Marines Commando, we will help you develop the State of Mind that makes us stand out as an elite force. It's all about accepting situations and finding solutions. Give your all, whatever comes your way, and remember that you are never alone.

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Q:How clever do you have to be to become a Royal Marines Officer?

To become an Royal Marines Officer, the minimum entry requirements are at least 180 UCAS points from 2 non-overlapping subjects and 5 GCSEs (A* - C), which must include English and Maths. Applicants with alternative qualifications are considered on their individual merits.

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Q:How do I apply to be an Royal Marines Officer Commando?

You can start your application online. You'll then go through a selection process designed to help us find out more about each other. To apply as an Officer you'll need a minimum off 5 GCSEs, two of which must be English and Maths.

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Q:How do Royal Marines Commandos stay motivated when they are cold, wet, tired and hungry?

It's all about State of Mind. That's what helps you to stay focused and deal with the situation. During training you will develop that Royal Marines Commando State of Mind, and once you've got it, it won't leave you!

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Q:How do you deal with the difficult situations that Royal Marines Commandos face?

As a Royal Marines Commando, you are put in difficult situation on operations all the time. But the Commando Training you get at CTCRM is great, and helps you develop the right state of mind to deal with those situations.

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Q:How do you join the SBS (Special Boat Service)?

After Royal Marines training, you would complete a year's general duties as a Rifleman and then apply to join the SBS.

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Q:How does the level of pay in the Royal Marines compare with that of other careers?

The pay is on par with civilian salaries and other Armed Services, plus there are a number of other benefits that you just wouldn't get in a civilian role. You'll also receive extra payments when you are deployed on exercise or operations to help with expenses like Council Tax.

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Q:How far do I have to be able to run to pass the PRMC?

You'll need to be able to run 3 miles to pass the PRMC. Aim to build up to 7-minute miles over 4 and 6 miles. Remember though, its not just about being able to run - upper body strength is essential too.

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Q:How good does my eyesight have to be to join the Royal Marines?

Each case is assessed on an individual basis, so the  best thing to do would is speak to your local Career Centre team for advice.

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Q:How hard do I need to train before the PRMC?

The secret is keep it steady. Keep your workouts to once a day, and ensure you have rest days to relax. During the week of your PRMC, stop your training altogether to avoid over exercising and causing an injury.

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Q:How hard is the training?

Our training is tough, but we are the best, so it has to be. It is however, all achievable as long as you stay positive and find the right state of mind to get through the difficult days.

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Q:How long do I have to sign up for?
To some extent, that’s up to you. Once you complete your professional training, we’ll ask you to serve for at least two-and-a-half years. As a Musician, Bugler or a non-commissioned officer, you can serve a full career of 20 years’ service or until the age of 40, whichever is later. However, you can extend this depending on your fitness and the needs of the service. If you earn a commission as an officer, you may stay on until the age of 50. Back to top
Q:How long does the application process take?

The process from start, through to the PRMC and entering training can take between 3 and 6 months. The actual time will depend a lot on your individual needs.

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Q:How long is the training?

Recruit training lasts 9 months. Young Officer training lasts 15 months. If you get injured or become ill training may take slightly longer. Although this seems a long time it goes extremely quickly and once you have earned your coveted Green Beret you are ready to deploy with your Unit anywhere in the world.

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Q:How long will I have to wait after the pre-joining fitness test for my PRMC?

Not long. At present the time scale at present is very short, so if you're available, you'll usually be invited to a PRMC between 4 to 8 weeks after you pass the fitness test.

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Q:How many potential Royal Marines do you recruit each year?
The numbers joining Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) vary depending on how many have been successful at Potential Royal Marine Course. On average about 50 recruits join CTCRM every September to start Royal Marines officer training. Back to top
Q:How many push-ups and pull-ups do I need to be able to do for the PRMC?

You need to be aiming at around 60 push-ups and 10 pull-ups. Focus on doing as many repetitions as possible in your training. Keep it varied by adding in some triceps dips as well - these are also good for getting used to lifting your own body weight.

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Q:How many Royal Naval Medical Officers are taken to become Royal Marines Medics?

We do have Medical Assistants in the Royal Marines Commandos but only about 6 or so. We normally get them from the Royal Navy personnel who complete the All Arms Commando Course. Naval doctors do the same course if working in the Commando Brigade.

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Q:How many UCAS points do I need if I want to join the Royal Marines as Commando Officer?

You'll need 180 points to apply to join as a Royal Marines Commando Officer.

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Q:How many week's annual leave will I get a year?

Once you've passed out and been awarded your Green Beret, you'll get 6 weeks paid leave per year.

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Q:How much physical training is there on the basic training course?

The training varies from day to day and week to week. It could be an hour one day, and 2 hours the next day. Some weeks you will be in camp, in the gym or on the assault courses. Other weeks, time will be spent in the field where the troop will still get up first thing before breakfast and do a circuit or run.

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Q:How often are the Potential Royal Marines Courses (PRMC)?

We hold PRMC's every week. If you are successful, you will start your training 4 to 8 weeks later.

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Q:How often do you take in recruits and how many people do you take in at one time?

We will be taking in approximately 1,260 recruits this year. Every two weeks a new troop joins and each troop contains approximately 50 guys.

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Q:How old do I have to be to apply to join the Royal Marines as an Officer?

You need to be 17 on your first day of entry to join as an Officer.

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Q:How old must I be to join the Royal Marines Commandos?

Direct entrants should be between 16 (with your parent's or guardian's consent) and 33 years old on the first day of the month of entry.

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Q:How quickly can I work my way up the Royal Marines?
For all officers, the promotion prospects are excellent. The earlier you join, the more skills you’ll be able to develop, which in turn help with your eligibility for promotion. You’ll automatically be promoted to Captain as long as you pass your professional training and perform to the required level. After that, promotion to Major and beyond is all based on merit and potential. Back to top
Q:I am married / have a partner. Will you help me with accommodation?

Married quarters are available after you have completed basic training, but only for married couples. There is also service accommodation available for short term rental if families want to visit.

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Q:If I am eligible to join but living abroad, will the Royal Marines pay for me to fly to the UK for my interviews?

No, you will need to fund your own travel costs.

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Q:If I am in my 20's when I apply, do I have the same chance of success as the younger guys?

Yes definitely. Some people pass out at the age of 32, so you should never see age as a problem. As long as you meet our eligibility requirements and are fit and determined, we'd love to hear from you.

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Q:If I change my mind, how quickly can I leave?

Normally you cannot leave during the first four weeks (unless you are under 18) but then at anytime up to the first six months after giving 7 days' notice. After six months you will be required to serve a minimum of 3½ years from the end of initial training or the age of 18, whichever is the later.

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Q:If I fail the PRMC, can I apply again?

Yes, you can come back for a second PRMC. If you fail your first PRMC, we'll let you know where you went wrong, and what you need to improve on, to increase your chances of succeeding the second time round.

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Q:If I'm a British Citizen but live overseas, can I still apply to join the Royal Marines?

Living overseas is not a problem as long as your nationality is in our eligible group. Approaching your embassy is often a good way to get started on the application process from overseas.

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Q:I'm in my late twenties. Will I find the training more difficult than the younger guys?

Your age is not a problem - we will allow people to join anytime before their 33rd birthday. Older recruits tend to have more life skills than the younger guys, and this can mean they actually find training easier.

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Q:I'm interested in becoming a sniper in the Royal Marines. Do I need to undertake general duties before I can specialise?

Upon completion of recruit training, everyone will serve 12 months in a Commando unit to gain necessary experience. You can apply to be a sniper on completion of these general duties.

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Q:I'm interested in the Mountain Leader specialisation. Would this just be a teaching role or would I do operational duty?

No you wouldn't just teach. There are a number of positions for Mountain Leader Officers (MLOs) and there are plenty of them in the front line.

