A few questions

Hey guys,

I’ve always been interested in a career at sea, and first intended to apply for the Royal Navy (as I posted on here approximately 1 billion years ago, I think). However, as my eyesight (pre-laser eye surgery) was pretty poor, that’s out for the foreseeable future. I’ve been looking at the RFA as a deck officer cadet, and it seems an excellent way of ‘doing one’s bit’, working with the R.N. and getting out at sea – rather than being stuck in a damn office all day long.

I noticed that the recruitment literature makes a point that RFA officers are able to take various warfare and military-style navigation courses, and that the commodore attended some senior staff courses. How common is it for RFA officers to get this extra level of training? They would seem like amazing qualifications to ‘stand out’ from the rest of the merchant naval crowd. Particularly think the Point Defence Officer course looks interesting.

Would there be any opportunities for RFA officers, slightly (or much, much) later on in their career, to work in shoreside positions? Either in dock or at Whitehall/Northwood/Excellent et cetera?

I currently hold a CTC clearance, it’s a bit of a long-shot but does anyone know if that would shave off some time from S.C. vetting? It took long enough to get the first one!



War Hero
I'm sure I've posted on this before. RFA Officers from experienced 2/O and 1/O are seen on Intermediate Command and Staff Course, 1/O and C/O Advanced Command and Staff Course, 1/Os on PWO Course. There are Staff appointments ("being stuck in a damn office all day long") for RFA Officers, probably why some of them go to Staff College.

I don't know what the MCA rules are on laser corrected eyesight for deck officers so before you get too excited, check the MCA Approved Doctors' Medical Guide.

Credit for CTC? No idea.
MCA guidlines are that eye surgery would be a six-month bar, which is fine. It's a very specific part of the JSP950 I failed, namely the pre-operative refraction being taken into consideration. It's a Forces-only requirement, not come across it in any other emergency service/merchant navy capacity. Thanks for the info, it's appreciated.


Lantern Swinger
Would there be any opportunities for RFA officers, slightly (or much, much) later on in their career, to work in shoreside positions? Either in dock or at Whitehall/Northwood/Excellent et cetera?
As Seadog pointed out there are opportunities to work ashore, whether in the dockyards, abbeywood, northwood, excellent or the navy's training establishments, however we are primarily a maritime organisation and there are relatively few posts at each of these places. Obtaining one is also not part of your regular appointing routine, you have to apply, be interviewed and if found suitable move temporarily onto a different set of contractual terms and conditions.

Basically shore jobs are a necessary evil, but to be in the RFA you have to want a career at Sea on ships and you should plan on that if you wish to join.

Everyone in the RFA does some sort of training course with the Military, whether its our Assistant Cooks doing their inital training at HMS Raleigh, Engineers learning how to repair our defensive weapons at HMS Collingwood or Deck Officers learning how to fit the use of them in with their ship handling (PDO). Whether this will make you stand out in a good/bad way to the Merchant Navy crowd very much depends what they want from you and how good you are at your normal merchant navy style job.

As for SC Vetting, your responses for your CTC will be on file, whether they speed things up or not, who knows? the vetting agency moves at its own speed.


War Hero
There are some outstanding RFA Captains: ship handlers, navigators, PWOs, diplomats, ambassadors, resourceful, great communicators who have never been to Staff College but know Defence inside out and their RN nominally equivalents, look up to them.

I'm told that if Captain Kyd been unable to take QNLZ on sea trials, the stand-by was an RFA Captain.

The most senior serving RFA Captain has 20 years in the rank and a PhD. Those who know him - I don't- say he has a brain the size of a planet.

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