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  • RN vs MN

    So, we have all probably looked at the option of going the military route at somepoint, i almost applied for the RN a few months ago but decided to leave it a bit and see what was what, but now im back to trying to decide. What the advantages and disadvantages? Especially with the RN i see that for the deck department it seems that after a spell on the bridge you move into the bowels of the ship to look at computer screens as you do enter as a 'warfare officer' wheras in the MN you obviously stay on the bridge if you take that route. So, why did many take MN over RN?

  • #2
    Re: RN vs MN

    I would say because of the reason you stated

    You are going to end up at a desk in a ship not involved as much

    I was a member of URNU in university (university naval unit), and i felt that RN officers seemed to have far less responsability than the MN equivelent, Holidays are crap compared to the merchant navy, and the ships are absolutly heaving with people.

    Also so much ceremonial crap which i cant be bothered with,

    If anything go for the RFA, good balance.

    rant over lol

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    • #3
      Re: RN vs MN

      Choose the MN because if I'd even hinted I was considering going down the grey funnel route the family would probably have disowned me!
      RN Bridge watchkeepers are generally not trusted by the CO in anything like the same terms as on a merchant ship.
      I'm not sure RFA is a happy medium as these days they're far more aligned operationally and structurally with the RN than they are the rest of the Merchant Navy.

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      • #4
        Re: RN vs MN

        RN officers aren't seaman, they're sailors... often people who actually enjoy sailing in their spare time; but can they operate a sextant without mangling it?
        On board, it's just like a cross between boarding school and an open prison.
        You don't have to be that bright to be an RN officer - if anything, intelligence is frowned upon; and achievements and honours not bestowed by the Admiralty are disparaged.

        They talk up "leadership" and "responsibility" in the RN, but few of them could cope with daily tasks of being an MN officer, because MN roles are broken up into myriad parts and distributed about; and because being in the military is all about not making independent decisions about anything of any significance... more like a sheepdog than a "leader of men".
        In the military you are just a section of piping for orders to be flushed through.
        I've heard RN ratings say that "Warfare Officers eat their own babies" - I don't quite know what they mean by that (military slang is inaccessibly tedious), but would anyone notice if they were lifted up and plonked in an office on a naval base (or any SCADA-system-integrated factory) doing the same sort of thing?

        Some retard decided that it would be an improvement for RFA applicants to have to endure the ritualistic pointlessness of the AIB, and then dress up like sailors for an equally inane summer camp at BRNC. Whether it was the RN trying to bring the RFA down to their level; some old farts in the RFA wanting to dine off the RN's reputation, because they don't feel like they get enough respect for what they do, is anyone's guess. Perhaps the coming SDR will see the RFA evolve into something more like Foreland Shipping, and rescued from the jaws of navalisation!

        You never know, you might find that you're the sort who would prosper in the RN. :48:

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        • #5
          Re: RN vs MN

          I actually think BRNC might be quite fun if I pass AIB
          Admittedly possibly only because I know I'll only have to be there for 6 weeks and not the 12 months or so of an RN officer

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          • #6
            Re: RN vs MN

            I think perhaps I can add some objectivity rather than invective to this thread. As a former RN Warfare Officer, soon to be Merchant Navy, though I will admit RFA rather than truely commercial. The point raised about RN watchkeepers being trusted with Sweet FA is very true, you call the captain to report all vessels as per his standing orders to let him know what you're doing. Of course in practice this can be a judgement call, I've never called the old man at 3 in the morning to report a vessel with a cpa of 1.9nm. "Warfare Officer's eat their own young" basically as you climb the greasy pole the plum jobs get fewer and farther between and you have to crap on your friends to get them. However, being in the right place at the right time has more to do with it in my experience, with the good drafts, like URNU drives going to the man who's available not the best qualified.

            As to the training, hmmmm. Well there's certainly a lack of support in RN training from a professional point of view. You get sent off to a ship to be taught by a guy or girl who is between 4 - 9 months ahead of you, after 6 months on the ship (not all sea time, I managaed 432 hours bridge time in that period, and a lot of that on operations that didn't help me) you go and do a week of simulator runs and exams, you fail you're out simple.

            I agree with the lack of reasoning of sending RFA cadets to BRNC, though that may just be because I don't want to go back to the place after spending a year there . However, it's unfair to say that Warfare Officers have less responsibility. I appreciate there are ancilliary duties of great importance for MN officer's but the key for me when I was RN was looking after my Division, if you make a bad call or just can't be arsed you can c**k up a young lad or lasses career for ever, and yes the ship's have large complements but that's due to differing requirments in areas from operational effectiveness to fire fighting techniques, as I'm sure my RFA collegues on here can testify when undertaking a BOST you will NEVER have enough personnel for the diverse tasks required.

            In simple terms the MN has it's preset objectives and way's of doing things, as does the Service. However one isn't intrinscally better than the other, I'm expecting to get a great deal of grief walking up the gangway of a Merchant ship as an OC should anyone find out my RN background but I never heard anything but positive comments regarding the MN and I hope at least some of the resepct is shared.

