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PRNC South - 03rd June 2019


Hi all, here is my account of my PRNC at HMS Collingwood. I’ll do my best to be as detailed as possible when speaking about the main parts of the course. As always, any questions, just post them below or send me a message.


I arrived at Fareham station on Monday afternoon and there were about 5 other lads waiting for the minibus. We all started chatting pretty quickly and because everyone is in the same boat (excuse the pun), we all became mates straight away. The Minibus then arrived and there was an AB (Able Rate) who ushered us onto the bus, started introducing himself and told us to chill out and joked around with us.

We got to HMS Collingwood and were driven to the RNAC accommodation, taken to a classroom for a brief and one of the instructors told us what she wanted us to do, what kit we needed to be in, where our rooms are and a few other bits and pieces like the rules, e.g. being 5 minutes early for everything, how to address certain ranks.

Once everyone on the course has arrived the CO and Chief did a final brief for the day and then we went into ice breakers. We had to do ours in pairs and about the other person. It was a good laugh and make sure you have a good joke ready. After that’s over we were shown how to do some drill basics. Marching in time, left/right dressing, turning and halting. Once the class were up to a decent standard, we were taken for dinner.

After dinner we did a team building exercise which is a good laugh and the losers will be given press ups. Pays to be a winner, you may hear that a few times. After that, we were told what was expected from us for cleaning the mess decks (rooms and corridors) and then class leaders and mess boatswains were assigned. We then have time to call home, get showered and ready for bed.


Tuesday morning, we were up at 5:45am and getting the rooms squared away and everything cleaned up before breakfast. My personal advice would be don’t go too heavy at breakfast because an hour afterwards, you’ll do the 1.5-mile run. After breakfast we were shown how to bull our boots and then after that, had 5 minutes to get into our PT rig and be outside. Make sure you listen to the PTI because if you get on his nerves or do something you aren’t supposed to, you’ll be punished in the gym.

We then double marched (slow jog) from the accommodation to the parade square where the PTI conducted the warm-up and briefed us on the format of the run. It’s 3 and ¾ laps around the parade square. Just give it your all.

After this was been completed, we were taken to the gym for IMF. Again, you’ll be told the rules of the gym e.g. don’t touch your face or fidget, run everywhere and put maximum effort into everything. Once in the gym, the PTIs demonstrated all of the exercises and the commands. DON’T FIDGET! People were getting 40 press ups for touching their faces and the PTI gets really cross.

We did 4 corners, which is where you face a corner of the gym, listen to the PTIs command, do the exercise, get back to your feet, turn to another corner and then conduct another exercise. We did press ups, burpees, more press ups and squat thrusts. You will be told the commands and shown the correct technique for each exercise, which gives you a bit of a breather during each set. We then had to get the mats out for sit ups. We were paired off and then did about 25 sit ups before packing the gym kit away and running back to the accommodation. Don’t underestimate the IMF session. I have been training 6 days a week for the last 4 months and still found it tough in parts. The PTIs will make it hard, so nobody should breeze it. My advice: stop bench pressing, do press ups, stop doing biceps and triceps, train your core and drop the treadmill, get running back on the road. Our class had a guy that said he was running 1.5-miles in 10 minutes on the treadmill, but he came last (13 minutes something on the run).

After we were back at the accommodation we got back into our general rig and then went to lunch ready for the ship visit in the afternoon. We went aboard HMS Bristol, which is an old destroyer however, there were a couple of people that had been on PRNC before and told us they were allowed on a modern-day destroyer. The ship visit was quite good as you get to learn a little bit more about your chosen role.

Once we got back to HMS Collingwood, we sat through a fair few presentations and had a laugh with the instructors. It can seem like it’s death by PowerPoint, but some of them are really useful. That saw us through to dinner and once we got back, we were shown how to iron our kit (provided by HMS Collingwood) and then the evening was ours to make sure everything is ironed, laid out how they had shown us and that the mess decks are clean.


