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Should I join when nearly 30?


Hi there,

I am a 29 year old diving instructor with a degree and am thinking about a career change in the RN. Just wanted to ask a few questions from those with some experience.

I have been told that entering as a rating (into mine clearance) at my age is a bad idea as everyone will be much younger than me. Is this the case?

Am I just too old to be thinking about this now?

Unfortunately I am too old to enter into the warfare officer course, does it ever happen that ratings get offered a commission in the Navy?

What is the average rate of promotion in the Navy?

I know this is a fair few questions probably with some pretty long answers but I would appreciate any input and advice that people have. Thanks and look forward to the feedback!


War Hero
Super Moderator
1) yes, most will be younger. 2) No, your not too old. 3) Yes, you can get a commission from the lower deck (no guarantees though). 4) Promotion depends on you, the branch you're in and service requirements.
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War Hero
Concur with Wrecker. In the "good old days" there were many who considered that anyone joining would do so for the full 22 years so the earlier you joined the better and if you waited the chances were that you would not get a shot because by the time your 22 came up you would be past normal retirement age so not worth joining in the first place. The world has moved on and this is not longer the case so age of entry is not the same sort of barrier it used to be.

If you have the drive you can make it work for you. Yes, the chances are that you will be a bit of a grandad in the first few years but if you can hack that the playing field will soon start to level off.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Diver eh? Are you handsome? They won't let you be a diver if you don't love yourself you know.


I'm 29, hasn't stopped me trying (although I'm going for officer) if it's what you want don't let age get in your way, you're not going to get any younger. Mixing with younger people isn't too bad as soon as you get over the smell


Thanks for the input guys, but ratcatcher you say you are going for officer. All the officer training I can see is for age 25 or less other than logistics. Is that what you are going for?

Afraid I have a face for radio!, but of course I love myself or at least my mom does, I thought that was part of the deal!! haha

but seriously, really appreciate the advice, thanks, really good to know that I'm not out of the game at 30, would love to make something serious out of what I have done. Any other tit bits, more than welcome!


War Hero

There just may be one slight flaw in the plan - it's estimated that it can take up to two years to join as a Diver assuming there are no setbacks along the way - in particular with regard fitness. You must join before your 33rd birthday.

I've certainly processed potential Divers aged around 30 for entry but, as with Royal Marines, those over age thirty have a lower success rate in training compared with those aged between 18-28 (ish) due, I'd imagine, to the slowing metabolism which makes recovery from any injury arising during phase two training an issue for some.

The other thing is, your 'line managers' will, in many cases, be younger than you so you have to accept, previous experience apart, that age counts for nothing & you have to do as you're told. Some, particularly those with civilian management experience may struggle in this area.

Taking into account the issues above, the advice is simply that you only get one opportunity, so extract a digit & get cracking rather than pontificating.

Good luck.
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