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How Much Time Spent Away From Home?


So now that I'm in the RNR, I've got a few options that I'm working on as my full time of which is my NATS application to become an ATC, another is my business that I've run for 3 years and the other option is going full time RN.

I'm 30 now so I have a few years to decide what I'm doing before it's too late to enter.

However, a question I never seem to get a straight answer for is this: how much of the year do you actually (usually) spend away from home? We have friends who are married and one is in RN and one in RAF and they somehow seem to manage to live in the same place at the same time most of the year.

I know deployments are usually 6 months max but how often are you deployed in the full time RN? What do you do when not deployed? Do you spend the time at home relaxing or are you usually based somewhere onshore doing other jobs in between?


War Hero
Super Moderator
Unfortunately that's an un-answerable question, it all depends on which branch you are, which ship you're on etc.

If not deployed you're still onboard the ship, so will be tied up with the maintenance period, how heavily involved with that will depend on your branch,

Some ships/submarines are away for 10 months, some are away for a matter of weeks.

It's a question that can't be answered definitively.


Lantern Swinger
Which branch is of interest to you? That will probably allow us to give you a better answer.

If you could answer this for me, I'm intending to join as an ETME.

It's suddenly just became a realization for my girlfriend and she's beginning to get uneasy. And as far as I am aware Engineers tend to get postings all the time?
You will not do more than 660 days away from your base port in a rolling 3 year period.

You will not deploy for a sustained period for 16 months if you do more than 210 days away from base port in one stretch.

You may or may not have shore assignments in addition to your sea assignments - there is an absolute aspiration to do so, but we need to have useful and demanding jobs to send you to!


War Hero
Unit Tour Intervals (UTI) guidelines by service

Naval Service: Fleet Units to spend maximum of 60% deployed in 36 months. These conditions of service apply to the whole RN, inclusive of Royal Marines Commandos, Commando Helicopter Force and Fleet Air Arm, even though Tours in Afghanistan see the Marines deployed in support of the Army, in a scheduled built to Army guidelines: as such, the 3rd Commando Brigade normally deploys every 4 tours. (4 x 6 = every 24 months, as army units)

[This can be exemplified by observing how 42, 45 Commandos and 29 Commandos Royal Artillery have deployed in Herrick V, then again on Herrick IX and are doing so again as part of Herrick XIV, with their deployment to be complete by April. 40 Commando deploys, under Army command, also every 24 months: it did so, for example, in Herrick VII and then as part of Herrick XII, and will deploy again in Herrick XVI]

Note that, however, the RM Commandos add to these tours a whole range of other long term deployments away from home, since their role is to cover Artic warfighting, which requires yearly exercises in Norway, and they are also tasked with Amphibious Assault, for which at least one full Commando unit embarks for a yearly exercise (currently Cougar 2011, in the Mediterranean).

Army: 24 month average interval between unit tours. Tour length is normally 6 months.

RAF: 16 month average interval between Unit tours, with a tour lenght of 4 months.


Lantern Swinger
The RAF are moving to 6 month tours I am led to believe.

The t45's are now deploying for 9 months, with a 2 week 'guaranteed' r&r period back to the UK (if you want it) somewhere in the middle.


Which branch is of interest to you? That will probably allow us to give you a better answer.
I'm interested in either seaman specialist or CIS specialist, does you have any idea what the differences are in terms of time on - time off?


War Hero
Super Moderator
I'm interested in either seaman specialist or CIS specialist, does you have any idea what the differences are in terms of time on - time off?

if you mean leave, the leave allowances are the same for every branch, if you mean sea time..dunno.


if you mean leave, the leave allowances are the same for every branch, if you mean sea time..dunno.
2 weeks at easter summer and christmas?

signing up to get out of an office environment, be challenged and see the world. Do you reckon those roles are a good choice? I'm good with computers and owt logical.


War Hero
Super Moderator
6 weeks leave per year plus extra accrued when your away, when you can take it depends on what the ship is doing, you will see the world and you will be challenged, both branches have they're good and bad points (as do all branches) but as I was neither of your choices, I couldn't say what the pro's and cons of either one are.


Anyone worried about how much they're going to be away before joining is probably ill advised to go for seaman spec, imo.

I mean that less for deployment length than for the number of drafts ashore vs at sea.
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