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Marine Engineer Officer - Questions before I fully commit

Hello everyone, have read through a few posts but can't find these specifics, can anyone help?

Plan to join as Marine Engineer Officer and my Degree and all the rest has been checked so I will go to a recruitment test soon.

The reviews of being part of the Royal Navy generally go something like: Great camaraderie, great career development, great travel potential, I WAS made in the RN, but bad work/life balance. How bad are we talking?
  1. How many hours could I be expected to work per day and will the work for Marine Engineer Officers really wear them down? Would it be like others have said for other roles: 6 hours on 6 off for the continuation of deployment? Would there be much free time on board?
  2. There are 6 weeks paid holiday a year, but how easy is it to book 3 or 4 weeks holiday in a row, especially when deployed? Or is it the case, 'I'll work for the RN for a few years then spend the money after, when I have some time'?
  3. I can find in some older documents that the return of service for Marine Engineer Officers is 3 years after completing the approximately two year training. Can anyone confirm this?
  4. Do Officers on a RN vessel only socialize with other Officers? And when at port is it the same there?
It might sound like I don't want to join but really the advantages for me far outweigh the disadvantages, I just do not have questions on the advantages as they were already explained in more detail :D

I would really appreciate help with any of my questions.
Thank you
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
Marine Engineering Officers generally only tend to keep watches on the capital ships (ie, big ones) whilst they are a Sub Lieutenant or Lieutenant.

Those who join frigates and destroyers as a trainee AMEO often keep a standing watch once a day to get themselves trained-up, but apart from when the ship is on a war-footing/higher state of readiness, they seldom keep watches and usually work around 8 hours a day, 12 if watchkeeping.

To put this in perspective, pretty much every Marine Engineering rating keeps watches whenever they serve on a ship and most marine engineering officers will only serve about four years out of 12-14 years service actually in a seagoing billet.

Leave-wise, it depends what the ship is doing but I'd be amazed if a Marine Engineering Officer was unable to take four consecutive weeks leave whilst shore-side. At sea, most seem to take about a three week block in summer with little difficulty.

Return of service, so far as I'm aware is about 30 months.

At sea, Officers, Senior Rates and Ratings live, sleep, socialise, ablute, poo, pee and eat in separate messes in the main, but when ashore, you can socialise with whoever you wish. In truth, you'll probably socialise most with those you have the most in common with but (I hope) gone are the days when it was positively forbidden to socialise with different ranks - assuming of course, they want to socialise with you.
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
Marine Engineering officers on boats watchkeep but not 6 on 6 off, that's for all the other officer branches onboard.

As there's 4 ME officers on board a boat (3 occasionally), you work a 1 in 4 watch system, i.e. 4 on, 12 off but you'll be busy on the 12 off.
 
Our MEs seem to be heading for the "golden duvet" award at the moment, so I wouldn't worry about that.

You'll get one decent block of leave - probably 3 weeks, probably over the summer holidays - but it may vary depending on the ship and programme you have.

no idea.

We try not to socialise with our ME Officers - they're dirty and greasy and talk about flanges and reciprocating foo-foo sockets, whilst drinking each others piss. They fit right in with the ME Senior Rates though.
 
Hi Ninja_stoker, thank you very much for your help! That's good news about the holiday time, I thought 3 weeks in a row would be difficult to get so I'm happy.
I assumed it would be something like that as far as living/socialising was concerned, I'm sure it wont be too bad as long as the boat I'm on has a gym and a boxing bag I will be happy. Do they let you run about on the deck, I know they play games and have the odd BBQ but maybe those are very rare occasions. I mean how confined is life when you're off duty, is there normally plenty of places one can freely walk about on the ship (obviously if it's a big one). That is very interesting about the actual time I will serve on a ship also, I will ask more about that at my interview.

Thanks WreckerL that sounds good to me, now I just need to learn what to do on a watch.

Thanks scabz, least I looked up about the different watches from that!
 
Thanks Alfred, so the 3 weeks is the norm it sounds like. Often hear of longer like 4 or 5 weeks in a row? I only drink my own piss!
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
In case there's any confusion, when I say boats I mean submarines. I don't know what the surface dwelling ME officers do, or if they keep watches. I would imagine it's different for each class of grey thing.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
Do they let you run about on the deck, I know they play games and have the odd BBQ but maybe those are very rare occasions.
Yep unless the paraffin pigeon(s) are flying or ranged on the deck, flightdeck phys sessions and sports fixtures (deck hockey, footie, volleyball, etc) are pretty much routine events.

For those ships that have continuous walkways around the upper deck, the ship usually operates a designated alternating clockwise/anticlockwise running circuit usually at fixed times during the dog watches (1600-2000) to avoid collisions, and to prevent the runner wearing down one leg more than t'other.

Most ships have a reasonably equipped multigym.
 
That's great then Ninja_Stoker I thought it might be all locked down. And hopefully the ship I'm on has a good multigym. Do they normally have boxing bags have you seen? Maybe I could get them to put one up. What was/is your role in the Royal Navy?

I had no idea WreckerL, I didn't think too much about your picture, thank you. Do you still work on submarines? What do you/did you do? What is the minimum and maximum times you have spent under water (in a submarine)?
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
That's great then Ninja_Stoker I thought it might be all locked down. And hopefully the ship I'm on has a good multigym. Do they normally have boxing bags have you seen? Maybe I could get them to put one up. What was/is your role in the Royal Navy?
Punchbags/balls are frequently and usually available - always fun when the ship's lolling about though, so they's usually tethered to stop them hitting you back.

I used to be a Marine Engineering Mechanic for about 23 years, followed by nearly 14 years as a RN/RM Careers Adviser (recruiter) and more recently I "recruit" from the digital domain and help contribute/advise on the official Royal Navy & Royal Marines official social media sites, but under a posher username.
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
That's great then Ninja_Stoker I thought it might be all locked down. And hopefully the ship I'm on has a good multigym. Do they normally have boxing bags have you seen? Maybe I could get them to put one up. What was/is your role in the Royal Navy?

I had no idea WreckerL, I didn't think too much about your picture, thank you. Do you still work on submarines? What do you/did you do? What is the minimum and maximum times you have spent under water (in a submarine)?

I left the RN 10 years ago this May but still work in a Naval environment.

I was an MEA(L) although I never joined up as a tiff (or even an ME for they matter).

Longest time dived was 3 1/2 months, shortest time about 2 minutes ;)
 
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