Royal Navy ratings serve onboard ships, submarines and in naval bases, like the one at Faslane. Their work varies depending on their trade or specialism, from steering ships as a seaman or woman to servicing and repairing aircraft as an air engineering technician.
You can choose from around 60 rating jobs in the six branches:
warfare – steering the ship, measuring weather and sea conditions or processing communications
engineering – looking after the mechanical and electrical systems of the ships, aircraft and weapons
medical – providing health care as a dental surgery assistant, medical assistant or naval nurse
aviation (Fleet Air Arm) – servicing and repairing aircraft or providing support to the aircrew
logistics and administration – providing support services such as catering, supplies and administration
chaplaincy – Royal Navy chaplain.
All Royal Navy ratings must be ready to serve anywhere in the UK and overseas and must be prepared to go into combat zones at any time.
You could be:
taking part in combat operations at sea
taking part in exercises in home waters or abroad, to practise for battle
taking part in peacekeeping or humanitarian operations
helping in search and rescue missions
operating equipment that finds and destroys mines
ordering, preparing and serving food
carrying out repairs on the weapons systems aboard a ship or submarine.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
what job you do.
The starting salary for Royal Navy ratings is £16,235 during basic training. After completing 26 weeks training, this rises to £20,000.
Salaries according to ranks are:
Able Rating – £20,000
Leading Rating – £32,796
Petty Officer – £37,061
Warrant Officer – £50,838.
You get extra allowances in some jobs and for being overseas. The Royal Navy provides subsidised food and accommodation, uniforms and protective clothing, free healthcare and a pension.
Working conditions vary, depending on where you are and what you are doing.
You may be away from home and family for several months at a time.
You can be sent anywhere in the UK or abroad, sometimes at short notice.
Hours might be irregular and you might have to work shifts.
You are entitled to six weeks holiday.
Space for living and working on ships, and particularly on submarines, can be limited.
It is not always adventurous and exciting; there is a lot of routine work.
You should be aware that in the Royal Navy you will at times be operating in difficult and dangerous conditions and there may be the risk of injury or death.