We were up at 5:45am again and it’s the same procedure. Three S’s and then breakfast. Everyone by this point was fairly chilled out and was able to eat a bit more as the nerves from the 1.5-mile run had passed.

After breakfast we were given more presentations and then marched over to the chaplaincy and introduced to the Bish (reverend). He’s a really nice guy and this is a little rest from being marched around everywhere and doing things at 100MPH. Afterwards however, you’ll be going back to accommodation to collect your swimwear and head to the pool.

The same rules apply in the pool as the gym. The PTI will be watching everyone and gives you press ups if you talk, move, touch your face (regardless if there’s water pour off of it) or anything he doesn’t like. The swim generally is OK. In a group of about 10 we lined up at the end of the pool, were given a brief by the PTI and then entered the pool. There will be a marker in the pool where you have to swim to and then turn around (without touching the sides or edge) and then swim back to the start. Once this was done and we had successfully got out of the pool, we got the overalls on and sat back down to wait for the next group to complete the exercise. Once the other group were done, we lined back up and then entered the pool again in overalls to tread water. Honestly, this is a lot easier than I thought due to the amount of air trapped in the overalls, which helps you float. After the 2 minutes of treading water is up, we swam 50 metres again and then got out of the pool and out of the overalls. Again, you’ll wait for the other groups to complete the exercise and then it’ll be up to the 3m board and jump off.

After the swim, we headed back to the accommodation and got ready for some leadership tasks. These are chilled out and good fun. Things like the ‘floor is lava’, get rid of a bomb only using rope and a couple of others.

Sadly, it was more presentations and Q&A sessions, but again, these are informative and will cover things like Life in the Royal Navy, the Submarine Service, Pay and Benefits and a few others.

After dinner on Wednesday evening, it was more kit prep and ironing the bedding ready for the inspection on Thursday morning. If you get this done, you win an early night, but I’d recommend using the spare time to prep your kit and get any ironing done ready for leaving the next day. Then it’ll be the usual night-time routine.


Everyone was up at 5:45am and carried out the morning routine and started prepping for the inspection that was due after breakfast.

We had a solid hour to get the mess decks and our kit squared away and then we had to be stood by our beds for the staff to complete an inspection. Truth is, we had a PO who just wanted to know how we were finding the course, so she glanced at our kit and then spoke to us for about 10 minutes. It was really laid back and she gave us some advice for the squad run, before letting us get ready for it.

Everyone went into the classroom for a brief on the squad run by the PTI. Everyone was quite nervous because it gets built up by the staff throughout the week and a few people that had been on the course before said it was tough.

You start at the back of the accommodation and after a warm-up, begin the run. You will either be in single file or ranks of two and the staff will make sure everyone stays together, whilst the PTI keeps the pace at the front. After a certain distance you will come to an obstacle and the PTI will instruct you on what he wants you to do. Guess what? Same rules apply as the gym and pool. No fidgeting, talking, touching your face etc. Once you’ve completed a couple of intervals on the obstacles, you’ll carry on the run. This is done 4 times, with the exercise changing each time. Sprints, crawls, carrying a partner and if you’re lucky you’ll finish it with an 800-metre sprint to the finish. If it’s not completed in under a certain time, it’s done until it is.

That really marks the end of the course. After this, it’s just getting showered, changed into civvies, all kit packed away and returned. We were then called in front of a certain member of the team and have a final interview. They will give you some paperwork and tell you what you need to work on prior to heading to HMS Raleigh. After this, we were taken on a bus to the train station and went off home.

All in all, I really enjoyed PRNC and you get a good feel for what HMS Raleigh ‘should’ be like. It’s a bit of a laugh and you meet some people that will be on your intake, so you’ll be drawn to each other. Apologies that it’s a fairly long post, and I’ve done my best to recall everything we did at HMS Collingwood, but there were a few time fillers, but that was due to us being late or early for certain parts of the course. AS I said at the start, if anyone has any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.


Hi mate,

Sounds good, I’ve got my PRNC in November, can I just ask you what is the exact pass or fail criteria for the swim test is?
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