Young Officers swap classroom for training at sea

Budding Officers-of-the Watch (OOW) have left their classrooms at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) for training at sea in one of the world’s busiest waterways.

Three groups of Young Officers (YOs), who are currently undergoing their Initial Warfare Officer (Foundation) (IWO(F)) course, have each spent a week aboard HMS Puncher, HMS Smiter and HMS Dasher; three of the Royal Navy’s P2000 patrol ships.

Sailing from Portsmouth the OCs were given the opportunity to take control of the ships as they sailed around the Solent and along the coast of the Isle of Wight. 

They also practiced traditional chartwork and fixing to navigate their way around, keeping the ships safe from other shipping and navigational hazards.

Midshipman Joshua Wynn said: “You join the Navy to go to sea and become an Officer-of-the Watch to keep the ship safe while you’re out there.

“This week of the IWO(F) course brings together an array of skills which directly relate to the job of a Warfare Officer, including practical experience of ship handling and ‘rules of the road’. It’s also been good fun.”

The week at sea also gave the YOs the chance to put into practice skills they had learnt in the bridge simulator at BRNC, prior to their return to the College for more assessments.  

Midshipman Thomas Powys Maurice said: “Getting to sea on the P2000s was an amazing experience.  For most of us it was the first time we had ever had the opportunity.

“It was a really amazing training platform as we were put in a high-octane situation from the start.”

After leaving the College, the YOs will all undertake their Common Fleet Time (CFT), receiving more training aboard operational warships across the world.

The Royal Navy’s 16 P2000s provide valuable training platforms for the Young Officers.  They are also associated with various university squadrons around the country.

The University Royal Naval Squadrons (URNUs) offer an insight for future graduates into the the Royal Navy, the role it plays and the opportunities on offer.  Students also get the chance to accompany the ships as crew members to various ports around Europe.

Midshipman Thomas Powys Maurice

Getting to sea on the P2000s was an amazing experience. For most of us it was the first time we had ever had the opportunity.