To Boats or not to Boat, that is the Question!

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by Potential_Officer, Dec 19, 2007.

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  1. As many of you may already have been bored to death with, I failed to get into BRNC as a Surface Warfare Officer, and had got another AIB booked to try and get in again. However, I have been offered a place at Dartmouth for X(SM).

    It is not what I had originally wanted to do, however, I think I really should give this some thought. I saw in an earlier post that it is a much more demanding job than that of Surface Warfare. So I wonder if anyone currently on Boats could answer some questions;

    1) What major differences (beyond that of sleeping near a massive Nuclear Reactor) between Surface and Boats Warfare Officer jobs?
    2) In peacetime what is the average sort of time between finishing a deployment, and starting the next. How does that compare to surface fleet?
    3) Do you get to see any ports other Gibraltar, or Virginia?
    4) Do you volunteer for bomber boats or are you volunteered?

    And perhaps on a more personal note, if any one has worked on both, would you volunteer for them today?

    The biggest problem, as I understand is that once I volunteer for Boats, it is near on impossible to get back to surface.

    Sorry the long list there, but I really want to make sure that the decision I make is the right one, as I am worried that if I make the wrong one, I'll want to leave much sooner.

    Many Thanks
  2. Was on boats for a long time ----- the sea time is part of the job.
    Yes it is more demanding but also gives more job satisfaction.

    The other questions --well there's too many ''maybe'' answers you have to get in and see for yourself . Its a career and the RN will always guide you but its up to you to make the most out of it.

    Yes go for it -------

    :nemo: :nemo:
  3. I had thought I had put to many variable questions, and I suppose many of the maybes are also maybe answers for surface fleet.

    Thanks for the response.
  4. Bad luck - some things are just meant to be a different way!

    1) It's actually quite a small nuclear reactor! The major differences revolve around how much of the entire situation you get involved with. As a baby X(SM), you'll have to earn your dolphins PDQ, so you'll have a far greater understanding of how a boat works, whereas in the grey funnel line, I found the dabbers knew SFA about systems until they were interested in it as PWOs. You'll have more challenging navigation to do for the first couple of sea jobs. The biggest difference comes as a watch leader, when you're essentially rehearsing for the forthcoming Perisher. That course is universally acknowledged to be the hardest, most challenging Command course there is, but get out the other end and you'll be one of the most competent COs. As we're all-nuclear, gone are the days of shrinking the career path and having lieutentant commanders (or even lieutenants) as COs.

    2) Your question is a "how long is a piece of string" question. There is no "normal" cycle. It could be weeks, it could be months, it could be a few days, depending on what you've come back from and where you're going. And what's broken that brought you in in the first place.

    3) God yes! Of course, there aren't as many destinations as on skimmers (used affectionately!). In my time, we had Den Helder, Crete, Gib, Singers, Diego (amazing place!), Bahrain; others now include Rio, Trondheim, Bahamas, etc.

    4) Always a contentious issue. Normally, you go to where you're needed. As with all things dark blue, you can state a preference, but that doesn't guarantee anything.

    The biggest differences come alongside. Why stay afloat tied to the jetty when you can be put up in a hotel on subbies?

    But those are all material matters. A submariner is a different person from a skimmer. It requires a different mentality and a different attitude, to people and to situations. It isn't for everyone. And I'm not talking about the populist topic of claustrophobia. On a boat, you're embedded in a 1 in 2 watch system, defence watches to our skimmer friends, from day 1. You come out knackered, if professionally satisfied.

    As for the Perisher, well, it's not called Perisher for nothing!

    Once you're a junior dabber, there are opportunities to do a stint on a small ship to improve navigation skills (and by the way, there are different navigation techniques used on boats that flabbergast their surface bretheren). Clearly, once you've failed a Perisher, up you go to the grey funnel line. But once you've qualified as a submariner, why would you want to go any other way?

    It's a different life. Try to get a visit to a boat and speak to those on board about the day to day life of a submariner. As a career, it's a far more challenging one overall. Even if it can also be exceedingly frustrating!
  5. No such thing as 'subbies' anymore I'm afraid. It's only 'acutals' now!
  6. So no LOA?
  7. So does that mean they are no longer the skippers whipping boy's....the bane of the control room....seen some of em cry.....brutal.....but required...character building and all that...or at least it used to be that way... :hockey:
  8. Hang-on, you've been offered a place as X(SM) despite failing to be good enough to be X(GS) (sorry to be brutal about it!). And FOSM and every other X(SM) Officer is ok with this? You getting the skimmers cast-offs?! Bloody hell.

    To be more constructive...

    I wanted to be a submariner but they were full when I finished my professional course. A bit dull, but life on the surface has been great and my bessie oppo says life as a smellymariner is great too. It really is horses for courses, get yourself on an acquaint (and make sure you go to sea) and find out.

    Olso - pool of errors isn't a different form of navigation, it's just made up!!:)

  9. It freaked the skimmer dabbers whenever they saw it being used!
  10. Subbies = subsistence, not sub-lieutenants
  11. Bless - i just laughed at the FNO lot going through pool of errors running in a very big and expensive, all bells and whistles, bridge simulator - with all the lights and screens turned off.....why couldn't they just do it in the classroom?!
  12. Lol...ahhh okay semantics...I saw the word subbies and my eyes lit up... :w00t:
  13. Its the way of things now, I am one of the very few X(SM)'s i know at Dartmouth who volunteered from the get go and was neither pushed down the path as a means of forced conscription, and or a failed WAFU .

    Mind you from what i can tell so far, AIB pass marks mean sweet FA on the quality of the people at BRNC. I know a couple of plain X's who must have had higher scores than those pushed X(SM) who are now no longer in the Navy after 21 very short weeks of training.

    PO once you get to BRNC you can always put in for a branch transfer to plain X which you might get or you might not. Bottom line if you don't think you can hack life on boats then don't volunteer for it.
  14. Thanks for all of the advice, this is the thing, as much as I want to be in the Navy I've slept on it and I don't think that Boats are for me. I am sure judging from some people I saw who passed at AIB that it is one part of the recruiting pipeline, BRNC still being a filter, but what do I know, I didn't even get in for Warfare in the first place.

    Alfred: I passed the AIB for Warfare of any type, however due to what I'm told are a reduction in numbers in the entries for X (Surface) my pass wasn't high enough up the league.
  15. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    An interesting point Al- the best General Service commanding officers, in the ASW role, happen to be.... yup, ex-submariners.

    Poacher/gamekeepers perhaps.
  16. indeed my 2nd to last CO was a failed perisher, and our CTF was his interesting meeting to be at when they met again!!! He was a top bloke and we had some fun during perisher running - i think he may've been getting his own back.

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