Merchant Navy vs Royal Navy - Recruitment Process


I am simply wondering, what is the difference between the processes of recruitment for the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy in regards to time, qualifications, training, medical etc.?


War Hero
One is applying to join the Armed Forces.

The other is applying to join a commercial organisation like Tesco, or Rolls Royce.
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Lantern Swinger
You'd be hard pushed to join the Merch as a Seaman being from the UK. Most companies use cheap labour from India, Philippines, etc.

A lot of companies do like the UK officers though. You can apply to a company - Shell, Maersk, Bibby, etc., and if successful they will sponsor you through a 3 year degree course with some seatime included. Once qualified they will normally take you on.

The application stage is carried out every September and January. Normally you'd go to the company offices and have a group interview with other candidates. That's if you pass the application sift. If successful you undergo an ENG1 medical with a specific GP then you're in.

The RN is very different. Obviously you can join as a rating from the British Commonwealth, do a basic written test at a local careers office, interview and fitness test, medical and security clearance and you're in. Can take upto 12 months depending on branch being applied for.


No general merchant navy.....Trinity House just advertised for rating apprentice


Lantern Swinger
More seatime and more leave in the merch, normally 50% each. RFA is 4 months at sea 3 months leave. Although there has been talk of 3 months sea and 2 months leave but I think this will be opposed.