Seaman Specialist

Service:Surface Fleet
Branch:Warfare
Level:Rating
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At a glance

What you’ll do

As a member of the team who sails the ship, you’ll be indispensable to the smooth running of some of the most advanced warships on the planet. And from the minute you join you’ll be on your way to becoming a professional sailor. Seaman Specialists experience a true life at sea. From navigation to guarding your ship in port, your seamanship will help protect our nation’s interests – wherever you are in the world.

Your role

  • Steer your ship, act as lookout, and communicate with other vessels.
  • Moor, secure and guard your ship when in port.
  • Operate smaller weapons like General Purpose Machine Guns.
  • Drive fast rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB) in all conditions.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • GCSEs, A-Levels, NVQs or a degree
  • MCA accreditation

Skills you'll develop

  • Advanced seamanship skills, valued far beyond the Naval Service 
  • Technical skills including signaling, sailing, mooring and operating machine guns

Career progression

What you'll need

Eligibility

  • You must be aged 16 to 36
  • You need to be a minimum height of 151.5cm and within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • You must be a British or Irish national, a Commonwealth citizen who has lived in the UK continuously for the 5 years prior to applying, or a dual national
  • You don’t require any qualifications to begin with

Skills and interests

  • Willing to learn new skills with different types of equipment 
  • A love of teamwork
  • A passion for life at sea
  • A sense of adventure
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest and have satisfied the basic eligibility criteria, you will be sent an online application form

  • Naval Service Recruitment Test (NSRT)

    You’ll be tested on general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Pre-Royal Navy Course (PRNC)

    This four-day induction to life in the Royal Navy is a pass or fail course

  • Start training

    Once you’ve passed a Security Check, you’ll be offered a place at HMS Raleigh


Initial training

Your Royal Navy career begins with 10 weeks’ basic training at HMS Raleigh, a shore base near Plymouth. The discipline, teamwork, organisational, firefighting and weapon handling skills you learn here will stay with you right through your career.


Aim to get as fit as possible before you arrive. You’ll be doing a lot of physical exercise, and you’ll find it much easier if you’re already in shape. There’s also a swimming test, so if you can’t swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.


Professional training

Once you've got the essential military and maritime skills under your belt, it will be time to start your specialist training. You’ll spend 10 months focusing on:

  • Learning the skills and techniques needed to re-supply, anchor and berth a ship
  • Using tactical close range communications systems
  • Learning how to operate certain short-range weapons
  • Preparing for life at sea, including understanding all the vital safety procedures