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Q:I'm worried about the physical demands of training. What if I can't cope?

As long as you can pass the prerequisite tests, pull-ups and 3 mile run, then you are at the starting level we need. The training is designed to build you up to the required standard over 32 weeks - we don't expect you to be a Royal Marines Commando before you start!

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Q:Is it possible to choose which barracks I am stationed at?

We will always try to accommodate your requests. It's not always possible to give everyone the barracks they want, but we always try.

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Q:Is there an ethnic/ equal opportunities policy for the Royal Marines?

The Naval Service is fully committed to the application of equality of opportunity for all its employees within the framework of the law, irrespective of gender, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion or social background. All serving personnel have equality of opportunity for employment and advancement based upon ability. The Naval Service makes every effort to accommodate religious and cultural requirements including dietary needs within constraints imposed by operations, health and safety and duty of care.

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Q:My mum's worried about me joining the Royal Marines. What can I tell her to reassure her?

People who care about you will always worry - it's natural! The best way to reassure people is to keep them informed and get them involved in your application process.

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Q:Should I complete college or university before applying to the Royal Marines?

It is always beneficial to get an education. However if you feel ready to start your life as a Royal Marines Commando sooner rather than later, we have a policy of life-long learning, so you'll be able to gain qualifications throughout your career in the Royal Marines.

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Q:Should I have my hair cut before I arrive for basic training?

Don't worry too much about your hair, we'll give you a haircut when you arrive!

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Q:There's something about the assault course that scares me. Will I get over it?

Whatever makes you nervous about the assault course today, won't be a problem by the time you actually come to do it. You will have had weeks of the world's best training and will be both physically and mentally strong enough to overcome your fears.

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Q:What advice would you give to someone who is attending a PRMC?

Make sure you arrive fit, with a positive attitude, and give it your best. Don't compare yourself to others. Remember that the PRMC is for you to demonstrate you have potential to become a Royal Marines Commando, not to already be one. All we ask is that you give it 100% effort. You have nothing to lose, so go for it!

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Q:What are the different roles and trades within the Royal Marines?

There are a lot of options open to both Commandos and Officer Commandos when it comes to specialisation. For example, for Commandos, we need everything from Chefs to Heavy Weapons experts to Vehicle Mechanics.

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Q:What are the entry requirements?

To become a Royal Marines commando you must be male and a British citizen. You do not need any formal qualifications. Instead you must pass the Royal Navy selection process.

To become an Officer, the minimum entry requirements are three GCSEs (A-C)/five S grades (1-3) including English language and mathematics and two A levels/three H grades. Applicants with alternative qualifications are considered on their individual merits.

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Q:What are the nationality requirements for joining the Royal Marines?

To become a Royal Marines Commando you must be either a British Citizen, a Citizen of a Commonwealth Country, a citizen of the Irish Republic or dual nationality.

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Q:What are the promotion prospects in the Royal Marines Reserve?

Like with all jobs in the Royal Marines, how far you go is up to you. Just like the regular Corps, everyone starts out as a General Duties Marine. Once you’ve built up some experience and skills, you’ll be given the chance to train for one of the Commando specialist jobs. These could be anything from assault engineer, to drill leader or reconnaissance operator.

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Q:What are you looking for in a Royal Marine Reserve?
People who are prepared to go the extra mile. Who are committed. And who want to learn discipline, leadership and military skills. People who are ready for the next challenge. And who want to experience the unique camaraderie of the Royal Marines. Back to top
Q:What are you looking for when you select someone as a Royal Marines Commando?

We look for a combination of things. The most important is your potential, your state of mind and your determination to succeed. Fitness matters, but this will be developed during training. Remember, we are not looking for 'superman', but those with commitment and who will not give up.

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Q:What benefits will I receive when I join?

The Royal Marines have a package of benefits that is rarely equalled today. This includes a good pension, low cost accommodation, free medical and dental cover and a range of travel expenses entitlements. Sports facilities are also available on most ships and all shore establishments, and are free to use. Extra money and time away from your place of work is sometimes available for sport and adventure training as well as education and development courses.

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Q:What educational qualifications will I get from the Royal Marines?

Most of the Royal Marines training courses attract the award of civilian recognised qualifications. The Royal Marines supports lifelong learning and issues everyone with a Learning Achievement Portfolio. Grants and support are also available to help pay for external courses, which can be for anything up to degree level.

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Q:What happens if I fail Officer selection? Can you still join as a Commando?

Some people who fail Officer selection at the Admiralty Interview Board are invited to come back in a year.

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Q:What is food like for Royal Marines?
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Q:What is it like serving on the front line?

It's very difficult to describe how it feels, and of course everybody has a slightly different experience. You can expect to have a whole range of emotions, from exhilaration to fear. One thing you can be sure of though, is that you will be trained to deal with the situation. You'll be confident in yourself and in the team you are working with, and that's what makes the difference.

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Q:What is life like for a Royal Marines Commando once they have completed training?

Daily life is very busy and is usually a mixture of weapons and equipment training and physical training (PT). For example, if we are going to deploy to Norway for Arctic training, we begin a training package to learn about that environment. The way we look at it is, amateurs practice to get it right. We practice so that we cannot get it wrong. We train all the time.

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Q:What is specialisation and do you have to do it?

All Commandos are encouraged to take a specialisation after their training and 12 month general duty period. All career profiles and promotion are based upon the branches, so it makes sense to specialise.

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Q:What is the difference between Officers and Other Ranks?

Ratings form the majority of the workforce and fit into a hierarchy based on experience and supervisory capability. Officers make up the management team, providing leadership and specialist knowledge.

There are different entry requirements for ratings and officers, and details can be found on the relevant job pages.

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Q:What is the maximum age limit to join the Royal Marines Commandos?

Direct entrants should be between 16 (with your parent's or guardian's consent) and 33 years old on the first day of the month of entry.

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Q:What is the Royal Marine Reserves?

The Royal Marine Reserves is a part time organisation which complements the Royal Marines in times of war, conflict and in peacetime where there is a requirement by the regular service. Entry into the Royal Marine Reserves is the same as for the regular service, go to the Royal Marine Reserves pages on this website to find out more.

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Q:What is the starting salary when I join the Royal Marines Commando?
Your starting salary will be £14,349 a year, rising to £17,767 after 26 weeks of initial training at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM). Back to top
Q:What is the starting salary when I join the Royal Marines Officer?
Your annual starting salary will be £24,971 increasing to £30,014 after 30 weeks. After one year of service your salary will increase again to £30,807. Back to top
Q:What is the starting salary when I join the Royal Marines Reserves?
You’ll be paid at the same rate as your full time equivalent colleagues in the regular Royal Marines for every drill night and training weekend, as well as when you are deployed for longer, which is £36.03 per day increasing each year and with promotion.  When you successfully complete your minimum training to the necessary standard you’ll also qualify for a yearly tax-free bonus which we call a ‘bounty’. This is on top of the pay you get for each quarter day that you train. At the moment it’s £428 for your first year, rising to £1,691 a year after five years of service. Back to top
Q:What is the upper age limit to join the Royal Marines Commandos?

Direct entrants should be between 16 (with your parent's or guardian's consent) and 33 years old on the first day of the month of entry.

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Q:What is Young Officer training like and how long will I serve for?

Royal Marines Young Officer Training is challenging but very rewarding. You are given a great deal of responsibility and expected to behave accordingly. You'll be given some fantastic opportunities and enjoy a great social life with a lot of new mates. The initial commission is for eight years and then a career commission would be for 16 years.

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Q:What is your policy on illegal drugs?

We have zero tolerance policy on drug use and all Royal Marines are randomly tested.

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Q:What jobs are women allowed to do?

Women are eligible to join the Royal Navy for most of the roles available on the Royal Navy Careers website. During your career with the Royal Navy you may request to join a Royal Marines Commando Unit to serve in a number of exciting roles which do not include hand to hand combat. Women are also eligible to join the Royal Marines Band Service.

