Information for families

We think of the Naval Service as a 30,000-strong family, spanning the four corners of the world. If you have a family of your own and are considering joining, a member of your family is thinking about it, or he or she is already in the service or training, consider yourself part of our extended family.

Support for your family member

With a family member in the Naval Service, families and friends can experience unique pressures, situations and circumstances. Concerns are natural and everyone goes through them – even the families of long-serving personnel.

But with extensive benefits, a dedicated welfare team (Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare (RNRMW)) and a far-reaching support network, help is always a click, tap or phone call away.

Support for your family

If you already have a family, or one’s on the horizon, a career in the Naval Service can seem daunting, and understandably so. Global operational necessities mean that there can be extended periods of time away from home, for example.

We make sure families are very well looked after. From the wealth of practical benefits like generous maternity and paternity leave, through to a thriving community of like-minded people sharing the same experiences, help and support are always at hand.

Your questions answered

Can I stay in touch during training?

Contact during training is straightforward. For ratings, basic training lasts 10 weeks, and takes place at HMS Raleigh, a shore base in Torpoint, Cornwall, not far from Plymouth. Officers spend 30 weeks at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth.

Once this initial phase is complete, however, both ratings and officers start their role-specific professional training. This varies enormously, and can include time at sea, so staying in touch will depend on the demands and location of the training.

Holidays: How often and for how long?

All Royal Navy personnel get six weeks of paid holiday every year (on top of public holidays), along with additional allowances for time spent at sea, for certain roles. Generally, there are three main leave periods per year: Easter, Summer and Christmas. However, there can be flexibility in these dates, but this depends on the role, and the unit and its operational commitments.

How do I stay in touch during operations?

Operational demands take priority, naturally, but we make every effort to ensure our people can stay in touch with their loved ones at home.

  • At shore units, they can use Ministry of Defence (MOD) email facilities and WiFi to access social media platforms. Mobile phones are allowed, unless security measures restrict using them.
  • On surface ships in UK waters or when the vessel is alongside (moored in port), they can use MOD email facilities and their own mobile phones.
  • On deployment, MOD email is still available, but, for security reasons, access very much depends on the ship’s operational task. All personnel have access to satellite phones, with at least 30 minutes of free calls every week.
  • On submarines, security is paramount, so short messages can be sent and received via the Familygram system.

What are the risks of being in the Naval Service?

Whether we’re rescuing people to safety in a humanitarian aid mission, or helping to resolve a global conflict, the very nature of what we do brings with it certain risks. Operational working environments are protected by the strictest health and safety rules; operations are directed by Naval Command, whose extensive experience and training means they can deal with any situation that may arise.

Welfare and benefits:What can families expect?

Families of serving personnel are entitled to a raft of benefits. These include:

  • People Support Organisation is the Royal Navy’s welfare function. It includes the Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare (RNRMW), who deliver both emotional and practical support to the Naval Service Community through information and communication, community centres and activities, and specialist support when required. The Royal Navy Forum is an online function, available and moderated 365 days a year for families to ask questions directly to naval staff, and connect with people in a similar situation. Naval units often have closed Facebook pages for family and friends to stay in touch, as well as the official presence on:
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Youtube
    • Instagram
  • Service Family Accommodation (SFA) is available after basic training, for married couples, civil partnerships and serving lone parents. There is also service accommodation available for short-term rental if families want to visit.
  • Armed Forces Childcare Vouchers help working parents pay for childcare, by converting part of earning parent’s salary into vouchers before tax and NI are taken.
  • Longer separation allowance provides extra daily pay when personnel are away for extended periods on deployment.
  • Continuity of Education Allowance helps our personnel achieve continuity of education for their child (or children) if or when they’re on frequent assignments, both at home or overseas. It means service personnel’s children have the education they need while their parent is fulfilling their naval duties.
  • Help with travel, if the serviceman or woman’s family lives away from the Unit. We offer an allowance to help them get home.
  • Defence Discount Service is a membership card entitling serving personnel to discounts on everything from cinema and National Express tickets, clothing and food outlets, to cars and phones.
  • Railcards mean discounted rail travel for the whole family.
  • Sports and education facilities are available to service personnel and their families living close to a unit.

What’s the maternity and paternity leave policy?

Serving personnel are entitled to up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave (26 weeks on full pay, then 13 weeks on Statutory Maternity Pay) or two weeks’ paternity leave on full pay, with the option for shared paternity leave.

For further information please visit our welfare section.