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Been offered ETWE Boats... Need advice!

pumber21

Badgeman
hi all

Looking for opinions of current/ex submariners.. Currently awaiting a start date for gen service WE, but have been offered a sooner start date for WE submariner....

Not choosing based on start time alone however ive been told I will need to wait a year for entry to surface fleet (ive just done pjft!) so it seems a bit ridiculous

Submarines look very appealing but I'm just worried about implications on long term aspirations, how long can people really handle the submarine lifestyle for? I want to make a long career out of my choice.

How long on average do you go without home contact?

Would you recommend boats? Long term?
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
Best bet? Ask your AFCO if you can go on a Submariner Look at Life course and/or attend a briefing by the Submarine Recruiting Team.

There's no obligation to become a submariner but at least you will learn first hand, the current positives & negatives so you may make an informed choice from those actually serving in the submarine service right now.
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
I did 30 years on boats but as an ME.

Normal dived period 3 months, although you can (and will) do longer deployments on SSN's but there will be opportunities to fly home for leave.

As an ET(WE), if you go SWS (Strategic Weapon Systems) you'll be looking after Trident missiles with little or no chance of getting off bombers (and practically zero foreign runs ashore)

If you go TWS (Tactical Weapon Systems) you'll look after Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles with the options (later on in your career) of specialising in either weapons, sonar, radio + radar or fire control and can switch between SSN's (hunter/killers) or SSBN (Trident missile boats).
 

pumber21

Badgeman
@WreckerL that's great info mate, thank you

Is that 3 months continuous dive? (Wasnt sure they could stay dived that long because of food limits) Or 3 months deployment?

Do you get a choice between S/TWS? Or does it just get allocated?

Yeah i can imagine most ports are not okay with a CASD boat rocking up haha.

Thanks again
 

2_deck_dash

War Hero
When I joined up we weren't offered the choice. Everyone in my class ended up on boats, however I was back classed because I finished training before my 17th birthday (long story).

Anyway, through shear luck, I ended up on destroyers instead of boats.

I left after 6 years having been to over 40 different countries and I walked into a management job that doubled my salary. Getting this job was based entirely on my varied experience and travel and this opened doors to much bigger and better things in the engineering world.

During my time I spent over 8 weeks snowboarding at the RN's expense, went sailing various times and had a ******* good time truth be told. I have very fond memories of my time in the general service and I would do it all again. My submariner mates rarely had any of these opportunities due to A) wanting to spend any precious spare time with their families and B) not actually having as many opportunities to do this sort of cool shit in the first place.

It was our 14th naval birthday yesterday, of the few lads who are still in from my entry and serving on boats, most turned down the 50 grand retention bonus because they couldn't face signing on for another 5 years. Lets just dwell on that for a second, they turned down 50 grand because they disliked the job so much.

Others already had their notice in. A few of them have been to the states a couple of times in their 14 year careers, but other than the cash (which is less than a switched on ex RN engineer can earn in civvy street - it's certainly less than I now earn), none of them really like it.

By way of example, my bezzie oppo who I joined up with and is the godfather of one of my kids, is currently leaving (hopefully to come and work at my current gaff). Despite his boat being alongside, he's still working 1 in 2 12 hour shifts until Christmas. He has a one year old daughter that he's seen for less than a month of her life.

There is a reason there is a shortage of ET(WE) submariners and you're being offered an early start.

Because it's gash.
 
Last edited:

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
@WreckerL that's great info mate, thank you

Is that 3 months continuous dive? (Wasnt sure they could stay dived that long because of food limits) Or 3 months deployment?

Do you get a choice between S/TWS? Or does it just get allocated?

Yeah i can imagine most ports are not okay with a CASD boat rocking up haha.

Thanks again

It's 3 months continuous dive, boats store for 90 days and make their own air and water so no need to come up.

You can opt for SWS or TWS but that doesn't mean you get what you ask for.

As for 2DD's dit, the surface fleet have trouble with retention as there's too few hulls for the jobs asked of them. Most surface fleet end up in the Med or Middle East with the same old runs ashore, the Navy's roles have changed from when he was in (he is now one of his despised PSOF's :) )
 

2_deck_dash

War Hero
(he is now one of his despised PSOF's :) )

Fair one.