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Q:What physical training should I be doing to be ready for PRMC?

Your training should include running at least 3 times a week, and circuit training is also good. Strength-wise, you need to be doing press-ups, dips, pull-ups and if you can find ropes to climb, that would help too. It's pretty much about lifting your own body weight. Remember to always give yourself a rest day each week to allow your body to recuperate.

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Q:What weapons would I work with in the specialisation of Platoon Weapons?

As a Platoon Weapons specialist, you would teach and train with all UK Infantry Weapons.

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Q:What will be my starting salary when I join the Royal Marines?

We keep an up-to-date list of salaries and benefits on the Royal Marines website as they change regularly.

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Q:What's the best way to prepare for the Potential Officers Course and the Admiralty Interview Board?

Making sure you have a good understanding of current affairs and the world situation is really important - start reading and watching the news! Making sure you're fit is a given, and keep up-to-date with what the Royal Marines are doing - the website's great for that. Also take a look at psychometric books and work through the exercises they give you. Finally, and most importantly, be positive and be yourself.

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Q:When could I be called on out on operations or active service?
You may be called out if the Government decides to send UK forces to protect life and property in another country, or to help people caught up in a man-made or natural disaster.  You may even be called up if there is a national emergency. Back to top
Q:When I'm doing basic training, how easy is it to fit in with everyone?

The idea of meeting all those new people can be scary, but you will start making lifelong mates right from your first days of basic training. Remember, everyone's here to look after you.

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Q:When I am not on operations or exercises, will I come in everyday and go home in the evening, or will I sleep on base?

When you have passed training you have the choice

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Q:When were the Royal Marines formed?

They were formed in 1664 as The Duke of York and Albany's Regiment of the Foot. Go to Royal Marine history pages to find out more.

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Q:Where can I get details of pay and conditions without committing myself?

There's lots of information on this website and you can always talk to your local Careers Office.

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Q:Who are the Royal Marines?

The Royal Marines are the UK's 'go anywhere' amphibious forces and a key component of the UK's Rapid Reaction Force. As such, they are required to be trained to work in different terrains and environments, from the cold, mountainous conditions in Northern Europe, to the hot arid regions of the Middle East and Africa and to the dense tropical jungles of the Far East.

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Q:Why would I choose a career with the Royal Marines over the Royal Navy or the Army?

Our State of Mind, attitude and approach is what sets the Royal Marines Commandos apart. Our Officers and other ranks train together from the start. Our training is longer and, in the 32 weeks we cover a myriad of roles. We are self-reliant and train all our specialists. We are the Armed Forces lead, requiring quick thinking, intelligent men with determination and a high level of fitness. Who wouldn't want to be part of that?

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Q:Will I get time to spend with my family after I come back from a deployment?

Operational tours last approximately 6 months, and it can be difficult to be away from home for so long. But when you return and have sorted out  kit etc, you will get  post-op leave, standard leave and usually a week's CO's leave, giving you plenty of time to spend with your family.

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Q:Will I get weekends off?

Leave periods are dictated by the organisation you are working with, but if you're not away on operations, then generally you will get weekends off.

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Q:Will my poor school attendance mean that I can't get into the Royal Marines?

Being punctual and committed is really important if you want to make it as a Royal Marines Commando. Think of your application as a new start. We're interested in your future, not what's happened in the past.

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Q:Would a criminal record stop me from joining?

Not necessarily. With reference to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 local Careers Office staff will advise individual applicants regarding spent and unspent convictions. The severity of the offence committed governs the time of the rehabilitation period, which has to be completed before an applicant can be processed for entry into the service.

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Royal Marines Band Service

Q:Are there age limits to joining?
You can join the Royal Marines BandService between the ages of 16 and 32, and you must start your training before your 33rd birthday. If you’re under 16, we can put you on a   waiting list, but we can’t consider you until you’re at least 15 years nine months, when you must make a formal application.
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Q:Can I join and work locally?
No. You have to be prepared to serve anywhere in the world – which for most people is one of our main attractions!
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Q:Can I see if i like it before I apply?
Yes. We run four-day ‘acquaint’ courses in the Portsmouth area, which will give you a taste of life in the Royal Marines Band Service, as well as a chance to ask questions and find out more about the different options available to you. It’s free and we’ll even pay for your travel costs.
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Q:Can women join the Royal Marines Band Service?
Yes. Women can serve in all branches of the Royal Navy except the Mine Clearance Diver branch and the Submarine Service. This is purely for medical reasons. The Government also doesn’t allow women to serve in front-line units, so if you’re female, you can’t join as a Royal Marines Commando.
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Q:How can I keep in touch while I am away?

All our ships and shore units have satellite phones for emergencies. We also give everyone at sea 20 minutes’ worth of free satellite calls a week (this increases to 30 minutes if you are serving in Afghanistan). All ships have email access and mobile phones are also allowed on board, although there may be some restrictions about when they can be used.

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Q:How easily will I be able to start a civilian career once I leave?

Most people and the high levels of training,responsibility and management skills they gain from their Royal Marines Band Service career are highly desirable among civilian employers.

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Q:How Long Do I Have To Sign Up For?

To some extent, that’s up to you. Once you complete your professional training, we’ll ask you to serve for at least two-and-a-half years. As a Musician, Bugler or an NCO, you can serve a full career of 18 years’ service or until the age of 40, whichever is later. However, you can extend this depending on your fitness and the needs of the service. If you earn a commission as an officer, you may stay on until the age of 50..

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Q:I am disabled can I join?
If we accept your application, you’ll have to pass a full medical examination. If you fail to meet the minimum standard for entry because of an illness, injury or other condition, we won’t be able to offer you a career with the Royal Marines Band Service.
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Q:I have apartner can you help us with accommodation?

For married couples, civil partnerships and those with children, rented family housing is available after you’ve completed basic training

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Q:I live overseas can I join?

To join the Royal Navy you will need to be a national of Britain, Ireland or the Commonwealth. If you have dual nationality, you can still join. But some roles have stricter requirements than others for security reasons.

If you’re a British national living abroad you can still apply. And if you don’t meet the residency criteria, don’t worry. You might still have the chance to join the Royal Navy on a short term security clearance until you reach the standard period of residency.

National service

If you have dual nationality you will have to provide written evidence that you’re not required for national service either now or in the future.

Commonwealth citizens

If you're a Commonwealth citizen and want to join the Royal Navy as a regular you must have resided in the UK continuously for the previous 5 years, with no single period of absence in excess of 180 days at the point of your application. This residency requirement does not apply to citizens of the Republic of Ireland, Malta and the Republic of Cyprus.

If you wish to join the Maritime Reserves you will need to provide evidence that you've been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. To do this you will need to be in possession of an appropriate Residency Permit or equivalent document. ILR is sometimes referred to as Settlement.

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Q:What are the promotion prospects in the Royal Marines Band Service?
When you complete your training at the RMSoM, you'll start your career as a Bugler in one of the five bands.  When you pass certain professional and leadership courses you'll be eligible for promotion to Corporal and beyond, with the chance to reach the most senior non-commissioned rank of Warrant Officer 1.  There is no direct entry for officers meaning that all officers are promoted from the ranks.  This is so we can make sure you have the unique combination of musicianship and leadership skills that the job needs.  There are also certain appointment ranks that come with an assignment to a particular job such as Drum Major.  In this appointment, you'll march at the head of the band on parade, using the ceremonial staff. Back to top
Q:What are you looking for in a Royal Marines Band Service Bugler?
We’re looking for people with musical aptitude who are bright, flexible, fit, hard working and keen to join the Royal Marines as a musician. Back to top
Q:What are you looking for in a Royal Marines Band Service Musician?
We’re looking for people with musical aptitude who are bright, flexible, fit, hard working and keen to join the Royal Marines as a musician. Back to top
Q:What if i change my mind?

