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Long time poster on ARRSE but new to the blue side of things, Im looking at joining the RNR but not really sure what to expect. The RN website seems somewhat vague.

I have done a bit of searching through this and a lot of what I have seems to be a few years old and lots of comments about the RNR changing so I figure it would probably be better to ask for the current gen.

After a brief chat on the phone with a bloke from the RNR he has suggested I may be suited to Warsea? with my current background and experience.

So what is Warsea all about? What other options are there?

My day job is ambulance service, have done a bit of water rescue training. Ideally I am looking to stay away from the Medical Branch as it would be a bussmans holiday.
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For a rating your branch options are:
  • Above Water Force Protection (Seaman/Warsea)
  • Communication Information Systems
  • Information Operations
  • Intelligence
  • Logistics
  • Maritime Trade Operations
  • Mine Warfare
  • Submarine Operations

Warsea is going through a bit of a transformation right now; while we were in Afghanistan & Iraq this branch took over the role of above water force protection from the Royal Marines, this meant they were in high demand and mobilisation opportunities were a plenty. But now the RM aren't quite as busy as they used to be and are taking back their traditional role meaning the folks in Warsea are trying to find a new hole to sit in. It is by far the most popular branch in the RNR and there will be lots of opportunities to shoot things that go bang. The main issue comes down to promotion, in real terms you'll probably wait much much longer at each rate as you'll be competing with quite a number of people who have been in longer than you.

Once you're in you'll have plenty of time to think about your branch and ask around about peoples experiences but if any of those catch your eye let me know and I'll try give you some recent(ish) information.
Do the branches work a bit like the army do?

For example I can be an infantryman but qualify as a team medic etc? Is warsea going to be a case of stagging on all the time or is there scope for a decent exercise from time to time?


Not really, your branch is your branch in the RNR and you'll generally spend most of your time just making sure you meet the general training requirements (this will much clearer when you get to see a training matrix). If there is anything Warsea does have, it's decent exercises.
Brilliant Thanks, Im going down tonight to have a nosey and a natter with the RNR but at least I have a bit of an understanding. Last question

I was told their is scope to develop skills such as instruction, RYA tickets etc... Is that the recruiter trying to get me through the door or is that true to form?


Probably the most surprising thing about the RNR is there really is chances to develop skills. Glancing at the calendar there's 30+ adventurous training opportunities in Oct-Dec, including some RYA courses, a mountain bike instructor course and plenty others.
Brilliant thanks again

Will they try and push me to use my civi skills? Rafr have outright stated I can join but they want me to use my day job qual and if I’m honest I’m not joining the reserves to do my job in a different uniform.

That being said I don’t mind using my skills to augment a reserve role if that makes sense
War Sea is probably the best branch. Your "2-week summer camp" to use army reserve words, will invariably be courses for your first 5 years or so, once you get fully qualified, you'll probably then spend those 2-weeks afloat on a pusser's war canoe as gangway sentry if alongside or boats crew/bridge team if at sea. However, once qualified, if you want to go off and do a different course, so long as you can prove the worth to the RNR and the spec (and you have a forward leaning co) you probably can get away with it. As for other opportunities, they are quite simply huge, but need to be done in addition to your 2-weeks of career courses. RNSKI Champs is an ideal example, get 5 days pay to learn to ski!


War Hero
Super Moderator
Educate me, pussers war canoe?
Any ship/submarine of the Royal Navy. "Pusser" is the name given to anything owned by the RN, be it a pencil or an aircraft carrier. Supply officers are known as Pusser's, derived from Purser who held the money for buying anything and everything.


Lantern Swinger
For a rating your branch options are:
  • Submarine Operations
Just to clarify in case it confuses anyone else, SM Ops is officer only - the ratings come from the CIS specialisation.

The RNR is much more of a "it is what you make of it" organisation than the more "your unit is your job" reserve forces. As long as you meet your specialisation training requirements there are plenty of opportunities to get stuck into other activities.


War Hero
Some really good insights & tips above.

Best bet, to enhance the advice above? Get in touch with your local RNR unit and get yourself booked in for an initial maritime reserves presentation - you'll getvthe answers to your queries and the opportunity to talk with those already doing the job.

Best of luck.

Anchor Faced

Lantern Swinger
Once you join the RNR, as a new entrant (before you decide on specialisation) you will likely be given the whilst-stop tour on branch training nights so you can get an idea of what they do. Good luck.


Lantern Swinger
Your first year or so in the RNR will be spent completing the Initial Naval Training package, delivered through taskbook training on drill nights, two weekends, 1x 1 week rifle safety course and 1x 2 week confirmation course. You will be expected to have chosen a branch just before you attend this final course, and as mentioned by others your unit will support and inform your decision making process.

In terms of SEA (RES), you will do a 1 week Basic Sea Safety Course to become Trained Strength and enable you to go to sea. The process after this is changing and you will have up-to-date information once you are in initial training, but you can expect to do 1 week level 2 first aid and then either a 3 week Ship Protection Force Team Member course or a 2 week Seamanship course. There are plenty of other training opportunities in addition to this.


War Hero
The Sea (R) branch a rapidly moving away from ship protection to more seamanship stuff.

Appropriate courses are in development as I type.
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