Life as a Royal Marines Reserve

Want to be part of an elite military group? Experience real adventure? Answer your country’s call when it needs you? Then the Royal Marines Reserve might be the challenge you’ve been looking for.

The road to the green beret won’t be easy. You’ll have to go through the same initial training as your full time colleagues – and prove yourself worthy. If you’re right for the job you’ll join a select group of about 600 people who combine their civilian jobs with serving as part-time, fully trained Commandos.

Just like regular Royal Marine Commandos, you’ll learn to deploy your skills in any location, environment and terrain. Once you have some experience under your belt, you’ll have the chance to specialise in the critical skills that make us a self-contained fighting force. That could be anything from assault engineering, to anti-tank warfare and signals.

Case study

Royal Marine
Royal Marines Reserve

Jon is a software developer in his civilian career but a career in the Royal Marines always appealed to him.

While he was at university he found out about a Royal Marines Reserve unit based nearby. He liked the flexibility that being a Reservist offered him, letting him balance his military aspirations with his civilian job.

To him, being a Reservist is all about making lifelong friends. 


The shared experiences make you pull each other along through training. Every time I thought I couldn’t go on, I’d just look at the other lads and think what a waste it would be to give up after all we’d been through.

Commando training

Now the real work begins with basic training at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines in Lympstone, Devon. Have you got what it takes to make it through and join the reserve ranks?

Find out more

Eligibility & qualifications

What we are looking for

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 Navy.



The entry requirements for becoming a Royal Marines Reserve are different depending on whether you want to join as a General Duties Marine or as a Royal Marines Officer.

General Duties Marine

  • Age: 17 to 32.
  • Nationality: British, Irish, Commonwealth or British dual citizenship.
  • Qualifications: No specific qualifications are needed for this job.
  • Sex: This job is open to men only

Royal Marines Officer

  • Age: 17 to 26.
  • Nationality: British or British dual citizenship. Nationality restrictions may apply for certain specialist jobs.
  • Qualifications: 180 UCAS points and five GCSEs (A* to C) or Scottish Standard grades or the equivalent, which must include English and maths. If you have other qualifications, we will consider your application individually.
  • Sex: This job is open to men only

Career Progression

Skills for life

Because you’ll have to go through the same training as your full time colleagues, you will get all the specialist skills you’ll need to excel at being a Royal Marines reserve. As well as some that will benefit your civilian life as well – like basic first aid, firefighting. You will also learn command, leadership and management skills.

But the learning doesn’t end with your initial training. You will have constant opportunities to develop and build on the foundations you’ve laid.


Like all careers in the Royal Marines, where and how far you go during your time as a reserve is up to you – and depends on your choices and achievements. Show the dedication and ability that’s needed of a reservist and you could be promoted on merit.


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. Your particular career path will depend on the needs of the service, and any previous military experience and existing specialist skills you may have.

Pay and Benefits

Although, as a reservist, you’re a volunteer, that doesn’t mean we expect you to do it for free. Quite the opposite. 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.


Transferrable skills

As well as qualifications and specific military training, serving with the Royal Marines Reserve will help you develop other skills and personal qualities that will prove invaluable in any civilian line of work. The leadership potential, self-discipline, self-motivation and ability to work in a team you’ll gain through the Royal Marines Reserve will be of enormous benefit to your employer and co-workers and greatly improve your employment and promotion prospects.

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 £395 for your first year, rising to £1,556 a year after five years of service.


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


How to join

Joining process


1. Get in Touch by filling out a simple form or calling 08456 00 32 22.
2. Attend an Initial Careers Presentation (ICP) at a careers office near you.
3. If you’re still interested, then fill out a short application form.
4. We'll book you in for the Royal Navy Recruitment Test (RT). Find out more.
5. Next you will have a formal interview with a career advisor.
6. Take the medical tests and the Royal Navy pre-joining fitness test. Take a look at our fitness programme.
7. Pass the Pre royal Marines Course (PRMC)
8. Join the Royal Marines Reserves

Find out more about the joining process

Your commitment


Being part of the Royal Marines Reserve isn’t just a hobby. You’ll be a trained member of the UK’s elite amphibious forces, with all the responsibilities that go with this unique military job. So you’ll need to make sure you keep your skills and fitness at a consistently high level.


In order to do this, you will have to do a total of 26 training days a year. But these aren’t all in one block. They’re divided up as follows:


Non-continuous training (NCT) – 12 days each year

This is made up of midweek drill nights and weekends. Each two-hour drill night is equivalent to a quarter day’s training, so doing four will give you one day’s NCT. Weekend training, which normally runs from 20.00 hours on Friday to Sunday afternoon, counts as 2.5 days. Most Reservists are with us for at least one weekend a month.


Continuous training (CT) – 14 days each year

If you can, we prefer that you complete your CT each year as a single 14-day block. We understand that sometimes your work or other circumstances may make this difficult. If you have valid reasons, your Commanding Officer may allow you to do it in several shorter periods (each no less than 72 hours) to make up your 14 days.




As a Royal Marines reserve you’ll almost certainly go on at least one operational tour of duty during your service. You could be called out, or mobilised, to serve anywhere in the world in response to a military threat, or a natural or humanitarian disaster.


This will happen once you’ve completed all three phases of your training. During your mobilisation, which can last anywhere from a few weeks to 12 months, you’ll serve alongside regular Royal Marines, doing exactly the same work – in identical conditions.


You may also have the opportunity for longer-term service with the regular Corps under a Full-Time Reserve Service (FTRS) contract. This will normally be for up to two years, during which time you’ll be paid the same as your equivalents in the regular Royal Marines.


In recent times, Reservists have seen active service in Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, the Caribbean, Georgia, the Congo, Iraq and Afghanistan.