In the first six months with us, you can choose to leave at any point, as long as you give us 14 days’ notice. After this, you will need to serve for two-and-a-half years from completion of your standard initial training period. You can then submit 12 months’ notice to leave.

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Q:What is the starting salary for a Royal Marines Band Service Bugler?
Your starting salary will be £14,349 a year, rising to £17,767 after you’ve completed 26 weeks of training at the RMSoM.  Your salary will then increase each year and with promotion. Back to top
Q:What is the starting salary for a Royal Marines Band Service Musician?
Your starting salary will be £14,349 a year, rising to £17,767 after you’ve completed 26 weeks of training at the RMSoM.  Your salary will then increase each year and with promotion. Back to top
Q:Whats the policy on drug use?

We do not tolerate drugs in the Royal Marines Band Service or any area of the Naval Service. If you’re found guilty of drug use, you will usually be discharged from the Royal Marines Band Service and may be prosecuted.

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Q:When I join how much holiday will I get?
You will get six weeks’ paid holiday and time off on all non-working weekends whether at home or abroad. As a member of the Royal Marines Band Service you’ll often be working unsociable hours and at weekends, but you’ll get plenty of free time to make up for this.
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Q:Will a criminal record stop me from joining?
Not necessarily. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, convictions are said to be ‘spent’ after a period of time, which varies according to the offence. As long as you have no ‘unspent’ convictions, a criminal record should not prevent you from joining the Royal Marines Band Service.
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Royal Naval Reserves

Q:Are extensions of service permitted beyond the normal retirement age?

For both officers and ratings the normal retirement age from the Royal Naval Reserve is 55. However, this can be extended depending on the current needs of the Service.

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Q:Are the jobs in the Royal Naval Reserve the same as those in the Royal Navy?
No they are not. Members of the RNR serve in support of their fulltime colleagues and undertake different, but equally important tasks. It is neither practical, cost-effective, nor appropriate to offer all the Royal Navy’s roles to people serving part-time.  Back to top
Q:Can I join the Royal Navy from the Royal Naval Reserve?

Yes you can. Many Reservists decide to join the Royal Navy fulltime.  Depending on how far you have progressed through your training, it is possible to skip some of the Royal Navy initial training. But whatever the decision made, you can be sure that your RNR training will give you a good head-start.

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Q:Can I see if I like it before I apply?
Yes. Where possible, your local RNR unit will encourage you to visit. You  may even be able to attend simple training sessions too. There are also opportunities to attend showcase weekends where you will be given the chance to take part in various activities. Back to top
Q:Can I see if I like it before I apply?
There are regular informal open evenings and recruiting events at Royal Naval Reserve units around the country.  There will be an event happening near you that you can go along to and find out what's involved.  Look on the RN website for more details. Back to top
Q:Can I transfer to another RNR unit if I move to a different part of the country?

Yes you can. Even if there’s no unit near your new home, you may be able to stay in the Royal Naval Reserve, but this will depend on your job role in the RNR.

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Q:Can women join the Royal Naval Reserve?

Yes they can. Currently women make up approximately 25 per cent of the RNR.

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Q:Do all members of the Royal Naval Reserve serve at sea?

No, but much will depend on the job role assigned to you. Many Reservists will work ashore, rather than at sea.

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Q:Do I get paid for the time I work and train with the RNR?

Yes you do. Pay rates vary according to your rank or rate.

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Q:Do I have to tell my employer that I am joining the Royal Naval Reserve?
Yes, you are required to inform your employer that you’ve joined the RNR. Likewise, if you move to a new civilian job you will be required to notify your new employer. Find out more about the effect on your civilian job. Back to top
Q:Do I need parental or guardian consent to join?

Yes, you will require consent if you are under 17-and-a-half years of age.

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Q:Does my RNR service qualify me for the Royal Navy pension scheme?

No. However, there is a Reserve Forces pension which is available to those who mobilise, or take a Full Time Reserve Service contract.

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Q:How do I qualify for RNR pay?

Every two-hour period of  training equates to a quarter day’s worth of pay. Your unit will advise you of the current rate of pay for your rank or rate.

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Q:How long after joining the RNR could I expect to be called out on mobilised service?

If you have no previous military experience you cannot be mobilised until you have reached ‘Trained Strength’. This means you must have completed your initial training and some branch training too. Therefore, you will probably have served at least two years before you are required for active service.  For those that have previous experience, you could be called out almost as soon as you join the RNR.

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Q:How long do I have to sign up for?

For ratings, the normal period of engagement is in 5 year blocks, up to the age of 45. Beyond the age of 45 extensions can be granted and it is possible to serve up to 55, depending on the current requirements of the RNR. Officers are on a continuous commission until 55 with a review point every 6 years.

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Q:How long is a tour of mobilised service?

A tour of duty is usually 6 months, supplemented with some pre-deployment training. On completion, you will be entitled to paid Post Operational Leave.

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Q:How long will it take me to become qualified?

A person with no previous military experience should assume it will take no more than two years to complete initial training, whether as a rating or officer.  Then the reservist has to start ‘branch training’ for a specific job. This can take a further  two years.  You will then join the ‘trained strength’ of the RNR. It may seem a long time, but it all needs to fit around your day job.

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Q:How long will the application process take?

From start to finish it usually takes between 3 and 4 months. There are quite a few checks to be made, and you will be asked to submit various papers. The quicker you are, then the quicker the process will be. But do not despair - while your application is being processed, you can start training at your local unit.

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Q:How much time will I need to take off work to complete the recruiting process?

The Armed Forces Careers Offices will try to arrange many of the procedures on the same day.  Sometimes it’s not always feasible so we would suggest you plan on having to take two days off work.

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Q:I already have Naval Service experience so what training will I be doing?

This very much depends on whether or not you were classed as ‘trained strength’ in the Royal Navy, and which RNR job is assigned to you. You’re not expected to attend New Entry training – you are more likely to undertake your branch training at weekends instead. But you will still be expected to play an active part in your local unit.

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Q:I am disabled can I join?

If we accept your application, you’ll have to pass a full medical examination. If you fail to meet the minimum required standard for entry because of an illness, injury or other condition, we won’t be able to offer you a place in the Royal Naval Reserve.

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Q:I am in full-time education am I liable to be called-out?

No. People in fulltime education are not called for mobilised service.

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Q:I have previous Royal Navy service - am I guaranteed a place in the RNR?
Wherever possible the Naval Service aims to retain expertise, but as the RNR undertakes different roles to the Royal Navy, so it may be that we don’t require your specialisation. Find out more about opportunities for ex-Regular personnel here Transfer-Opportunities Back to top
Q:I live overseas can I join?

To join the Royal Navy you will need to be a national of Britain, Ireland or the Commonwealth. If you have dual nationality, you can still join. But some roles have stricter requirements than others for security reasons.

If you’re a British national living abroad you can still apply. And if you don’t meet the residency criteria, don’t worry. You might still have the chance to join the Royal Navy on a short term security clearance until you reach the standard period of residency.

National service

If you have dual nationality you will have to provide written evidence that you’re not required for national service either now or in the future.

Commonwealth citizens

If you're a Commonwealth citizen and want to join the Royal Navy as a regular you must have resided in the UK continuously for the previous 5 years, with no single period of absence in excess of 180 days at the point of your application. This residency requirement does not apply to citizens of the Republic of Ireland, Malta and the Republic of Cyprus.

If you wish to join the Maritime Reserves you will need to provide evidence that you've been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. To do this you will need to be in possession of an appropriate Residency Permit or equivalent document. ILR is sometimes referred to as Settlement.

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Q:If I am mobilised do I have to go?

Occasionally a call-out notice could prove very difficult at work or at home so there is a procedure for you, or your employer, to appeal against mobilisation.

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Q:If I find I can no longer make the commitment how much notice must I give?

