Qualified Marine Engineer Officer (RFA)

Service:Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Marine Engineer Officer inspecting equipment

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

As a Qualified Marine Engineer Officer in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), you’ll provide the power we need to deliver vital logistical and operational support to the Royal Navy, wherever they are in the world. Without you, the crucial work of the RFA would grind to a halt. It’s an engineering career of the utmost importance, where you’ll oversee work on some of our largest-scale kit.

If you have questions, talk to us

The role

  • Wherever you’re stationed, you’ll be responsible for specific mechanical systems, mentoring and providing guidance for your ratings.
  • If you like getting your hands dirty, you’ll enjoy the satisfaction that comes from finding innovative solutions to the most complex mechanical problems.
  • Work towards the same MCA certification that you would in any merchant navy, but with the additional responsibility that comes from powering the engines that fuel our ships.
  • Become an expert in a mix of diesel-electric, slow and medium speed diesel propulsion systems, as you work across the RFA fleet. 

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • A streamlined path to becoming a Chartered Engineer
  • MCA certification that is financially supported by the RFA

Skills you'll develop

  • An in-depth knowledge of Marine Engineering principles
  • The ability to lead and manage a highly skilled team


Career progression

You’ll be chosen on merit subject to working hard and getting your tickets quickly and can progress rapidly through the rank structure to Second Officer and then First Officer. As a Chief Officer you will be responsible for the Marine Engineers and the smooth running of your department and as a Captain will lead the entire engineering department of the ship. As you attain higher MCA Certificates of Competency and advance to Second then First Officer, some of the RFA Marine Engineering department’s shore posts will become available to you. This will allow you to continue your professional development by gaining experience within the fleet’s operations and maintenance support organisations, building the foundations for your future success as a senior officer.

What you'll need


  • Aged at least 17 years 6 months to apply, and 18 years to commence employment. There is no upper age limit
  • HND, or higher, in Marine Engineering
  • ENG1 medical certificate, unrestricted for worldwide sea service
  • The certificate of competency you have will determine which level you enter the RFA. You must have one of the following: Officer of the Watch (unlimited); Second Engineer (unlimited); Chief Engineer (unlimited)
  • Four elements of basic training, updated iaw Manila Convention 2010
  • Personal Survival Techniques (STCW Code-Table A-Vl/1-1)
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (STCW Code-Table A-Vl/1-2)
  • Elementary First Aid (STCW Code-Table A-Vl/1-3)
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (STCW Code-Table A-Vl/1-4)
  • Must be British, Irish or Commonwealth citizens. However, a number of career paths have nationality restrictions. Dual Nationality will be considered providing the first nationality is British. Note: Residency restrictions may apply

Skills and interests

  • An ability to thrive on responsibility and lead from the front
  • Confidence making key decisions in high-pressure situations
  • A problem solver, with a common sense approach, who can work well as part of a team
  • A love of all things mechanical
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

  • Apply - Fill in an online application form

  • Eligibility – We will request copies of certification to ascertain your suitability for the role

  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA) – You will be asked to attend an Armed Forces Careers Office close to your home where you will conduct the DAA

  • Interview – On successful completion of the test you will be invited to Portsmouth for a Suitability Interview that will confirm that you’re ready for the Admiralty Interview Board (AIB). See how you can prepare here

  • Admiralty Interview Board (AIB) – This stage is unique to officers and takes place in two parts. A Pre Recorded Interview (PRI) is an online assessment which assesses your motivation to join the Royal Navy as an officer and your awareness of the Royal Navy. The Group Planning Exercise (GPE) is the second stage of the AIB and is an online competency based assessment which will take place on a separate day to the PRI. It will be conducted in a virtual group environment and you will be assessed on your contribution to the team based on your individual performance

  • Training – If successful, you will be offered a place at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) Dartmouth where you will begin your initial training

Initial training

You’ll begin your career at BRNC in Dartmouth, developing your leadership, communication and teamwork skills. Your 10 weeks will provide an introduction to the Naval Service and you’ll get the chance to put your new skills into practice during exercises on the River Dart before participating in the passing out parade where your family and friends will have the opportunity to witness you completing the first element of your training

The engineering skills you already have will be bolstered with training targeted to develop you in your role as a Qualified Marine Engineer Officer in the RFA. This will include fire-fighting training at specialist Royal Navy training centres and functional training courses related to the machinery you will be maintaining, including specialist military equipment.

There's also a swimming test, so if you can't swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.