The first University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) was founded in 1965 in Aberdeen. The success of the organisation has led to the present configuration of 14 URNUs, which at any time offer support to 700 undergraduates from the country’s leading universities in England, Scotland and Wales. The aim of the URNU is: To broaden Naval understanding and develop undergraduates who show potential to become the leaders of tomorrow, through maritime experience and exposure to the values and ethos of the Royal Navy.
University Royal Naval Units
Membership of an URNU offers the following advantages:
- High quality instruction which is RYA accredited
- Regular sea training in a Royal Navy warship
- Exciting travel opportunities – this year students are deploying to the Baltic, Norway and Continental Europe
- Development of your leadership potential and boost your employability
- Access to the Royal Navy’s sports and adventurous training facilities
- An insight into career opportunities within the Armed Forces
Each URNU is commanded by a RN Lieutenant who is responsible for 51 undergraduates during their time in the Unit. It is not a recruiting organisation and membership of the URNU carries no obligation to join the Royal Navy on graduation. Each URNU also looks after sponsored undergraduates who have already been successful in applying to join the Royal Navy. For more information on Royal Navy careers and sponsorship opportunities available whilst studying at university, explore the careers pages of this site.
Training is conducted one evening a week in shore units at or near the University, and at sea over weekends and during the vacations by a dedicated Archer Class Inshore Patrol Craft. Explore the following map to find your nearest URNU and the universities that it covers.
For more information contact your nearest URNU or the URNU headquarters in Portsmouth.
F12, Lancelot Building
HM Naval Base
Telephone – 02392 726367
First Patrol Boat Squadron
The First Patrol Boat Squadron (1PBS) is formed from the 14 P2000 Archer Class Fast Inshore Patrol Craft that are primarily tasked in support of the University Royal Naval Units (URNUs). The Squadron headquarters are in Portsmouth, from where Commander 1PBS exercises control over 14 ships dispersed around the UK’s coastline.
Archer Class vessels are frontline warships that are able to conduct a diverse range of tasks. Their small size enables them to fly the White Ensign in places that no other warship can reach, providing a Naval presence across the UK and Continental Europe. Each ship provides direct support to a dedicated URNU, taking students to sea at weekends and during university leave periods. The ships are also kept busy supporting activities outside of their URNU tasking, in order to fulfil the 1PBS mission statement:
To provide high-quality Sea Training experiences in support of the URNU mission and to deliver P2000 operational capability in support of other Fleet tasking.
Other Fleet tasking includes but is not limited to:
- Fulfilling Fleet commitments in UK and foreign waters, including high profile port visits
- Navigation training, from BRNC cadets up to Specialist Navigators
- Support to Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST)
- Support to exercises and trials
- Youth outreach, including taking Sea Cadets and Combined Cadet Force (CCF) to sea
- Regional engagement in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Each P2000 is commanded by a RN Lieutenant, with 4 other permanent Ship’s Company and space for up to 15 more personnel. When operating on URNU business this is typically made up of 12 students and a Training Officer, but it can also include an embarked military force, VIPs and the media. The versatility of these vessels and their geographic spread makes them the ideal platforms to support a wide range of Naval activities in all parts of the country.
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