We recognise that personal circumstances can change so if you feel you have to leave the RNR you are required to give a month’s notice, in writing.

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Q:Is there an Equality and Diversity policy for the Royal Naval Reserve?

The RNR is part of the wider Naval Service which is fully committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

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Q:What about discipline - is there much?

Today’s fighting services rely on self discipline and good team-work, rather than any harsh methods. But you are a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and you are subject to the Armed Forces Act when undertaking Naval duties and training. Training can be demanding and tough, and the decision to join the Royal Naval Reserve is yours – and yours alone.

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Q:What are of the benefits of being a reserveRoyal Naval Reservist?
You’ll be paid at the same rate as your full time equivalent colleagues in the Royal Navy for every drill night and training weekend, as well as when you are deployed for longer, which is £36.03 per day increasing each year and with promotion.  When you successfully complete your minimum training to the necessary standard you’ll also qualify for a yearly tax-free bonus which we call a ‘bounty’. This is on top of the pay you get for each quarter day that you train. At the moment it’s £428 for your first year, rising to £1,691 a year after five years of service. Back to top
Q:What are the age limits for joining the Royal Naval Reserve?
The normal age limits are 16-40. If you are ex-Royal Navy, the upper limit is 45 years. There are exceptions – these are shown within individual Job Roles  Back to top
Q:What are the key reasons people join the Royal Naval Reserve and what are the benefits?
Most people join because they want to be part of the Royal Navy. As well as the additional income, many Reservists say that lasting friendships and new challenges are the best reasons to join the RNR.
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Q:What are you looking for in a Royal Navy Reservist?
We are looking for people who are seeking a challenge in a vital military role alongside their existing family and work commitments. This requires a great deal of dedication, energy and enthusiasm but is extremely rewarding and offers huge benefits to your civilian work life. Back to top
Q:What happens if I am unable to attend every weekly training evening at my unit?

Some absences from weekly training are understood and accepted, providing you have made the unit aware beforehand.  Being a Reservist is a big commitment so before applying to join you must ask yourself if you will be able to make the time, on a regular basis.

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Q:What happens to my civilian work when I am mobilised?

Your job is protected during your mobilised service.

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Q:What is the Admiralty Interview Board - AIB?
Specialist Officers, and ratings aspiring to become officers, will be required to attend the two-day AIB at HMS Sultan in Hampshire.  Find out more about the AIB here.Admiralty-Interview-Board-AIB Back to top
Q:What kind of job will I be doing in the Royal Naval Reserve?
As a New Entrant you will need to get through your initial training before you start training for a specific job.  Near the end of your initial training, you can state your job preferences, but ultimately jobs are assigned according to the current manning requirements. Find out more about roles within the RNR here.Roles-in-RNR Back to top
Q:What level of commitment will I be required to make?

Each year you will be expected to complete your annual training commitment of 24 days. This is usually made up of a 12-day continuous training period and a further 12 days of training made up of weekly training evenings and some weekend training.

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Q:What nationalities can join the Royal Naval Reserve?

To join the Royal Navy you will need to be a national of Britain, Ireland or the Commonwealth. If you have dual nationality, you can still join. But some roles have stricter requirements than others for security reasons.

If you’re a British national living abroad you can still apply. And if you don’t meet the residency criteria, don’t worry. You might still have the chance to join the Royal Navy on a short term security clearance until you reach the standard period of residency.

National service

If you have dual nationality you will have to provide written evidence that you’re not required for national service either now or in the future.

Commonwealth citizens

If you're a Commonwealth citizen and want to join the Royal Navy as a regular you must have resided in the UK continuously for the previous 5 years, with no single period of absence in excess of 180 days at the point of your application. This residency requirement does not apply to citizens of the Republic of Ireland, Malta and the Republic of Cyprus.

If you wish to join the Maritime Reserves you will need to provide evidence that you've been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. To do this you will need to be in possession of an appropriate Residency Permit or equivalent document. ILR is sometimes referred to as Settlement.

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Q:What training can I expect to be doing when I first join a unit?
Assuming you have no previous military experience, you will be issued with a Task book and told to attend the unit each week for New Entry training. You will need to prepare for your first two weeks of full-time naval training at HMS Raleigh. The in-unit training is a mixture of classroom work, fitness training and practical naval tasks.  Back to top
Q:What will I be doing as a Reservist?
You'll support the Royal Navy in its peacetime, military and humanitarian operations, which involves visiting new places and experiencing things you never would in your day-to-day life. You'll have the opportunity to put your skills and knowledge to use in the best possible way, which requires a lot of training. This of course requires a commitment from you but you receive great monetary rewards, experience action and adventure, develop confidence, self-discipline, leadership and teamwork skills. Back to top
Q:Whats the policy on drug use?

We do not tolerate drugs in the Royal Naval Reserve or any area of the Naval Service.  If you’re found guilty of drug use, you will usually be discharged from the service and may be prosecuted.

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Q:Will a criminal record stop me from joining?

Not necessarily. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, convictions are said to be ‘spent’ after a period of time, which varies according to the offence. Provided you have no ‘unspent’ convictions, a criminal record should be no bar to entering the Royal Naval Reserve. You local Armed Forces Careers Office or RNR unit will be able to advise you.

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Q:Will I always be part-time?

Yes, unless you’re either called out for permanent mobilised service, or you’re accepted on a Full Time Reserve Service contract.

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Q:Will I join the Royal Naval Reserve as a Rating or Officer?

Most entrants to the RNR join as ratings, particularly if they have no previous military experience.  The exceptions are Merchant Navy officers, medical officers, chaplains, and occasionally nursing officers – all of whom will be recruited for their specialist civilian skills, and will enter as Specialist Officers.  Ratings’ training provides invaluable background knowledge. As your career develops, you may be considered for promotion to the commissioned (officer) ranks.

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Q:Would physical injuries like a sporting injury prevent me from joining the Royal Naval Reserve?

This will depend on the scope of the injury. Injuries that prevent or reduce mobility could bar you from entry.  Seek advice from the staff at your local Careers Office.

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Submarines

Q:Are there any special perks to working in the Submarine Service?
Yes. When you qualify as a Submariner you'll get a bonus of £5,000. You’ll also then receive extra Submariner pay that ranges between £12.24 to £26.93 a day. Plus when you're on operations, you'll receive the additional operational Submariner pay of an extra £5.29 a day. Back to top
Q:Can I see if I like it before I apply?
Yes. We run four-day acquaint courses on the south coast and in Scotland, which are designed to give you a taste of life during initial training and on a ship or submarine, as well as a chance to ask questions and find out more about the different options available to you. It's free to attend and we'll even pay your travel costs. Back to top
Q:Can I see if I like it before I apply?
Yes. Your Careers Adviser or Area Careers Liaison Officer will be able to arrange a Potential Officer Visit to a Naval Base or Royal Navy shore base so that you can take a good look round, see all the facilities, eat and stay in the Wardroom (officers' mess) and mix with other officers. You will be shown presentations and have the chance to ask lots of questions to help you make a decision. Back to top
Q:Can I visit a submarine?

Yes at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport they have an actual submarine that is permanently open to the public. Their website can be found at the link below.

WWW.Submarine-Museum.co.uk

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Q:Can you feel the waves on a submarine?

It depends on the size of the waves on the surface. During normal weather conditions, a submerged submarine will not rock with the motion of the sea.

In fact, during moderate storms the submarine remains level at its submerged depth while the waves crash above. In extremely violent storms, like hurricanes or cyclones, wave motion can reach to a depth of 400 feet; though not as violent as the surface, these waves can cause a submarine to roll 5 to 10 degrees either way.

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Q:Can you get e-mail on a submarine?

With today's technological advances, it is possible to send e-mails to the submarine whilst it is alongside in harbour. The Royal Navy is investigating the possibility of expanding the e-mail connection to the submarine at sea, but only if this is possible without compromising submarine security.

