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Job Role
Apprentice Seamanship (RFA)
Job Role

Apprentice Seamanship (RFA)

You’ll develop all the skills you need for a successful career at sea, where your role is crucial to the efficiency of the Royal Navy.

  • No qualifications
  • Royal Fleet Auxiliary
  • Warfare
  • Rating level

At a glance

This is no ordinary apprenticeship, for people who want to become extraordinary sailors. It’s a civilian role, but the skills you develop and the work you do are crucial to the efficiency of our operations.
When you’re on ship you have your own cabin, with Sky TV and en-suite shower, which means no matter where you are in the world you always have your little home from home.


Seamanship Apprentice

Role details

What you’ll do

Becoming a Seamanship Apprentice in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) is your opportunity to develop the skills needed for a successful career at sea. This is a civilian role, but the work you do on a daily basis is crucial to the efficiency of the Royal Navy. You’ll be integral to Replenishment at Sea (RAS) operations, transferring fuel and supplies to some of the most advanced warships in the world. This is no ordinary apprenticeship, for people who want to become extraordinary sailors.

Your role

  • You’ll start as a Trainee Deck Rating, where you’ll need to be ready for action anytime, day or night. Our vital operations don’t fit within the traditional 9 to 5, so you’ll need to work on a shift pattern and thrive on the adventure that comes with refuelling our warships at sea.
  • Use your skills as a natural team player to work side by side with your crewmates, while all the time learning about life as a sailor under the guidance of your senior officers.
  • Gain a solid grounding in all aspects of professional seamanship, learning new skills on the job, and gaining an in-depth knowledge of Royal Navy standards and equipment.
  • You’ll have crucial duties to perform as part of the ship’s company, including firefighting, first aid, and being a member of the damage control team.

Pay & benefits

  • A starting salary of £16,500+
  • Earned Voyage Leave (EVL) of 7 days for every month spent on board ship
  • Membership of a Civil Service Pension Scheme
  • World-class training
  • Potential to travel the world

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Able Seafarer Deck Level 2 Apprenticeship 
  • Gain a Level 1 BTEC Diploma in Functional Skills Maths, English and ICT
  • MCA certification that is financially supported by the RFA

Skills you'll develop

  • Learn all about life at sea and what it takes to be part of a professional ship’s company
  • Become a complete seaman, with all the core skills you need for a successful career



  • Aged at least 17 years 6 months to apply, and 18 years to commence employment. There is no upper age limit
  • No qualifications are required for this role
  • 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
  • Need to have confidence with jumping into water and the ability to wade whilst wearing a life jacket

Skills & interests

  • A passion working on board ship
  • Great at working as part of a team
  • Happy working outdoors in all weather
  • A sense of adventure

Joining process

From picking your role to starting on your first day, these are the steps you'll take to join as a rating.

Got a question?

Our virtual recruiter is available to answer your questions 24 hours a day

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