Lantern Swinger
Up to speed on RN general global do-goodery and I know the RFA are always there in stalwart fashion, but I honestly know nothing about the RFA life compared to that of the Andrew.

What are the differences and who, when it comes down to it, gets the easier time?

Placed here as I anticipate some inter-service slanging, as is required of all good folks in uniform :)
I spent a week on RFA Olna in Port Stanley, fitting 3" rocket launchers, (fitted for, but not with.) shortly after the cessation of hostilities.

The RFA crews were talking about going on strike as the MOD had just cancelled their 200% war bonus, seeing as how the fighting had stopped.

I've got to admit we had a whale of a time, though. We were adopted by a steward, who breezed into the bar on our first day on board, and squealed, "Ooooh, Sailors!"

We were quite safe, he told us, as he'd always been known as officers meat.


Lantern Swinger
Apparently the RFA build up tons of leave when they're at sea, so much so that some of them every few years or so take 6 months off to go travelling, etc. They also don't pay tax when they spend more than 6 months of the year outside UK waters, so a lot of them used to steam out of the 12 mile limit every night!


Well my personal view is that the RFA is better (though not necessarily easier). The atmosphere on board is much more relaxed than a warship - first names mainly. The only people not addressed as such by us lowly YOs are the Captain (sir), the Chief Engineer (Chief), the XO (ChOff), and the MEO (Second). On the bridge, and professionally, the Navs is Navs, and the Ops is Ops, but it's quite a chilled atmosphere.

The leave/work is the merchant navy way - 4 months on 2 months off up to 1st Officer (Lt. Cdr), then Chief Officers and above do 8 or 9 months on then 5 off. However, on very much means off - no going home every weekend and every night when not duty, and can quite possibly mean 4 months on say Orangeleaf in the Gulf, then next trip 4 months on Black Rover in the South Atlantic.

You aren't assigned to a ship as such until you become a grownup on 9 month trips (though they are making trials for repeat appointing), so you can go from ship to ship quite quickly, meaning you have to be able to pick things up from going from (say) a small fleet tanker to an LSL to a Fort AOR.

You also don't pay income tax if you spend 183 days in any 12 month period out of the country (which is why we don't like anchoring in UK waters as it loses tax days), which gives us a pay bonus (though pay is slightly less than the RN I believe).

There's a wonderful sweet spot in Lyme Bay which I'm sure you've all seen RFAs anchored in - it has the three T's as it were - Tax days (outside 12mile limit), TV picture, and Telephone signal.

We do also have to put up with:

1. Being the biggest target in the fleet, with everyone wanting to make is go bang.

2. Having those bloody orange lifeboats for people to aim at

3. Having a snowball's chance in hell of surviving if anything hits us

Discuss. Banter about lazy floating Tescos seems appropriate...
Scud said:
Discuss. Banter about lazy floating Tescos seems appropriate...
My personal jealous gripe about the RFA is the flat screen TVs in EVERY cabin, more leave than you can shake a stick at, AND a union to put their side of the story to the idiots that decide pay. As I say, it's not an insult, it's pure jealousy.

Even if your ratings are all scruffy homos....


Having spent a year as the MO of RFA Argus, I really do hope the RFA has moved on from employing sexist bastard alcoholic dinosaurs.

Nice cabin and good food though.


Lantern Swinger
drwibble said:
Having spent a year as the MO of RFA Argus, I really do hope the RFA has moved on from employing sexist bastard alcoholic dinosaurs.

Nice cabin and good food though.
Are you not being a bit harsh on yourself ?
I'm sure not everyone thinks you're a "sexist bastard alcoholic dinosaur"
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