            Whew long post but hopefully it answers a lot of what was asked here!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: RN vs MN

              Oh and about the desk on a ship idea, the PWO in the OPS room actually drives the ship at action, the OOW is there as a safety number and in certain NBCD environments they'd clear the bridge completely. So it's a different job, but not any less challenging.

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              • #8
                Re: RN vs MN

                Haha, I wanted to travel, and work on ships, and almost applied for RN too, then I found out about MN, and I read a lot about it, studied it for a while, and I preferred it, basically because I don't want to go to war, and MN has loads of benefits, like other careers you can get into if you decide you don't want to work at sea anymore.
                "Did I tell you about my theory about sailors? Sailors are the finest people in the world."

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                • #9
                  Re: RN vs MN

                  [nutshell]Because I got booted from the RN recruitment process[/nutshell]
                  Forum Admin

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                  • #10
                    Re: RN vs MN

                    They are two very, very different professions that just happen to share an operating environment.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: RN vs MN

                      Originally posted by hontoir
                      [nutshell]Because I got booted from the RN recruitment process[/nutshell]
                      Worse things could happen, you could make it through and be assimilated!

                      I can't see the appeal of the RN personally, once you put the image side of it to one side, you know, being able to say "I was in the services, I'm really brave and good at stuff", you're looking at not the best pay in the world, and having to live in a less than ideal house on a base - surrounded by "the office", or spend ages cocooned away from friends and family in a sort of parallel universe of military life.
                      On the plus side, you get your free medical and dental care, and the potentially very nice pension; but then is it worth it, when you can't trust your own government to kit you out properly, and when you find yourself "fighting" people who are not an obvious immediate threat to your country?

                      On the one hand, there's a kind of pang of guilt and envy at people who can say that they've "served", but on the other, I can't think of many military people who really impressed me to the extent I thought I wish I was like them. I mean, you look at real specialists like Ray Mears or someone, if you wanted to be good at adventurous stuff, you don't have to sign up for the military. So the MN offers no fewer thrills and spills than the navy, just different ones.
                      With younger eyes it looks impressive, but once you reach your prime of life... your late 20s to early 40s, it just looks silly - dying for nothing due to some elected turkey's blather.

                      If it were like World War ", I think it would be a different thing, and I'd feel that joining up had an obvious and beneficial purpose, but the recent "adventures", well, the word "disincentivising" would be an understatement, I think. Seems to me that the UK needs to think long and hard about what its military is for.

                      I should add that I came pretty close to becoming and Army officer once upon a time (was in the cadets and OTC etc...), but veered away due to issues like Deep Cut and lack of equipment. I think I would have found it difficult to explain to friends and family why I was in Iraq, had I gone through with it. Thankfully, I don't have to, and I don't envy those who went.
                      Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

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                      • #12
                        Re: RN vs MN

                        Originally posted by jack tar
                        Whether it was the RN trying to bring the RFA down to their level; some old farts in the RFA wanting to dine off the RN's reputation, because they don't feel like they get enough respect for what they do, is anyone's guess.
                        It was driven from within the RFA by senior officers who are/were RN wannabes. The RN has no real input on how the personnel side of the RFA is managed.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: RN vs MN

                          Originally posted by effiestephy
                          Haha, I wanted to travel, and work on ships, and almost applied for RN too, then I found out about MN, and I read a lot about it, studied it for a while, and I preferred it, basically because I don't want to go to war, and MN has loads of benefits, like other careers you can get into if you decide you don't want to work at sea anymore.
                          You can just as easily go to war in the MN as in the RN - when you sign on a ships articles you are then legally bound by the Merchant Shipping Acts. That means that in times of conflict the Government can requisition your ship and you with it!
                          As a Merchant Seaman you're in a reserved occupation, this means you cannot be called up into the armed forces but you can be forced to go to sea on a Merchant ship.
                          Regardless of the 'contract' you have with a shipping company, in legal terms when you sign ships articles you're actually signing on for a full year onboard - if the company so wishes they can quite legally keep you onboard for those 12 months. If you decide to go walk down the Gangway then again the company are legally entitled to have the Police arrest you and bring you back to the ship - this is still known as 'desertion' in legal terms.
                          The penalties for 'deserting' a merchant ship before being properly signed off/discharged are a maximum jail sentence of 2 years and/or a fine of upto ?250,000.
                          Admittedly it's almost unheard of these days, but should we go to war you can bet the Government/Companies will obey it to the letter.
                          Not a lot of people know that!

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                          • #14
                            Re: RN vs MN

                            Regarding RN Officers pay, it's actually pretty damned good, although admittedly you have to pay income tax.

                            See here:

                            http://www.armedforces.co.uk/royalnavypayscales.htm

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                            • #15
                              Re: RN vs MN

                              I'd be more worried about pirates than war zones!

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