MEO(General Service) forced into Submarine Service?

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by David101, Sep 15, 2013.

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  1. Hi

    I'm hoping somebody with knowledge on this could give me some much needed advice.

    I'm hoping to join as an MEO(General Service) but have some concerns regarding the Submarine Service. I have been told on several occasions that being a male, Marine Engineer will see me 'Volunteered' for the Submarine Service -either at BRNC or shortly thereafter- against my will. Having no interest in the Submarine Service, if this was true, I would not apply.

    If anybody could give me an insight into my concern it would be much appreciated!

    Thank you.
  2. Being male no longer makes you any more or less likely to be volunteered as a Submariner as the Service is now opening up to those of the female type. That said, amongst the many forms you sign at the AIB (at least it was in my day around 7 years ago) one declares that if selected you may be sent to serve anywhere in the world, in the surface or sub-surface fleets (or words to that effect). There could well be many more volunteers for Marine Engineering Officer (Submarines) on the basis that they will earn an eye watering amount of money if they get their nuclear tickets.

    Basically I can't say it won't happen, nor that it doesn't happen, but being a chap will have nothing to do with it, that's for sure.
  3. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    All people joining the Royal Navy do so on the understanding they can be called upon to serve in UK and overseas on warships, submarines, RFAs, Merchant Navy vessels and tri service military bases and operational theatres.

    The average Marine Engineering Officer only actually gets appointed to a seagoing billet about twice in their career.
  4. MEO(SM)s do at least 3 sea drafts (AMEO, DMEO and MEO), and have a fairly honking life. But on the plus side, you'll never need worry about employment ever again, especially if you make it past MEO.
  5. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator 12 years.

    Most don't serve that long.
  6. Thanks for the responses guys; I have a few more questions.

    Is there any choice in the matter, or is it a case of ‘we need MEO(SM)’s, so you are now training to be one’?

    A retired WEO I spoke with said, in his experience, every MEO(GS) he trained with at BRNC found themselves completing training in the SM branch. Of course, some do so through choice, but he knew several who had their hands forced. Is this a common occurrence?

    Would there be any way around it, other than leaving the service?

    I am aware that you join on the understanding that you could be called upon to serve in a submarine, but obviously there are branches where this is less likely (or impossible); however, I am getting the impression that, as an MEO, it is significantly likely that this will happen.

    As has been said, the average MEO(SM) leaves after only 2 sea-drafts; approximately 18 months under-sea, an ‘eye watering amount of money’, and leaving with a lot of expensive certificates. Despite these advantages stated by ‘Potential Officer’ and ‘Alfred the Great’, the nature of submarine deployments void one of the main reasons I want an engineering career in the Royal Navy, which is to travel and experience different countries.

    I think a bare bones statement, which I really hope is wrong, is if you aren’t willing to serve on a submarine then don’t apply for MEO(GS).

    If I could get your thoughts on this it would be much appreciated.

    Thanks again.
  7. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    In short, the needs of the service take preference. Very often, someone achieving a lower than average scoring AIB pass may have more chance of being selected in a shortage category specialisation - you'll be advised about how you fared at AIB at the time and if offered submarines, you don't have to accept. This doesn't mean that submarines have lower standards as there are real "high flyers" who want to join boats from the outset as they wish to be a nuclear qualified engineer.

    If you earn more money as a submariner, you still have the wherewithal to visit the countries you wish to experience.

    The numbers vary and obviously the service doesn't deliberately put you in a branch against your wishes, but it would be misleading to suggest it may never happen. The odds are it won't, but it can.
  8. Why do you definitely not want to serve on submarines if you don't mind me asking?

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  9. I don’t mind at all; In fact, I prefer to be completely honest so I can understand whether it is the right career choice for me.

    One of the main reasons I want to join the Navy is for the travel. My current engineering job sees me travel regularly for work, and I enjoy this aspect of the job. The inherent nature of the Submarine Service means that the opportunity for port visits is vastly reduced, if not removed completely.