However the fact remains that considerably more of my oppos from the surface fleet are still serving, than my oppos who ended up on boats.

They're also much less vocal about how shit the mob is and how seen off they constantly feel. 2 lads from my mess on Exeter are now officers, I also know 2 submariners who left the RN because they couldn't get manning clearance to leave their jobs, despite passing AIB.

And that's within the last 2 years.
 

pumber21

Badgeman
Both really interesting points.

Not that money is particularly important, but on boats it's a massive advantage for me. I'm 19, my CA was saying because of the lack of sundodging WE's a promotion to leading hand is likely within 4 years, so when I'm 23 ish I could be a leading hand boaty on circa 30k. That's better than any civvy job i could hope to get so thats obviously an advantage.

As for runs ashore I obviously have no knowledge of this but I can imagine that boats dont see nearly as much as ships, however when they do go alongside in a foreign port its more of a novelty.

I like the prospects of serving on a boat. Yes there's a reason there are no WE's on boats but then again you there must be a certain type of person to crack that environment and if thats me then I can imagining relishing that sort of challenging environment

If im not that kinda person though it may be too late... Haha

Everything so far's been mega informative so thank you
 

2_deck_dash

War Hero
It's likely you'll hit LH and then PO at roughly the same time, whether you're on boats or ships. Remember on a submarine you'll have to pass all the boat specific stuff and task books long before you can even think about cracking on and working towards getting your rate.

Read up on this new Faraday jazz, basically if you're switched on, you can get promoted very quickly on boats or ships.

I can't argue with the fact that you'll definitely earn more on boats, however I can guarantee from personal experience and the experience of some of my closest friends, that you'll have a better life and more fun on ships. Also there is always the option to go from general service to boats, however if you join the submarine service from the off, you are there for life unless you have a medical issue which stops you serving on boats.

Wanna know exactly what life is like as WE on a ship?

Read this:

http://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/pull-up-a-bollard-memoirs-of-a-matelot.198097/
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
In my experience, although I've never served on boats, those ET(WESM)s who specialise SWS are certainly amongst those who appear least content with their lot. The perception I get is the inability to switch specialisation and the fact as a Junior Rate, for some reason they don't let you loose with a spanner on intercontinental ballistic missiles much. That said, I believe that SWS appear to be justified in their stated cause of dissatisfaction with regard being guardians of a system they are not permitted to maintain.

Those who leave the service for whatever reason, whatever their branch or specialisation are usually the ones who complain the loudest. In some respects, they almost sound as though they are also trying to convince themselves they are morally correct in opting to leave. That isn't to say their gripes are not valid, of course. That said, many would be surprised at the number who later wish to rejoin after discovering the grass isn't always as green as first perceived. The only time you hear them complain is when they are gobsmacked to discover the former employer they burnt bridges with, doesn't always want to re-employ.

Like many jobs, there are nearly always negative aspects which are expressed louder than positive elements. Those who take the retention bonuses were probably staying anyway, but they do not appear to be shouting about accepting the bounty as much as those that didn't. They just chuckle quietly about their affluence and job security.

My tip is simply listen first-hand to the less audible group of current submariners and those who have served on submarines as well as those who may anecdotally complain loudly about the past, before making an informed decision about your future.

Interestingly most submariners serve longer than the minimum period to complete their return of Service, so logically there must be some redeeming aspects for most.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
I also know 2 submariners who left the RN because they couldn't get manning clearance to leave their jobs, despite passing AIB.
Perhaps they had an AIB pass that did not score sufficiently high enough to be selected for their chosen Officer branch. The submarine service, or any other branch, cannot stop promotion if the individual is selected for promotion by AIB. Quite possibly they were offered promotion to SM Officer but not GS Officer, as they may have hoped.

In my experience, those not selected usually blame the service to anyone that will listen, rather than look inward.
 

2_deck_dash

War Hero
Perhaps they had an AIB pass that did not score sufficiently high enough to be selected for their chosen Officer branch. The submarine service, or any other branch, cannot stop promotion if the individual is selected for promotion by AIB. Quite possibly they were offered promotion to SM Officer but not GS Officer, as they may have hoped.

In my experience, those not selected usually blame the service to anyone that will listen, rather than look inward.

Nope.