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Q:Can you hear whales dolphins and other sea creatures?

Yes. Modern Sonars are designed to enable us to listen for other man made noises such as ships or other submarines; but they are also able to hear the natural sounds of the sea, these are referred to as "Bio".

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Q:How are submarines named?

All Royal Navy vessels are named by a committee of senior officers and civil servants who meet at various times to discuss the naming of new ships and submarines. Things that are taken into consideration are, famous names from Naval history e.g. HMS Trafalgar, the type or class of the vessel e.g. if it is a "City" class frigate HMS Cardiff etc. When all the talking has been exhausted, the announcement will be made and another famous name joins the Fleet.

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Q:How big is a submarine?

An SSN is approx. 85 x 10 x 10 metres and weighs in the region of 5000 tons when submerged.

An SSBN is larger at 150 x 13 x 12 metres and weighs in excess of 15000 tons.

A London double-decker bus is 10 x 5 x 3 metres and weighs about 4 tons

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Q:How deep can a submarine go?

Submarines can dive to depths in excess of 250 metres.

The actual depth is classified.

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Q:How do submarines dive and surface?

To dive or submerge the submarine, valves on the top of the very large ballast tanks are opened.

This allows the air in the tanks to escape; at the bottom of the tanks are holes that allow the seawater to flood in.

As water is heavier than air, the submarine becomes heavier and therefore sinks in a controlled manner.

To surface the submarine, the valves on the top of the ballast tanks are shut, high-pressure air is pumped into the tanks and the water is forced out through the holes at the bottom. The tanks fill with air and "float" the submarine to the surface.

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Q:How do submarines find their way around?

Submarine Navigators use normal navigational charts just like any other ship, but probably pay more attention to depth of water than most ships.

Submarines have computers that know how fast the submarine is going and in what direction. This computer can also sense when the submarine changes direction. Submarines also have an aerial that can use the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites.

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Q:How do the crew receive medical attention?

All submarines carry qualified medical ratings and there are standard operating procedures for any medical emergencies that are beyond their skills. If the submarine is operating in areas that make it unsuitable to evacuate casualties, then they will embark a submarine qualified doctor.

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Q:How do you communicate with the outside world?

Submarines use specialised radios and aerials that can communicate with shore bases and other ships, either directly or via a satellite. The submarine can communicate either by voice or by written word.

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Q:How do you get air on a submarine?

A submarine obtains air in two ways: bringing it in from the outside whilst on or just below the surface or making it from seawater. When on the surface or at periscope depth, the submarine will "suck" air in through its "induction" system, which is a mast that is raised and then operates just like a swimmers snorkel.

To produce air when underwater, the submarine uses machines that take in seawater and break it down into hydrogen and oxygen (water is H2O). The hydrogen is discharged back into the sea, while the oxygen is used to allow the sailors to breathe.

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Q:How do you get letters on a submarine?

Letters and parcels addressed to a submarine while it is at sea are forwarded to the next port they are scheduled to visit.

If a submarine is on an operational trip then it is sometimes possible for short messages to be sent at specific times; these "familygrams" are about 40 words long and each sailor from the CO to the most junior sailor gets the same amount.

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Q:How do you get rid of waste on a submarine?

Submarines store their waste until a suitable time alongside, when they dispose of it as we dispose of any waste in our own homes. If there is no opportunity to dispose of waste ashore, then there are International laws sets down for the disposal of waste at sea. Any waste that cannot be disposed of at sea is stored and removed at the next port visit.

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Q:How does one escape from a sinking submarine?

British submarines have two escape routes called "towers", which can be used to escape from stricken submarines. These towers are located at each end of the submarine so that all personnel have access to one or the other.

The sailor gets into the tower dressed in a special escape suit, shuts the door, floods the tower with water, the outer door opens and the sailor floats to the surface. The special escape suit, is an all in one waterproof overall, that has a built in hood that can be inflated to enable the escaping sailor to breath normally on his way to the surface.

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Q:How far away can you hear other ships?

Using sonar it is possible to hear other ships many miles away while underwater. If the other vessel is very noisy then the distance can be in excess of 75 miles. Sonar reception is very dependent on water temperature, other activity in your area and the weather on the surface.

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Q:How fast can a submarine go?

Modern nuclear submarines can travel at speeds in excess of 25 miles per hour and can maintain this speed indefinitely, so allowing the submarine the ability to go anywhere in the world quickly and quietly.

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Q:How long can you stay underwater?

Nuclear Submarines are able to produce their own indefinite supply of air, water and power for driving the submarine forward. It's only limitation for staying submerged is the amount of food on board, or if they sustain a major defect.

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Q:How long does the nuclear fuel last?

Nuclear fuel has an indefinite life, due to the decay rate of radioactive products. However when fitted to the propulsion system of a submarine, the fuel is renewed at every "re-fit", which is when the submarine receives a major overhaul. Each submarine is expected to receive a re-fit every 5 -7 years.

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Q:How many missiles and torpedoes are on a submarine?

The exact amount of missiles and torpedoes carried by UK submarines is classified, however each submarine will carry sufficient weapons to carry out its task.

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Q:How many people are there on a submarine?

Crew size depends on the class or type of submarine, but a typical British submarine would have a crew of around 120 officers and men, which compares to the original crew of the first British submarine that had a crew of 8

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Q:How many submarines do we have?

The present complement of submarines within the RN is; 4 in number SSBNs, based at Faslane on the West coast of Scotland, approx. 25 miles from Glasgow, and 11 SSNs split between Faslane and Devonport in Plymouth.

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Q:How old is the Commanding Officer on a submarine?

On average the Commanding Officer of a submarine will be between 35 and 45.

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Q:How safe are Nuclear reactors onboard?

Safety is a submarine's top priority. The submarine is designed and operated to ensure that the crew, the public, and the environment are protected from the risks of radiation.

The ship is designed with "shielding" around the reactor to reduce radiation levels. Radiation levels are very low, so much so that a submariner gets less radiation at sea than a person on a beach receiving radiation from the sun and other natural source

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Q:What are the differences between classes of submarines?

"Hunter killer" submarines (designated SSNs by the RN) are designed to pursue and attack enemy submarines and surface ships using torpedoes. They are also able to carry "cruise" missiles for use against shore-based targets. This type of submarine is used to conduct surveillance and intelligence gathering tasks as well as other types of classified operations. Ballistic missile submarines (designated SSBNs) carry long-range nuclear warhead missiles. They roam the oceans of the globe avoiding contact, to ensure that their anonymity is not compromised. The ability to strike at any time has ensured that deterrent value of SSBNs, or "Bombers", has proved effective in preventing attack on the UK.

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Q:What are the promotion prospects?

You will enter the Royal Navy as an Able Rate. If you’re successful in your initial training, promotion is then on merit. If you work hard and show commitment you can work your way up through the ranks. Also, if you show the right potential and academic ability, you may also have the chance to become a Commissioned Officer.

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Q:What are the promotion prospects for a Officer (Submariner)?
For all officers, the promotion prospects are excellent. The earlier you join, the more skills you'll be able to develop, which in turn help with your eligibility for promotion. You'll automatically be promoted to Lieutenant as long as you pass your professional training and perform to the required level. After that, promotion to Lieutenant Commander and beyond is all based on merit and potential. Back to top
Q:What are you looking for in a Chef?
As a Chef in the Royal Navy you’ll need plenty of commitment, enthusiasm and common sense. Like working in any kitchen, you’ll need to be calm under pressure, organised and have an eye for detail. Above all, you should thrive on working as part of a team.

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Q:What are you looking for in a Chef (Submariner)?

You’ll be responsible for providing your 120 crewmates with three nutritious meals a day as well as ordering and storing ingredients, managing the dining area and food hygiene practices. When you’re in port, you might even be entertaining royalty. Whether you’re mass catering or preparing fine dining, your passion for food needs to shine through.

