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Royal Navy rating

Alternative titles for this job include Seaman, seawoman, sailor

Royal Navy ratings work in a variety of roles on board ships and submarines, and at naval bases.

Average salary (a year)

£19,000 Starter


£36,000 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 Royal Navy rating

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could apply to join the navy through an HM Forces Serviceperson Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship.

You'll apply directly to the navy to find 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 do the Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA) followed by an interview.

If you have the right skills, you'll be asked to attend the 4-day Pre-Royal Navy Course. This includes further interviews, fitness, medical and aptitude tests. If successful, you'll be offered a place on the navy's basic training programme.

More Information

Career tips

You will need to pass physical fitness assessments, including swimming, to be accepted into the Royal Navy. Get fit to Join has information on how to check your current fitness and how to improve to the level required.

Further information

You'll find more about how to become a rating from Royal Navy Careers.

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
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • concentration skills
  • 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
  • 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

As a Royal Navy rating, you could:

  • operate a ship's weapons and communications systems
  • maintain and refit ships, submarines and aircraft
  • co-ordinate delivery of equipment and supplies
  • provide healthcare to Royal Navy staff and their families
  • assist with navigation based on satellite and sonar systems
  • maintain submarine weapons, electronic systems and sensors

Working environment

You could work at a military base, on a ship, be based overseas or in a warzone.

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.

Throughout your navy career, you'll have the opportunity to gain qualifications in your area of expertise.

On leaving active service, you could use your skills, qualifications and experience to go into a new career. You can find details about support and opportunities from:

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

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Courses In England

Public Services First Certificate

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Bexhill on Sea

Public Services Diploma level 2

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Newport

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