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Am I too old for Submarines?



Just looking for some informal advice from the real experts before I meet any kind of recruiting officer.

I am 28 years old; is this too late in life to consider a career in the RN, and indeed submarines? I am considering joining on a commission; will I have enough time in my career to learn the job properly, develop as a leader and demonstrate I have the ability to command?

Also, my eyesight is moderately poor (-3.75 and -3.5); is this a serious problem?

I admit, it may be a complete non-starter as an idea, but curious to find out more before I give up hope.


griffrhys (not real name - I at least read the persec sticky!)


War Hero
Welcome to Rum Ration, GR.

28 is not too old to consider a career in the Royal Navy at all, speaking generally. If I remember correctly, a recruit passed out from HMS Raleigh not that long ago who was one of its oldest recruits - he joined something like 2 days before he turned 37, so made it by a whisker - he is a submariner now, I think. He is a Rating, however; the age range for Officers is different.

At 28 you will find that Warfare Officer is not open to you, as you have missed the cut-off for that. This doesn't mean that other Officer roles won't be open to you; which ones will depend on your qualifications. What do you have as far as GCSEs/A Levels/Degrees are concerned?

Eyesight is assessed for Visual Acuity and Colour Perception; each job is linked to a VA/CP 'score'. An optician will be able to tell you where you come as far as your score is concerned.
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Thanks for the welcome, Soleil.

I have a degree (humanities subject - I assume where is not such an issue) and well above average GCSEs and A-levels (all As, including Maths and Physics).

I assume missing the cut-off for WO means I wouldn't get to play with Sonar, which is a shame! What other paths does that leave for me?

Will my optician have those scores on file along with my prescription (recently had a contact lens test) so I can check them easily, or will I need a new eye-test?

I'll be honest with you, I've let myself go a little bit so I'll need to sort my fitness before a successful application too; but that is do-able...

As you can see I am quite early in my thinking but am giving it serious thought!



War Hero
You will need to have an eye test as part of your application. Your Careers Advisor will help you sort that out.

By the way, even if you feel that you are out of shape, you would be well advised to get cracking sooner rather than later. Don't wait.

Check this out - what appeals to you here?:

Royal Navy


Thanks for the encouragement, howfen....good article, even better avatar!

soleil - looking through the website, the role that interests me the most is warfare but I am far too old for that. Do you know why there is an age cut-off for it?


War Hero
No probaleymo mate, if it is what we want to do, no one or anything should stop us trying, as the article shows, age is nothing but a number. Can't help you with the other question i'm sure someone will.

That's my bird in Avatar you cheeky sod ;-)
If you joined right now, you'd be 12 years behind the majority of Warfare Officers. By the time you had 12 years experience, you'd be competing against blokes upto 15 years younger than you for a shot a Perisher. The role of the RN isn't to give you a job, it's to carry out the political will of our leaders. One of the things we need to do to achieve that is to grow enough Officers to become senior enough to do that. Why give a 50 year old command of one of our 11 SMs when we could give it to a 37 year old, who by the time he is 50 could be an Admiral?


Lantern Swinger
Ok, as I'm starting Uni in 2 weeks and I'll be 20 at the very start of it so I'll finish in 2014 at the age of 22 and a half.


Lantern Swinger
What you doing at uni mate apart from catching STI's and a big debt bill?? :)

History and International Relations. Its been my dream to go in the RN for as long as I can remember but I'm also realistic and want a degree to be a backup in case the RN doesn't work out or something else happens.


War Hero
History and International Relations. Its been my dream to go in the RN for as long as I can remember but I'm also realistic and want a degree to be a backup in case the RN doesn't work out or something else happens.

Nout wrong with that. Good luck.


War Hero
Just out of interest, what is the age cut off for Warfare Officers (Skimmers)?

Warfare Officers and Aircrew must be under the age of 26 on the first day of their month of entry to BRNC.

Logistics Officers must be under the age of 32 on the first day of their month of entry to BRNC.

Engineer Officers must be under the age of 30 on the first day of their month of entry to BRNC. An exception might be made for entrants up to the age of 34 if they have gained relevant industrial engineering experience which would enhance their Naval engineering skills.

Engineer (Training Management) Officers. Ditto.
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