Submarine or surface?

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by Grimes, Nov 5, 2013.

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  1. Hi all,

    Sorry if this question has come up before and it annoys you.

    Currently in the recruitment process and deciding between surface or submarine.
    I've drawn up a list of pros and cons on the information available to me, it would be great if other people who've had to decide can chuck in their two pennies worth. I think pay could well be the deciding factor but choosing submarine would be a massive commitment that I wouldn't want to regret which is why I need to know what I'd be getting myself into. The RN website videos seem to paint a good picture, then again they're trying to recruit you.

    Submarine pros:
    Better pay, 'golden hello'
    Greater team work - more close knit
    Shorter waiting time
    Feeling of pride and greater responsibility (I presume)

    Submarine cons:
    Hardly any contact with home
    Living six on-six off in a tin can
    No scenery, no fresh air, no sun, no moon or stars etc
    Limited space
    Based in Scotland

    Surface Pros:
    Telephone contact with home
    Able to breathe in fresh air
    More spacious
    More activities

    Surface Cons:
    Not bad pay, not great either
    No 'golden hello'
    Longer wait

    I don't know about when either are docked in a foreign port, could anyone please enlighten me? And I am right that submariners are based in Scotland?

    Nice one, Grimes.
  2. Don't think that should annoy anyone Grimes. Sensible questions in my opinion, and you are generally correct (as far as I know having been out of the loop for a while). Don't quite understand last bit but if, as I think, you are asking about foreign vists/runs ashore you will (should) get far more in the surface fleet.

    Decision is obviously yours to make, but I reckon your pros & cons are pretty accurate.

    Good luck.
  3. My 2 cents....

    >Submarine pros:
    >Better pay, 'golden hello'

    Cant argue with that, but is there a return of service reqd for the golden hello?? Also, you do know there's a reason for the better pay, don't you?? BOOTWU is the first of many....

    >Greater team work - more close knit
    Dont know that it makes any diff, you could be in a good or bad dept.

    >Shorter waiting time
    Prolly due to the size/depth of the applicant pool.....

    >Feeling of pride and greater responsibility (I presume)
    Impossible to say. Im sure some sundodgers would agree.

    >Submarine cons:
    >Hardly any contact with home
    All depends on draft, watch, department. You might be drafted to a boat going into refit and spend 12months at "home". Or in port, at least. Trials, work ups, no fresh water or hot food. No showers. Most of which is Mon-Thurs.

    >Living six on-six off in a tin can
    >No scenery, no fresh air, no sun, no moon or stars etc
    >Limited space
    All of these things were true of a T21 or T42, if you're a watchkeeper you might not have much time to hang out on the flight deck looking at Orions Belt.

    >Based in Scotland
    If you like scenery and being shouted at by hostile unintelligible half wits, just go to Wales. If you want to be universally despised, Scotland is your place.

    >Surface Pros:
    >Telephone contact with home
    Hrm, while I think its "better" than it used to be, you still cant rely on it once you leave the side, depending on area of ops etc. you might have more luck with internet and skype. Same is true shoreside of course, if you worked away on oil rigs or in Africa.

    >Able to breathe in fresh air
    Depends on your branch. Some spend work time topside, others not so much. Rec time may or may not be available. Dabbers, Woos and the Chippy shop always seem to have the best tans. Gollys, RPs and Clankys who keep watches look like Casper the ghost after a spot of sea time.

    >More spacious
    Cant argue a T23 isnt a lovely big space, but you will be cleaning it regularly.

    >More activities
    No flight deck BBQs on the Swiftsures casing.

    >Surface Cons:
    >Not bad pay, not great either
    >No 'golden hello'
    Hrm, if you go ET and get streamed ("tiff") upper band, you might not think so, but SM nuc. watchkeepers as CPOs do quite well, it is true.

    >Longer wait
    Ninja Stoker can tell you more accurately what waiting times are like. The rest of us on RR, applicants included, are going on tiny bits of info and buzz.

    >I don't know about when either are docked in a foreign port, could anyone please enlighten me? And I am right that submariners are based in Scotland?
    The only regular run ashore for bombers used to be Florida, but times change. Raleigh and Drake are Guzz (Plymouth), Neptune in Scotland so depends on your draft (to which sub type) which way you will head. For the Surface fleet you can probably count on a fair training chunk in Pompey. As for runs ashore, the surface fleet affords more possibilities, whenever we can afford the gas and someone starts a war, or at least takes some MSF doctors hostage.
  4. Ships_Cat, you got a few things wrong with the cons part as there is plenty of fresh water available on boats, it's getting rid of the dirty water which causes the problems hence only having a quick shower, say twice a week and the food is always hot and I'm not sure what you mean by Mon- Thurs as once dived, there is no such thing as weekends, watchkeeping 6 on 6 off (Fwd) is constant, back aft (binbags) work 1 in 3 watches. If the OP goes bombers, then no runs ashore, if he goes SSN then on the (admittedly fewer than surface fleet) foreign jollies, we live in hotels which is paid for by the mob. From 2017? all boats will be based in Faslavatory although refits will still be in Guzz. And we do have BBQ's on the casing on rare occasions, especially after AUTEC running. And I would say there is greater responsibility than the surface fleet (all rates). Excuse the lack of paragraphs, it's the MOD network that won't allow them for some reason.
  5. No arguments from me Wrecks, you would know far more about it than I. My "joke" about BBQ was dived. I think it makes the burgers soggy. I have now got the visual of you Marlin fishing off the Keys, while smoking a kipper...

