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Royal Navy rating

Alternative titles for this job include 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.

Average salary (a year)

£14,700 Starter


£48,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

Variable variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

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

  • entry requirements vary

More Information


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.

Direct Application

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 39
  • 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 will then take the Naval Service Recruiting Test (NSRT) and then 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.

More Information

Further information

You'll find more details about being a rating from the Royal Navy.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • 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:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Depending on your role, you could:

  • operate and maintain ships' weapons, electronic and communications systems
  • operate, maintain and refit ships, submarines and aircraft
  • coordinate office, accounting, stores and catering systems
  • provide a healthcare service for Royal Navy personnel and their families
  • make sure aircraft are prepared for action
  • give navigation information based on weather and ocean conditions
  • operate and maintain submarine weapons, electronic systems and sensors

Working environment

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

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

After you complete your basic training, you can choose to specialise in a particular area. Examples include:

  • communications
  • logistics
  • mine warfare
  • submarine operations

With training and experience you could move up through the ranks and become an officer.

You can go into a wide range of careers after leaving the navy. The Career Transition Partnership, Quest and Troops to Teachers have more information on careers outside the armed forces.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

RAF Regiment Gunner - Full Time Career with Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £21,091.00 Annually
  • Location: Not known

The Royal Navy - Royal Marines Commando - HM Forces Serviceperson (Public Services) Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £20,400.00 Annually
  • Location: The Admiral Sir Henry Leach Building, Portsmouth, Hampshire

Courses In England

Public Services Level 2

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: Colchester

HNC in Public Services

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Milton Keynes

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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