    Transferable skills are another reason: Marine Engineer training appeals to me as sometime in the future I could find employment in the MN. I don’t have any interest in working as a nuclear engineer, so if I’m not dedicated to a full career in the submarine service, which I’m not, then employability outside is very limited.

    Basically, I’d be joining the Navy to see as much of the world as possible. Serving in a submarine won’t allow this to happen.
    I would love to be an MEO(GS), but I now understand I run the risk of being coerced in to the Submarine Service, which would remove the fundamental reason I joined in the first place.
  10. I'm GS Warfare, there are submariners who joined at the same time as me who have got a better list of awesome port visits than I do! The vast majority of what we do is in a very specific part of East of Suez and not much further, and I believe will be the focus for many years to come. With a reduction in surface vessels, if you ask me, the days of racking up awesome port visit after awesome port visit are gone, it is operational taskings that are the order of the day, not round the worlds etc. Don't get me wrong, I've stated elsewhere how much I've enjoyed my Naval Career thus far (and will hopefully continue to do so) however, I wouldn't join specifically to see the world.

    Also I wouldn't put too much hope of employment in the Merchant fleets, pay and conditions can't be compared to that of the RN (I know nothing of the validity of qualifications for the ME world) and if seeing the world if your thing, well if you can fit it into the few hours turn around merchant vessels have...
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Like many, I joined the Navy for travel, adventure, to improve my CV, earn qualifications & enjoy myself as an international heartthrob, snappy dresser and good egg.

    Sadly I was grossly inconvenienced, went to war in a place I didn't know existed, spent literally years going back there and travelling thousands of miles without a port visit. Every overseas visit I've had equates to about ten days at sea for each day alongside. A quarter of the days alongside, I couldn't go ashore due to work commitments. Bloody inconvenient.

    The bottom line is it's a job funded by the taxpayer and the miserable buggers expect you to earn your wage. Rumour has it that private enterprise tends to want payback if they send you overseas also, particularly the MN.
  12. I talked to my next door neighbour (about to be a MEO on a SM) about runs-ashore. He looked at me with a slight tear in his eye.

    Honestly, I wouldn't join.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    What car does he drive & does he holiday abroad once or more a year?
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Fair enough. I too would probably consider the Merchant Navy if the Royal Navy didn't work out. I understand the wanting to travel as that what attracted me but as already stated those days are probably over.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2013
  15. I wouldn't, not a chance in hell would I swap being a Royal Navy Warfare Officer for a Merchant Deck Officer career! In fact I doubt you'll find any Warfare Officer willing to do so, or even recommend a merchant career today. Just look at the story in today's Guardian (the other Officers in the Mess had already bagsied the Times and Torygraph...) Captain refuses to abandon ship after eight months stranded in Sussex port | UK news | The Guardian
  16. Like most married 2 1/2s I know, a really shit car and they went away for a week this year. The rest of the time he's duty (1 in 3 as a mid-seniority 2 1/2, poke that).

    But in your defence, he's Cornish, so he saw the world when he crossed the Tamar all the way to Dartmouth. SULTAN was like a different world ;)
    • Like Like x 1
  17. I wouldn't swap either, it's on my list of potential other jobs if I fail to make it into the RN. If I passed I certainly wouldn't swap!
  18. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Yep, know the type. Piso and probably a veritable baron.
  19. David

    Having read what you have said, I found myself wondering yesterday whether you should check out Engineering in the RFA. It's true that RFA Recruitment has been restricted to an extent of late, but you may well find that this doesn't apply on the Engineering side.

    There are things which you will have to research - where you train is slightly different, the sea time/shore leave split is different and how your salary is taxed is also different.

    You should, of course, keep all your options open while investigating what would be best for you, but you should certainly check out the RFA to see whether there is an opportunity for you there.
  20. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Looks as if he should have got himself born earlier.

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