    As for routines and fresh water, I am going by the usual work ups where you go out with several systems opdef, civvy contractors trying to fix 'em while Wrecks n Co attempt some kind of (excuse skimmer lingo) BOST/FOST/COST/JMC or some other acronym hell for training involving a simulated fire while you attempt to discharge sea on the very grey/brown/black water you allude to. I think all the OP needs to know is that you cant guarantee much apart from reasonable scran.

    Responsibility?? Well, you are carrying the instant sunshine, or even SSNs with TLAMs or Harpoons have a big tactical wallop available. But lets not belittle the lads on 847 who are risking their bollocks hiding behind a rock just to add some oil to a thirsty helo running full of sand.
  6. *Pedant mode on* We don't carry civvy contractors on workups and Harpoon was binned decades ago *pedant mode off* ;)

    The responsibility bit covers many areas, I was quite surprised when I joined my first boat at how often I was left to get on with things on my own, compared to my one and only grey thing.
  7. Yeahhhhhhh, like I said, best I not delve into specifics. :oops: I am A. Showing my age B. I am not qualified to comment on work ups. I wanted to be as general as poss, since the OP is looking for a comparo on fairly general issues. I guess my point is that he shouldn't fixate on the supposed negs of subs since all these are present on skimmers, perhaps worse as they do often set sail with civvies and fairly major pieces of kit U/S. (I know, I know, we dont have sails anymore...or make n mends...:slow:)
    The privations on subs may be a bit more dramatic, smaller galley, smaller ships (boats) company but nothing you couldnt find on a MCMV afloat. Much different feel to a carrier, if we ever get any again. Most reckon the scran is better in the smaller vessels, those who've tasted both. Gotta go some way to beat the crabs I reckon.
    I am glad you clarified the usual perception on runs and so on. Hope some more SM rates will jump in and give the lad some persepctive.

    Thats also fair, some like close supervision, and need it, others do not and relish being tasked and left to get on with it. Probably something to do with depts and the numbers of SRs to JRs as compared with a skimmer in a similar trade.
  8. You're correct as to the SR/JR ratio on a boat as the numbers are roughly even. A back aft steaming watch on an SSN for instance is typically 1 officer, 1 WO2, 2 CPO, 2 PO and 2 J/R so the JR's have a lot more "hands on" (and we all scrub out, regardless of rate!!).

    I would say the nearest you get in the surface world is small ships like MCMV/Survey/OPV etc.
  9. A good point most noobs might not be aware of, the small ship community is one loved by most who serve in it. More varied runs n port visits. Some challenging sea-keeping with certain hulls though.
  10. Cheers for the input lads, more inclined to submarine due to better pay. I didn't mean Scotland would be a con, the distance away from my home town (south west coast england) is like 600 miles away.
  11. 600 miles? Do you live on a rock south and west of the Scillies? You do know that Faslane is just west of Glasgow, don't you?
  12. Ha ha, no not on a rock. A large town in Cornwall but my geography is as good as my Arabic and it was just a rough estimation.
  13. I just used google maps and the distance from my hometown to Faslane is actually 561 miles, I was only 39 miles out. Not a bad estimation me thinks.
  14. What will happen if Scotland votes yes next year? Does anyone know?
  15. Plans are in place to move certain submarine bases, the new locations are secret ;)
  16. A Janner in Jockland. Sounds like a good title for a memoir......
  17. There would have to be a bit of, ip dip sky blue to decide what ships the Scotish defence force would get, they wouldnt want any nukes and they may not get enough volunteers with the skills required to man the ships they got, plus the Engish Navy wouldnt let a load od blokes with key skills bugger off, I recon an independant Scotland would come to some sort of defence agreement, if the price was right
  18. Isn't this whole independence issue complex? Especially after yesterday now Scotland is the only place that can build warships, wouldn't that be sharing secret designs with a foreign state if they did became independent? I'm pretty sure scots aren't so stupid to flush a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, 300 years of union and all the other stuff down the toilet just because a fat patriotic waiter hates nuclear power and Westminster. Then again their decision and not mine.

  19. Is that some sort of hair style?
  20. We undo the mooring ropes and storm hawsers and she floats off into the North Atlantic/Arctic Ocean and sinks?

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