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Q:What are you looking for in an Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering)?
This is a skilled engineering role, so you’ll need to be technically minded with an interest in electrical and mechanical systems and equipment. You’ll also need plenty of commitment, enthusiasm and common sense. Above all, you need to work well as part of a team. Back to top
Q:What clothes do you wear when at sea?

The crew of any submarine wears the same working clothes as any other sailor in the Navy. An advantage that submariners have, is, that as they are not exposed to the elements, as much as their counterparts in surface ships, then they don't have the need for lots of warm and waterproof gear, which is a good thing as they don't have much space to store it.

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Q:What do you eat?

Submariners eat everyday food like you would find on any table in a British home.

Imagine shopping for 120 men for 6 months and planning every meal in that time! The fresh fruit, vegetables, and dairy products don't last if the submarines programme takes it away from port for any length of time, but the chefs on board have become masters of creativity and invention.

Typical meals would be full cooked "English" or cereals for breakfast; filled rolls, burgers or pizza for lunch, and a chicken, pork or mince dish for supper. Every week there will be a "special" menu.

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Q:What does it feel like to be on a submarine?

Although it is difficult for most people to imagine living on a submarine, challenging submarine living conditions actually build strong fellowship among crewmates.

The crew is highly motivated and quickly adapts to the conditions. It is a busy life of watches, work and exercise drills. There are four meal times per day with breakfast, lunch, supper and a midnight meal for the watch changeover.

Sleep is taken during the off-watch periods, and submariners soon become adept at dropping off to sleep as soon as their heads touch the pillow. Submarines are normally quieter than their surface counterparts, and tend to be more stable due to the depth. The air is cleaner than the outside air and many submariners notice the strong smell of the ocean when the hatches are opened after a long spell at sea.

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Q:What does it look like through the periscope?

Just as is seen in films, there are dashed lines on the eyepiece of a modern periscope, which aid the operative in gauging distances.

However, a modern day submarine periscope is much more than just an eye on the outside world. They are more often then not fitted with TV cameras, radio aerials and other electronic gadgets.

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Q:What does sonar sound like?

Active sonar makes sounds very much like the "pings" you've heard on TV programmes or in films. Submarines don't usually use "active" sonar as this can give away their position. Instead they use "passive" sonar; passive sonar only listens, so no noise is put out into the water.

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Q:What does the crew do in their spare time?

Typically, the submarine day is divided into 4 x 6-hour slots or watches. The majority of the submarine crew is divided into 2 watches, which will spend 6 hours "on-watch" followed by a period of 6 hours "off-watch".

This cycle is repeated for the entire time that the submarine is at sea. When "on-watch", the crew will be actively operating their assigned equipment. When "off-watch" the crew will basically eat and sleep.

Obviously reading, TV and studying for exams will also take up time. There are also limited facilities for keeping fit, with most submarines carrying an exercise bike, rowing machine and an assortment of free weights.

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Q:What happens to old submarines?

Conventionally powered submarines were disposed of either by selling them to other friendly nations or by scrapping. Nuclear powered submarines are disposed of, by taking them to a port where there are facilities to remove all the equipment that can be re-used.

After the removal of all non-essential equipment, the submarine is monitored to ensure that the nuclear power plant is still safe and that there are no harmful emissions. This monitoring will continue until it is decided that the nuclear fuel is safe to be removed and disposed of safely.

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Q:What is sonar?

SONAR (Sound Operated aid to Navigation And Ranging) is the system that provides a submarine with its underwater ears and eyes. It is used to detect other ships and submarines, undersea mountains, and can tell the submarine what is happening in the alien environment around it.

There are two types of sonar: Active and Passive. When operating in the Active mode, a submarine will send out a pulse of sound into the water and listen for the echo of that sound to return but this is rarely used. Passive Sonar operates by listening for the sounds emitted by other vessels and then carries out analysis of these sounds to determine the characteristics of that vessel.

Skilled passive Sonar operators are able to determine the number of propellers fitted, the number of blades on each propeller, and from this, name the individual class of vessel.

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Q:What is the starting salary for a Marine Engineer Officer (Submariner) And are there any perks to being a Submariner?
Your annual starting salary will be £24,971 increasing to £30,014 on passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College. After one year of service your salary will increase again to £30,807. You’ll also receive a qualification bonus of £27,000 paid in three instalments throughout your training.  This is to reward you for the extra qualifications you require to be an Engineer Officer in the Royal Navy.  There are also some great perks to being a Submariner. When you qualify as a Submariner you’ll get a bonus of £5,000. You’ll also then receive extra Submariner pay that ranges between £12.24 to £26.93 a day. Plus when you’re on operations, you’ll receive the additional operational Submariner pay of an extra £5.29 a day. Back to top
Q:What is the starting salary for a Marine Engineer Officer?

Your annual starting salary will be £24,971 increasing to £30,014 on passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College. After one year of service your salary will increase again to £30,807. You’ll also receive a qualification bonus of £27,000 paid in three instalments throughout your training.  This is to reward you for the extra qualifications you require to be in the Royal Navy.

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Q:What is the starting salary for an Officer (Submariner)?
Your annual starting salary will be £24,971 increasing to £30,014 on passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College. After one year of service your salary will increase again to £30,807. You’ll also receive a qualification bonus of £27,000 paid in three instalments throughout your training. This is to reward you for the extra qualifications you require to be an Engineer Officer in the Royal Navy. There are also some great perks to being a Submariner. When you qualify as a Submariner you’ll get a bonus of £5,000. You’ll also then receive extra Submariner pay that ranges between £12.24 to £26.93 a day. Plus when you’re on operations, you’ll receive the additional operational Submariner pay of an extra £5.29 a day. Back to top
Q:What is the starting salary for a Logistics Officer (Submariner)? And are there any perks to being a Submariner?
Your annual starting salary will be £24,971 increasing to £30,014 on passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College. After one year of service your salary will increase again to £30,807. There are also some great perks to being a Submariner. When you qualify as a Submariner you'll get a bonus of £5,000. You'll also then receive extra Submariner pay that ranges between £12.24 to £26.93 a day. Plus when you're on operations, you'll receive the additional operational Submariner pay of an extra £5.29 a day. Back to top
Q:What kind of professional skills will I develop?
We'll help you gain a number of academic qualifications, from GCSEs, A-levels and even a degree. You can also work towards NVQs and other vocational awards. Back to top
Q:What kind of professional skills will I develop?
You'll be able to work towards an NVQ in Business Administration. We'll also help you gain other academic qualifications, like GCSEs and other key skills that are also recognised and valued by future civilian employers.You can also become a member of a number of professional organisations such as the Institute of Administrative Managers. Back to top
Q:What kind of professional skills will I develop?
You'll be able to work towards an NVQ in Hospitality. We'll also help you gain other academic qualifications, like GCSEs and other key skills that are also recognised and valued by future civilian employers. Back to top
Q:What kind of professional skills will I develop?

You'll be able to work towards an NVQ in Warehousing. We'll also help you gain other academic qualifications, like GCSEs and other key skills that are also recognised and valued by future civilian employers.

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Q:What kind of skills will I need as a Communications Information Systems Specialist?

Being part of the team that mans some of our nation’s most powerful weapons is an enormous responsibility. You’ll be in charge of maintaining vital communications while on covert operations so you need to be efficient, thorough and utterly reliable.