Both SRs who wanted to continue in branch but as officers. I won't say any further than that for their Persec.

Both scored well from what I gather. Their AIB passes ran out because of the amount of time it was taking for manning clearance. Apparently a pass is only valid for a year?
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
Nope.

Both SRs who wanted to continue in branch but as officers. I won't say any further than that for their Persec.

Both scored well from what I gather. Their AIB passes ran out because of the amount of time it was taking for manning clearance. Apparently a pass is only valid for a year?
They don't need manning clearance to be promoted, they just needed to be selected whilst their AIB pass remains valid. If they did not make the cut, then it was because they scored lower than others who did. It's merit-based selection for Officers, not a branch change & an AIB pass does not guarantee selection or promotion to Officer. (Except in the RNR).

SUY AIB pass is valid 5 years. Direct Entry AIB pass is valid one year.
 

Abnavydavey1

Midshipman
ETWE now covers CIS too, and without being biased I would strongly consider that as a streaming preference. The skills are transferable and shore drafts, although limited, are still there. I'm in one now.

SWS is an absolute no no. I've done the bomber patrols recently. Makes me shiver just thinking about that branch.

But I'll say they same to you as I do every other new joiner I see now. Go GS first. See the world because you will not on boats. You will be told you will but chances are you'll sit in faslane for the next 10 years and the closest to travel you'll get is a trip to the burgh for a pizza crunch.

I'm not saying boats aren't good. They are. Lots of very professional, very dedicated men (and now women) serve on them and once the dolphins are on your chest you will be part of a club that few others do. And the extra money is great.

Some of the old diesel boat ratings on here will disagree and rightly so. I serve with a few ex O Boat ratings now who, although approaching the end of their careers, would probably agree with me.
 

pumber21

Badgeman
ETWE now covers CIS too, and without being biased I would strongly consider that as a streaming preference. The skills are transferable and shore drafts, although limited, are still there. I'm in one now.

SWS is an absolute no no. I've done the bomber patrols recently. Makes me shiver just thinking about that branch.

But I'll say they same to you as I do every other new joiner I see now. Go GS first. See the world because you will not on boats. You will be told you will but chances are you'll sit in faslane for the next 10 years and the closest to travel you'll get is a trip to the burgh for a pizza crunch.

I'm not saying boats aren't good. They are. Lots of very professional, very dedicated men (and now women) serve on them and once the dolphins are on your chest you will be part of a club that few others do. And the extra money is great.

Some of the old diesel boat ratings on here will disagree and rightly so. I serve with a few ex O Boat ratings now who, although approaching the end of their careers, would probably agree with me.

Great info mate, cheers.

What do WE's do (or dont do) on SWS boats that make it so gash?
 

Abnavydavey1

Midshipman
What they do at sea is very little, ditto alongside. But one thing that everyone seems to have addressed is the lack of options OFF a bomber. I do remember those feelings before you join "oh, I won't care about time off a boat! I'm salty as hell and want to be at sea all the time!" But those feelings will fade within about 3 minutes of starting your BSQ and grow as you watch the ROs head off on shore drafts.

Get yourself a copy of jack speak, and look up "throbbing [email protected]!t" and I guarantee it has a picture of a SWS Fag next to it.

TWS isn't a terrible option. Crazy fast promotion and tend to have a decent batch of jobs. The idea that they look after torpedoes covers about 1% of the jobs TWS have onboard, they make up a big proportion of the fwd staff covering a whole range of equipment. There's always one in the shack hauling gear out of racks that they don't totally understand...
 

pumber21

Badgeman
Ah i see... So alongside I would just be plonked inside at Faslane if i ended up SWS?

Sorry... What are RO's?

Yeah ive heard promotion is great with TWS, do you get a choice between them though? Ive heard you can opt S/TWS but your option is not always listened to?

Cheers
 

Abnavydavey1

Midshipman
RO is CIS. Bit behind the times on boats I'm afraid!

Well you can put as many choices as you want on JPA but as to being listened too, don't get your hopes up!

No SWS in GS though!
 

Abnavydavey1

Midshipman
Probably. But I suspect I would've ended up on boats anyway later down the line. And the only reason I would have gone GS was for the travel. The money to start is gash, and you have to live on the bloody things. Get a swanky cabin on boats. Working toilets and everything.
 
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