Seaman, seawoman, sailor
Royal Navy ratings work in a variety of job roles on board ships or submarines at sea, or onshore at a naval base.
Salary range: £15,673 to £37,132
How to become a Royal Navy rating
You can get into this job through:
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could apply to join the army through an HM forces serviceperson intermediate apprenticeship.
You’ll need to apply directly to the army to discuss which is the best apprenticeship route for you. This will depend on your qualifications and which service role you’re interested in.
- entry requirements vary
Volunteering and experience
You can join the Royal Navy Reserve to get some experience of what life is like in the service, and to learn new skills at the same time. You’ll need to be:
- between the ages of 16 and 42
- able to commit to basic training, including a 2-week course at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall
If you’re between 12 and 18 years old, you can join the Sea Cadets.
You can apply directly to join the Royal Navy as a rating. You don’t need any specific qualifications, but you will need to meet the Navy’s eligibility requirements. For example, you must:
- be aged between 16 and 36
- pass fitness and medical tests
After applying, you’ll be invited to talk to someone at your local armed forces careers office about what you want to do. You’ll then attend an interview and assessment.
If you have the right skills, you’ll be invited to attend the 4-day Pre-Royal Navy Course. This includes further interviews, fitness, medical and aptitude tests. If you’re successful, you’ll be offered a place on the navy’s basic training programme.
You’ll find more details about being a rating from the Royal Navy.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- physical fitness and endurance
- the ability to work well with others in a team
- excellent verbal communication skills
- concentration skills for practical tasks
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be flexible and open to change
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- thinking and reasoning skills for making quick decisions
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- be a UK, Republic of Ireland or Commonwealth citizen
- pass a medical check
- have a good level of fitness
- be at least 151.5cm tall
- pass security checks
- pass enhanced background checks
What you’ll do
Depending on your role, you’ll support a part of the service, like:
- warfare – operating and maintaining ship’s weapons, electronic and communications systems
- engineering – operating, maintaining and refitting ships, submarines and aircraft
- logistics – coordinating office, accounting, stores and catering systems
- medical – providing a healthcare service for Royal Navy personnel and their families
- aviation – making sure aircraft are prepared for action, and giving navigation information based on weather and ocean conditions
- submarine service – operating and maintaining submarine weapons, electronic systems and sensors
You could work be based overseas, in a warzone, on a ship or at a military base.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and outdoors in all weathers.
You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing.
Career path and progression
After you complete your basic training, you can choose to specialise in a particular area. Examples include:
- mine warfare
- submarine operations
With training and experience you could move up through the ranks and become an officer.