Joining up - time on, time off

Hi all, just a quick question about joining up as a seaman specialist.

I would like to know what the period is before / after deployment, the time in between. What do you get up to, is it time on the ship at port or does it count as annual leave?

I've gotten to the point in my current career where I feel it is no longer a specialist area (web designer) and that I don't want to be sat behind a desk for the next 50 years :p

I apologise if this seems like a daft question, but just trying to find out as much as I can :)

Thanks !


War Hero
The one thing about the Navy is it has always been difficult to plan ahead by more than six months with any degree of certainty, so the reply is one of those Donald Rumsfeld known knows.

What you do know is that you get six weeks + bank holidays off per year. What you don't know is whether or not you will take them in two week blocks, as the majority do, at Christmas, Easter & during August.

What is known is that when an operational ship is alongside in UK or overseas, you'll get, on average, a minimum of 3 out of 4 evenings and weekends each week when you can go ashore/possibly go home (depending where home is).

When your ship sails, depending on tasking, you could just be at sea a day, a week or a month, but you are not usually at sea continuously for periods in excess of about a month without a port visit on average ...even if your ship is away from UK for 9 months, you won't be.

If the ship beploys for 9 months you'll usually get a couple of weeks pre-deployment leave (on top of your leave allowance), up to four weeks leave mid-point (during which you can usually fly home if you don't wish to take foreign leave) and when the ship returns to UK, you'll usually get a couple of weeks post-deployment leave.

On average, whilst serving on a ship, you will average about 60/40 shore/sea time. (ish). If the ship does deploy for 9 months, you have a known know you won't be doing it again for a couple of years.

The concept many "don't get" is that a warship, by its very nature does not run a predictable schedule, like a merchant vessel. It goes where it's needed and stays there until it's needed somewhere else more urgently. For this reason, life can be unpredictable when your itinery is governed by world events.
Thanks for the answer, theres some good info in there. Mothers don't half worry!

What I need to know now before sending off my application, is if the recruitment people will get in touch with my current employer or not. I'm in a rented property at the moment, and wouldn't want to get the sack before starting my navy career ;)


War Hero
In addition to NS very good reply
It is difficult to explain what happens to a ships company on a run ashore in a port not their own, having been at sea for a month, if you wake up not feeling well with no money in your pocket and someone has thrown your clothes all over the place, you can assume you had a good time, do not worry about the apparent loss of memory as someone from your ship is bound to have seen you and will be able to tell everyone at great length what you have been up to, even if you think it is a pack of lies and physically impossible, and no one would have gone with Her/Him?
If you wake up stone cold sober, you were possibly duty.


War Hero
The RN won't get in touch with your current employer unless you nominate them as a referee. Simple tip: don't nominate your employer as a referee if you do not wish them to know you are applying to join the RN.

References aren't sent until you at least pass the recruiting test, so if you have nominated your employer, you've time enough to ask your AFCO not to send a reference request.
If you are alongside in a foreign port, and you have a weekend off, are you billeted somewhere? Or are you left to find your own accommodation at your own expense?
If you are alongside in a foreign port, and you have a weekend off, are you billeted somewhere? Or are you left to find your own accommodation at your own expense?
Unless you're a submariner, you stay onboard unless you want to spend your cash on a hotel (if allowed to).


War Hero
When outside of UK on a warship, you'll find Mondays are known as Day One, Sundays Day Seven. Apart from the numerical difference, day one can very often be remarkably similar to day seven.

There are sea and harbour routines which govern the working day, but as a warship is a "living being", we don't all routinely bugger-off ashore simultaneously, remembering to lock the front door and unplug the telly, under normal circumstances.

Approximately a quarter of the manpower will complete a 24 hour duty, remaining on board in case it spontaneously combusts. Or something.

When overseas, most personnel manage a trip ashore. Even if only to buy a postcard. Burp. :)

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