Ratings: Stages and standards

So, you’ve decided to join the Royal Navy as a Rating, but before you can start your training, we need to conduct a number of physical assessments. Once successfully completed you can begin your Royal Navy journey. To help you prepare, here are the three stages that you will have to complete.

  1. Pre-joining Fitness Test (PJFT)
  2. Candidate Preparation Course (CPC)
  3. Initial Naval Training (INT)

Each stage has its own assessments, where you’ll need to meet them to prove you’re up to the physical demands required to commence your Royal Navy training. Don’t worry, we are not looking for Olympic athletes, simply to ascertain you are suitably prepared and ready to commence your Royal Navy journey – we will then take you to the required fitness levels during your Initial Naval Training.

'Get fit to join' is here to help you get ready for each stage. You can navigate through the process, see exactly what you are required to pass, and find out how you can give yourself an edge.

Candidate Preparation Course (CPC)

The Candidate Preparation Course (CPC) is a four-day course that all Rating candidates must attend before Basic Training. Once you have been given an entry date (or in some cases waiting for one), you will be invited to attend the CPC. 

The CPC takes place in one of two places; either at HMS Sultan in Hampshire or MOD Caledonia in Rosyth. 

This course is designed to ensure that the Royal Navy is right for you and you are right for the Royal Navy. It gives you the opportunity to get a taste of life in the Royal Navy, ensures you are prepared for your Initial Navy Training at HMS Raleigh and gives you an understanding of what is expected of you when you are there.

The content includes: 

  • Your Initial Naval Training programme
  • Introduction to expected fitness standards, Initial Military Fitness (IMF) and swim test 
  • Our ethos and values (C2DRIL)
  • Kit maintenance, marching, discipline, teamwork and personal responsibilities 
  • Visit to a surface warship (CPC South) or submarine (CPC North)
  • You will be required to pass the Royal Navy Fitness Assessment, following which you will be given direction on training and exercise you must conduct prior to joining the Royal Navy
  • You will be required to pass the Pre-Joining Swimming Test. After completion of this you will be encouraged to conduct the Naval Swimming Test (NST) which you must pass in your first week at Initial Naval Training

It's also your chance to meet new people - and potential future crew mates - who are all at the same stage as you. At the end of the four days, you will be able to approach the next stages of your Royal Navy career with confidence. 



Running guide

Running will be an essential part of your Initial Naval Training. Some guides to give yourself an edge are below.

2.4 km run on tarmac

Body conditioning exercises

Body conditioning is an important element to ensure you remain physically capable and conditioned for service life.

Body conditioning exercises

Naval Swimming Test

To join the Royal Navy or Royal Marines you must be able to swim.  The Naval Swimming Test is conducted in a swimming pool, where you will need to display your ability to operate in water.  To pass the Naval Swimming Test you must be able to jump into deep water wearing overalls and tread water for 2 minutes.  On completion, you must be able to swim 50 metres (2 lengths) in a further 4 minutes – again in overalls – without touching the side or bottom, before climbing out unaided from the deep-end.  In addition, you are expected to jump off a 3m diving board to simulate falling overboard.  Non-swimmers will not be eligible to progress forward in to basic training.

Swimming assessments


Swim pass time:

50m within 4 mins

Treading water:

2 mins in overalls

This is a pass or fail assessment


Tread water

Additional information

Some additional tips to help in your preparation can be found below.

Additional advice