Questions from a potential CT

Hey folks,

been on this site a while, been on wait to join for two years now. Finally got a date 2nd of December for my potential recruit weekend away with a joining date of 2nd of March.

I've got quite a few questions and I was hoping there might be someone out there with the answers.

I apologize for any naivety or covering questions that get asked a lot. I've been on wait so long it's the first time I've really been able to think about the practicalities.

Term of Service: I'm a quite confused as to what this actually is. I've been told at some junctures that it is 40 years and at others it's a commitment for a number of years after training. What I really want to know is, how long am I signing up for? And at what point with what notice could I leave the RN if I chose to?

Living on/off base (mainly regarding Chicksands): I'm in a long term relationship and I'll be doing my basic training which I believe is 9 weeks. After which I'll go to Chicksands for my specialized CT training which I believe last 18 months. During this will I be living on base or will I be able to live off base? and if I can live off base what are the sort of hours you would find yourself being on/off base?

When not at sea: When I get through all my training. What sort of time will I be looking at where I can see my partner? Obviously when I'm at sea that's it for that period. But when I'm not will it be a case of training at base all day and being able to return to off base accommodation afterwards?
You will have a return of service as a CT - no idea what it is. You effectively sign a contract to serve for 'x' number of years, which you can get out of by giving a years notice and serving your minimum return of service. 'x' in this case is currently 18 years I think, but I'm on an old scheme and an Officer, so don't know the precise details.

In Phase 2 training you will be allowed to live off base after a certain period. I suspect for somewhere like Chicksands it will be contingent on passing an initial period of training, and then gaining permission to do so. Someone with more knowledge of Chicksands will be able to pass on the precise detail.

Once you are in a job then you'll go home when not working. Given the areas a CT could be working in, you'll either day work, do shifts or entire 24 hour periods at work. But you'll certainly get to go home afterwards.

Hope this helps.
First of all you have the training pipeline incorrect, after your 10 week INT @ Raleigh you will be sent to Collingwood for approx 5-6 months. After this you go to Blanford (5 weeks) and then on to Chicksands for about 6 months. After you sign on the line, your return of service for a CT is 5 years.
Regarding the relationship, im sure your aware that you could be asked or told rather to move round the world depending on operation requirements, part of being in the armed forces.
And what, may I ask are you basing your knowledge on? Don't be so patronising.

im sure the OP is aware that he will deploy as per the needs of the service, but he just wanted to know when not deployed how often he would see her.

Answer when not drafted to a sea going unit (thatll be almost all CTs) = nearly every weekend, if you can afford to get home. The same as anyone else


War Hero
Answer when not drafted to a sea going unit (thatll be almost all CTs) = nearly every weekend, if you can afford to get home. The same as anyone else
Is the following still representative of the branch?

Please can any CTs let me know how much time away at sea they've had - I've heard rumours that you don't get to go away as much as other branches - but equally, I've heard the opposite. The one CT I've spoken to about this said you do go away regularly, but for shorter periods.

I know that there isn't going to be a typical response, but I'm still interested to hear what experience others have had.
Plenty in my case, and in many others.

You may not always be ship's company though.

You can be deployed on many different platforms, including boats.

I've spent about 6 years of the last 12 as ships company, but have been deployed on other ships / ashore during the other 6 years quite frequently.
Generally applicants are advised, that when routinely drafted to sea, you can expect about 40:60 sea/alongside ratio and expect to deploy for periods of up to 6 months every 18 months. CTs, if they join a ship temporarily, are most likely to join a ship about to go to sea.

It's difficult to give an accurate picture as different seagoing units have different patterns - in my experience (not as a CT) serving on surface vessels from minesweepers to carriers, I kind of expected to be away from baseport about a week or two a month. On the rare occasion a shore draft occurred (as a senior rate) I experienced about one day in ten or 15 when I wasn't free of an evening and about one duty weekend (required on the base) every other month. Obviously it varies widely.

The choice is whether a partner wishes to move to a baseport area so you see each other most evening when not at at sea, or whether you wish to be a weekend traveller to your home town.
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War Hero
Terms of Service

Just to add for CT's, if you don't "opt out" in the first six months, you'll serve 24 months (Standard Initial Training Period) + 30 months Return of Service + 12 months notice = 66 months (ie: 5.5 years minimum). You can serve up to age 40 or for 18 years, whichever's longer.

The thing to bear in mind with many branches, is as you pass further courses in your career, is they may carry an additional return of service upon completion as the service wants its "pound of flesh" to recoup the cost of training.

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