Advice on whether or not to join as a submariner

loenste

Newbie
Hi, so initially I applied for the Undergraduate Apprenticeship Scheme (UGAS) but upon completing the psychometric test a Warrant Officer at the AFCO advised me on the Accelerated Apprentice Scheme (Submariner) instead. Since doing more research about being a submariner I'm not too sure if the job would be right for me. Having heard that it can be 3-6 months on the submarine with no phone and no contact with friends and family (or the outside world) I think i would be more suited to do the accelerated apprentice scheme but as a marine engineer or weapon engineer on board a ship instead, with the ability to actually see a bit of sunlight in my free time.

Having said that i'm wondering if any submariners could give me any advice on what life is really like on board the submarine? how long you've spent away, is the extra pay worth it etc

Thanks.
 

loenste

Newbie
3 A-levels in maths, physics and technology, and a foundation degree in mechanical engineering.
I have the UCAS points for the accelerated apprentice scheme
 

loenste

Newbie
No I've had a look and I don't think I do. I think the best option would be to go up to my AFCO and talk to someone there
 

soleil

War Hero
That's a good idea.

You will get a broader spread of answers on here later on. WreckerL who is a frequent poster and one of the moderators, was a submariner for 30 years. I'm sure he will have commented by the end of the evening.
 

soleil

War Hero
By the way, the qualifications you would need to join as a Weapon Engineer Officer or a Marine Engineer Officer for example would be:

GCSE: 5 min grade 4/C inc Eng Lang and Maths

UCAS Points: 72

BEng or Meng.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) degrees with be considered.
 
Last edited:

Sumo

War Hero
If you have the option for the accelerated apprenticeship, then consider it, as it is a good opportunity to gain qualifications and get fast advancement in the service. Plus your starting salary is not bad.
Good luck.
Submarines not a bad life.
 

soleil

War Hero
If you have the option for the accelerated apprenticeship, then consider it, as it is a good opportunity to gain qualifications and get fast advancement in the service. Plus your starting salary is not bad.
Good luck.
Submarines not a bad life.
You were a submariner, weren't you, Sumo?
 

slim

War Hero
As an ex Wafu (fleet air arm) radio mechanic I always recommend Gods chosen branch of the service the Fleet Air Arm.
However after I left the RN and joined BAe I found myself working on the SINS navigation system on boats.
The submariners that I worked with were some of the best guys ever and I must admit if I had my time again I would seriously consider boats
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
I would consider going GS and maybe submariner later on, but you are correct, you are completely isolated from the world when at sea. SSBNs ships company get a monthly 40 word "famgram" which you can't reply to but SSNs don't, although on my last long deployment on a boat (6 months duration) we could send and receive emails on the way home. This w was over 10 years ago so it may have changed since.

I did 3 years in the surface world and then 30 years on boats, although initially drafted as a non-volunteer I found I preferred it but horses for courses.
 

fishhead

War Hero
Many of those who have been submariners will tell you that they would have no hesitation of doing the same thing again. Having said that the underwater life is not for everyone. If lungs full of fresh air and sunshine on a heaving deck are more to your liking then stay away. Another consideration is that all the boats are now based in Scotland. There is nothing wrong with that if you like stunning scenery but if you're a southerner it is a fair old trek for any spells of leave to see the family.
 
I loved my time on boats and would definitely did it again. I started my career as an AET and served in multiple ships however once I commissioned (Logs) I went straight to the submarine service. When I initially joined the RN I thought the SM world wouldn’t ever suit me - but it was the best thing I ever did.
 

scabz

Lantern Swinger
Ten years as a sea-going submariner, loved most of it. Would do it again. Great choice for a close-knit professional engineering community, particularly when you have to sort out taxing problems and don't have the option to "phone a friend" ("Submarines - Deep down you know it makes sense").
 
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