Your first year

Your first year in the Royal Navy will change your life. You’ll experience an approach to work and a way of life that’s completely different to what you know. It’s hard work. The hours are long. You need discipline, determination and drive. And it’ll push you past your physical and mental limits, till you redefine them.

With structure and support from us, and the bond you’ll quickly form with the people around you who are all in the same boat, you have all the tools you need to forge your future in the Naval Service. Whether you join as an officer or a rating, your first year lays the foundation for a career that’s built entirely around you – and that’s entirely in your hands.

Ratings

All ratings start their careers with ten weeks of basic training at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint, near Plymouth. It’s your comprehensive introduction to the Royal Navy, that will really put you through your paces; you’ll learn an enormous amount and change just as much. Following your Passing-out parade, you’ll begin the Professional Training that’s specific to the role you’ve chosen. This is where you start learning your trade, before being assigned a posting where you start putting it into practice.

First day

  • What to expect: From lots of paperwork, to a new haircut, there’s a huge amount to take in. It’s time to start getting to know people, who will probably feel equally nervous. Remember, you’re all in the same position and our training teams are there to support you.
  • What happens: You’ll start to get used to your surroundings, sleeping quarters and the new team around you. Nerves are natural; everyone gets them.
  • Advice: First impressions are everything, so be friendly and polite to Naval staff and your fellow recruits.

First week

  • What to expect: An introduction to drills, discipline and lots of physical exercise.
  • What happens: You’ll be constantly on the go, from kit preparation (which involves a lot of ironing) marching and circuit training, to lectures and lessons.
  • Advice:The amount of kit preparation is extensive. Practise your ironing before you arrive, so you can hit the ground running. Similarly, make sure your fitness levels are well above standard.

First month

  • What to expect: With constant instruction, your Naval skills will start improving (from drills to weapon handling), your fitness levels will be up to standard, and you’ll begin feeling like you’re a part of the Royal Navy.
  • What happens: Training will become more intense, so you need to keep on top of your time management and make sure you’re organised. You’ll start to appreciate how important teamwork is for progressing in the Royal Navy, but also the importance of initiative and working well on your own.
  • Advice:If there‘s someone on your team who’s struggling, help them out. It’s in the spirit of being in the Navy, plus you’ll never know when you may need the favour returned.

Passing-out

  • What to expect: You’ve officially earned your place in the Royal Navy. The Passing-out parade is a great day for family and friends to celebrate your hard work and everything you’ve achieved.
  • What happens: You’ll take part in a uniformed marching parade with your classmates (and now, crewmates), in front of your family, friends and naval peers and superiors. A high-ranking officer will oversee the parade, present prizes and lead the salute.
  • Advice: Enjoy yourself, you’ve earned it.

First year

  • What to expect: You’ll start to really get your teeth into the professional training that’s specific to the role you’ve chosen.
  • What happens: Professional training will challenge you much more than your Phase 1 training, as you begin learning the ins and outs of your trade. You’ll complete a Basic Sea Survival Course (BSSC) before you join your ship’s company. You’ll soon get to know life on board, and will make friends with crewmates from your branch and on your Mess Deck (your living space).
  • Advice: Maintain the good attitude, approach, discipline and standard of fitness that got you to this position.

Officers

All officers start their careers with 30 weeks of training at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth. It’s your comprehensive introduction to life as a Royal Navy Officer, focussing on practical military and maritime skills, as well as the leadership, teamwork, command and management skills required by your role. It’ll be as challenging as it is rewarding. Following your Passing-out parade, you’ll begin the specialist training that’s specific to the role you’ve chosen. This is where your Royal Navy career really begins to take off, and you can put what you’ve learned into practice.

First day

  • What to expect: There’s a huge amount to take in, naturally. It’s time to start getting to know people, who will probably feel equally nervous. Remember, you’re all in the same position.
  • What happens: You’ll arrive at Totnes station in your suit, ready to join up with fellow trainee officers. You’ll travel by coach to BRNC, where you’ll be met by your Divisional Officer and shown to your cabin (although BRNC is an onshore establishment, your room is still referred to as a ‘cabin’).
  • Advice: First impressions are everything, so be friendly and polite to Naval staff and your fellow recruits.

First week

  • What to expect: You’ll start to settle in to your surroundings, living arrangements and the new team around you. Nerves are natural; everyone gets them.
  • What happens: You’ll be constantly on the go. Your issued kit needs ironing to an extremely high standard, with everything named. It’s time-consuming, but you’ll get quicker. You’ll also start drill training.
  • Advice:Invest in a decent iron; it’ll save you a huge amount of time and effort. Listen to the Upper Yardmen in your class. Their previous experience will stand you in good stead for successfully getting through your first week.

First month

  • What to expect: Things will start to settle down after week three’s infamous Frantic Friday (see ‘What happens’, below). You’ll start to feel like you’re getting to grips with the Royal Navy, and the sense of achievement that goes with it.
  • What happens: You’ll start navigational training, which means every officer has a basic understanding of navigating a warship. You’ll also have your first encounter with a rifle, completing weapons training at HMS Raleigh. Frantic Friday is a major milestone, where you have to complete a large number of activities in a short time frame, in different levels of officer dress. It’ll be stressful, but your first night of relaxation is waiting at the end of the day.
  • Advice: Comprehensive preparation of your uniform will make Frantic Friday feel less frantic. When you’re given your ‘Rule of the Road’ booklet, start revising in groups, so you’re well prepared for the exams.

Passing-out

  • What to expect: You’ve officially earned your place in the Royal Navy. The Passing-out parade is a great day for family and friends to celebrate your hard work and everything you’ve achieved.
  • What happens: You’ll take part in a uniformed marching parade with your classmates (and now, crewmates), in front of your family, friends and naval peers and superiors. A high-ranking officer will oversee the parade, present prizes and lead the salute.
  • Advice: Enjoy yourself, you’ve earned it.

First year

  • What to expect: Your branch- and role-specific specialist training will be intensive, with regular lectures and practical work to complete, as well as regular assessments to pass.
  • What happens: Once you have BRNC under your belt, you’ll complete various other courses (such as the Junior Officers Leadership Course 1 (JOLC1), a Basic Sea Survival Course (BSSC) and Officer of the Day (OOD), which will give you a solid foundation for being safe at sea and a more effective leader.
  • Advice:This is where your first year really comes into its own. You’re mostly left to your own devices, with minimal management, except during lectures. Work hard during your academic and practical courses – these are building blocks of your Royal Navy career. You’ll also be active socially, forming friendships in the Wardroom that will stay with you for life. Make the most of it.