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MTO branch for ex RN


Hi folks,

Long story short I was a AB(res) AWFP from 2008 - 2010 before joining full time as a warfare officer in 2010. I was in for 3 years which was just long enough to gain my NWC (OOW certificate) before I was allowed to leave through the TU route (I wrote to my C/O requesting to leave a few months into my fleet time, god knows why it wasn't until I had qualified that they finally let me go!). I had always wanted to work at sea, loved the RNR, loved sailing, seamanship and all those wholesome seafaring activities but the fact that more time seemed to be spent doing paperwork and managing people than driving ships left a sour taste in my mouth. After I left I converted my OOW certificate to an Merchant Navy OOW unlimited certificate and have been working as an officer in the private super yacht sector ever since, and haven't looked back.

After 3 years I'm now lucky enough to be working a 3 month on/off schedule and am looking for meaningful ways to use that time which has got me thinking about the RNR again. I'm interested in joining the AW branch as I've read that there is a specific role for merchant navy officers and I would also hope that the RN would have a use for someone who has both tickets.

I'm interested to know if there is anyone on here I could speak to who has experience of this branch. I would also be interested to know if being discharged TU 3 years ago would be a bar to me joining the reserves. I will of course ask a recruiting office regarding the latter, but would appreciate any first hand experiences.

Thank you in advance.
Last edited:


War Hero
Before the recruiting experts arrive..
I will say that MTO and AW are two separate branches.

AW requires MN experience; MTO does not.


Apologies, for some reason I thought AW was a specialisation within the MTO branch. Thanks for clearing that up. I'll edit the original post.
Last edited:


War Hero
I don't believe that to be true BH
It's always been my impression. Quoting from the website (I know, I know) and putting two quotes together;

A) From specialised Roles: "As a qualified civilian doctor, nurse, religious minister or certain Merchant Navy officers, you can apply for direct entry into the Royal Naval Reserve as an Officer in your field of expertise."

B) From AW bit: "If you have a Merchant Navy background you are ideally placed to serve as the Senior Naval Officer (SNO) in merchant ships chartered for military purposes."

I accept that I may have put 2 + 2 and formed 22, but this has always been my impression. Happy to be corrected.
AW will, and do accept officers from a non-MN background.
Whilst it is ideal if they do have some expertise in the MN arena, it is by no means mandatory
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