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How do the phases pan out?

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  • How do the phases pan out?

    Most of us have probably seen the brochures and websites telling you how long each phase is, what I'm wondering is whether anyone might be willing to give a more precise idea of the dates they've had to come and go from college and sea, and whether you get any breaks inbetween phases... I imagine you don't just pile off the ship at port and straight into college... that would like being in the military! Any takers?!
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  • #2
    Re: How do the phases pan out?

    This will vary a great deal between different companies. As an RFA cadet I usually had from days to weeks between college and sea. Sometimes you'll have more than one ship appointment during a phase and have a break between ships. RFA cadets earn leave at a rate of one week to four, but would be considered lucky if they actually get to claim all that leave. Contemporary cadets with other outfits sometimes went straight from college to sea, or straight back to college from sea. Others had a month or two off in the middle, or had to wait weeks for a ship. It's essentially random and variable with the company you work for.

    You'll also get college holidays. I don't know whether any of the sponsoring companies take those out of earned leave, but the RFA certainly didn't.


    • #3
      Re: How do the phases pan out?

      Got this from Alastair Baillie of webular fame (
      It depends on several factors - you have limited time to gain your 12 months "sea time" which is acquired between the college phases. The college term start / end dates are fixed, your company will arrange your sea time around this.

      Mine generally had me flying out to ship within a week of finishing college at the end of phase 1 and phase 3. For phase 1, I spent 6 months 2 weeks onboard and had 3 weeks off before college phase 3 started.

      Phase 5, I flew out within 5 days of finishing college, did just over 4 months, had 1 month off at home, the did just over 4 months on another ship. This gave me 4 weeks off before the final phase 5.

      At the end of the day, college phases arn't particularly taxing - in phase 3 I was lucky if I was in college more than 12 hours a week, and you are there to get your licence as quickly as possible, so if you are looking for long vacations, I wouldn't expect to get these until after you qualify.
      Emeritus Admin & Founding Member