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Q:What kind of skills will I need as a Warfare Specialist Sensors?
Being part of the team that mans some of our nation’s most powerful weapons is an enormous responsibility. You’ll be using advanced sonar systems to detect and listen to other submarines and ships. What’s more, you’ll be giving those in command advanced warning of potential threats and targets, while also making sure your submarine stays safe and undetected. It’s essential that you enjoy working with cutting edge technology, are decisive, organised and thoroughly reliable. Back to top
Q:What kind of skills will I need as a Warfare Specialist Tactical?
Being part of the team that mans some of our nation’s most powerful weapons is an enormous responsibility. You’ll be giving those in command vital information putting you at the heart of a tight-knit team. It’s essential that you enjoy working with cutting edge technology, are decisive, organised and thoroughly reliable. Back to top
Q:What skills will I develop as a Marine Engineer Officer?
You'll have the chance to study for an MSc or MA at a later stage in your career. What's more, your professional training forms part of a streamlined route to become a Chartered Engineer with the IMechE or IMarEST. These are all internationally recognisable qualifications that are highly valued by civilian employers. With the Royal Navy's nuclear submarines you will also get to work with some of the most cutting-edge technology available in the world today. Back to top
Q:What types of mission can submarines carry out?

Depending upon whether it is a hunter killer or a missile submarine, a submarine is capable of performing many important tasks.

Sea Control (denying the ocean to hostile naval forces through ant-submarine and anti-surface warfare) Anti-Submarine Warfare (detecting and destroying hostile submarines) Anti-Surface Warfare (detecting and destroying hostile surface ships) Strategic Deterrence (launching retaliatory strikes against any nation attacking the UK with nuclear weapons) Landing Special Forces (performing covert infiltration of hostile regions by commando forces) Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (listening for hostile electronic communications and information) Carrier Group Support (providing intelligence and undersea protection for aircraft carriers and their support vessels) Cruise Missile Strike Capability (striking ground targets with conventionally armed warheads)

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Q:What weapons are on a submarine?

Submarines carry torpedoes, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.

Torpedoes are for use against other ships or submarines in time of war.

Cruise missiles allow the submarine to target sites that are several hundred miles from the nearest sea.

Ballistic missiles can be fired at targets that are many thousands of miles from the sea, and are used as a deterrent, to prevent other countries from waging war on Great Britain.

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Q:Where are submarines built?

At the present time all UK submarines are built at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, and over 50% of all UK submarines have been built there.

In the past submarines have been built in Birkenhead Merseyside, and on the Clyde in Scotland.

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Q:Where do you sleep?

On British submarines there is an area set-aside as the "bunk space", which contains all the beds or bunks for the crew. Each bunk is approx. 2 metres long by 1 metre wide by 1 metre high, and is often shared by two men who are in different shifts or "watches".

The principle is; as each man gets up to go "on watch" he rolls up his own sleeping bag, and rolls out the sleeping bag of the man coming "off watch". During the normal operations of a submarine the sleeping area will only be lit by dim red lights, so as to enable the off watch sailors to sleep. The only man who has his own room, or cabin, is the Commanding Officer.

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Q:Who does the laundry?

As fresh water is at a premium on board a submarine, the use of the washing machines is strictly controlled, and only certain members of the crew are allowed to operate them.

Therefore the normal laundry routine is; each day will be for a specific item of clothing e.g. Monday - Overalls Tuesday - Working clothes.

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Q:Why are submarines painted black?

It helps them to hide. If you were to look down at the sea from above, then it would appear as a dark depth, so it is sensible to paint the submarine a colour that will blend into the background.

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Q:Why can a submarine go quicker underwater than on the surface?

A submarines "tear drop" shape allows it to slice cleanly through the ocean when there is water surrounding the hull. When a submarine is on the surface the water and air mix to create turbulent conditions that produce an invisible "barrier" that pushes against the submarine, thus slowing it as well as causing it to roll and yaw.

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Royal Fleet Auxiliary

Q:What is the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service?
The primary role of the Service is to supply the Royal Navy at sea, with food, fuel, ammunition and spares it needs in order to maintain operations away from its home ports. Back to top
Q:What qualifications are needed to join?
For a position as a Trainee Rating, you'll require a basic level of secondary education - a lot of training is 'on the job'. To be accepted onto our Officer Cadet programme, you'll need a minimum of 5 GCSE's at grade 'C' or above, including Maths at grade 'B' or above, English and Physics or Dual Science. If you have good passes at 'A' level in these subjects, you could enter our Foundation Degree Officer Cadet programme. The RFA also looks to employ experienced seafarers, across all specialisations, with the required MCA certification. Back to top
Q:Are there any age limits?
The age range of those accepted for Trainee Rating positions is over 16 and up to 62 . For Officer Cadetships, the age range is over 15 9 nine months. There is no upper age limit. Back to top

Equality Diversity and Inclusion

Q:Can women join the RN?

Women can join the Royal Navy, Royal Navy Reserves, QARNNS and Royal Marines Band Service and serve in all branches; however female personnel are currently excluded from serving as Royal Marines Commandos. This Armed Forces (AF) policy is regularly reviewed.

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Q:Why are women not allowed to serve in the Royal Marines?

There are a number of roles in the AF which are closed to women on grounds of medical or combat effectiveness/team cohesion. Those roles are; Royal Marines Commandos; the Household Cavalry and Royal Armoured Corps; the Infantry and Royal Air Force Regiment. However, we do have women who serve in the Royal Marines Band Service, and there are females who have passed the All Arms Commando Course. This allows them to serve in support of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines. This legal exemption from discrimination law is regularly reviewed.

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Q:Can I be LGBT and serve in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines?

Yes. The Naval Service is interested in people with potential to do their job, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender.

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Q:What is the Royal Navy's ethos regarding Equality and Diversity?

Our ethos is inclusive; it welcomes and appreciates differences and we are committed to ensuring that every individual has equality of opportunity for employment, training and advancement based solely on merit, and that they can be themselves at work to achieve their full potential in an environment that is trusting and open.

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Q:What is your policy on bullying and harassment?

Bullying and harassment in the Naval Service is not tolerated; our people should be able to work in an environment free from intimidation, humiliation, harassment or abuse. Any allegations of discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimization will be addressed with impartiality using clearly laid down MOD processes.

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Q:Are there any restrictions on age that will limit my employment in the Naval Service?

Under Schedule 9 of the Equality Act 2010 the AF have an age exemption on the grounds of combat effectiveness. The delivery of fighting power is primarily the preserve of youth. AF personnel have to be able to respond to a wide range of operational circumstances in the most challenging environments. In order to maintain combat effectiveness and the ability to respond immediately in an emergency, all posts in the AF carry with them an underlying commitment for deployment. For this reason we tend to recruit most of our personnel from the younger end of the age spectrum. Thereafter, the best of these people are progressed to Command positions at non-commissioned and officer level. Unlike other employers, the AF cannot bring personnel in to fill senior positions as they will not have had the required experience. There is a range of compulsory retirement ages for AF personnel based on rank.

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Q:I’m disabled. Can I join?

If we accept your application, you’ll have to pass a full medical examination. If you fail to meet the minimum required standard for entry because of an illness, injury or other condition, we won’t be able to offer you a career with the Royal Navy.

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Q:What support is provided for Naval Service personnel with families?

The Naval Service provides a wide range of support to families of serving personnel. These include; flexible/alternative working patterns (operational commitment permitting), statutory maternity and paternity provision, support from the Naval Families Federation, Naval Personal and Family Service and RM Welfare groups providing comprehensive social work, community and advice service to Naval Service personnel and their families. Many Naval and Royal Marine establishments provide crèche facilities for working parents.

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Q:If Naval Service personnel are deployed on operations, what arrangements are in place for their children?

The Naval Service has an interest in helping sailors and marines balance the needs of their employment with their family life. However as sailors and marines, serving parents or carers must be available for deployment at any time and thus have a responsibility for ensuring that they have arrangements in place to care for their children or dependant adults should they need to be away. Advice and guidance for serving parents is available from Career Managers and Naval Service support networks. AF policies allow serving couples with dependant children to accommodate only one serving parent being deployed at any one time.

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Q:What are the Naval Service Core values?

Commitment, Courage, Discipline, Respect for Others, Integrity, Loyalty

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