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Living Close & Starting a Family

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  • Living Close & Starting a Family

    Hi all, I have a couple of questions which I think some of you may have been through or are going through (not sure if this is the right part of the forum - please move if needed). I am currently waiting to start at the BRNC with the RFA.

    Firstly is there any advantage of moving near the sea after you have qualified? I currently live in the Midlands and am happy/settled with my fiancee at the moment, I presume it's possible to just travel from wherever you are based to the ship or wherever you need to be. We can move if we need to but it wouldn't be ideal.

    Secondly I was wondering if any of you guys have started a family whilst you've been working? Or are any of you considering it? I don't want to wait too long until we start a family but there seems to be a lot of sacrifices if I carry on working. I don't want to miss the birth, and 4 months away from a potentially new born seems like a lot of growing up to miss, and I don't relish the idea of having my other half cope on her own for 4 months. On the flip side I want this to be my career so it's leaving me between a rock and a hard place.

    How do people get around this or cope with it?

    All opinions welcome please give your 2 cents.
    I beard, therefore I am.

  • #2
    We are in almost identical situations, I currently live in Bristol with my Fianc? and are getting married next year and hoping to start a family and I'm due to start BRNC 20th May.
    We are planning on both moving to Fleetwood after BRNC when I am at college and living together there as its three years with a lot of college time. I think you can extend certain deployments so you can have certain times off for Christmas or birthdays so I’m sure you could do the same for the birth of your children. Also don’t forget about paternity leave and things like that I am sure the RFA will be very supportive. I think as we mostly fly out to join ships closed proximity to east midlands will be more beneficial than living by the sea!
    My dad was in the RAF (crab not spelling mistake) for 20 years and was away a lot but it hasn’t stopped my fantastic relationship with him. He did however get divorced from my mum and I the thought has crossed my mind about the long term effects it may have on relationships however this is where I got to.
    I am in love with my future wife I cannot wait to be married I also cannot wait to join the RFA and my fianc? is supportive and happy for me to go and proud of me. Everything else is crossing bridges you may never come to so I’m just taking my time as I go and IF (and that’s a big one) It affects anything so negatively then I’ll re-evaluate things then. I think if your settled and happy together you will work around everything but as we are starting the same time in the same situation I’m sure well bend each other’s ears!


    • #3
      Are you two planning on renting a flat then for the three years? Does your other half have to leave her job behind or would it be a bit easier to up sticks and move? My other half is in a new job that could have some prospects and I don't know if I would feel comfortable if she left that for me, and on the training pay she would certainly need a job if we did move!

      It's good to find someone in the same situation, it seems so hard to find any info out on these things at least I'm not alone.

      Extending the deployments to have more time off does make sense, and if it works out could be really handy. I'll have to play it by ear and hope for the best I think, not much else I can do.

      Have added you on the site just in case I forget your username again! Feel free to drop em a PM anytime
      I beard, therefore I am.


      • #4
        In terms of living close to the sea, not unless you are working on ferries with short contracts. Any decent company will pay your travel expenses door to door, and if they don't you should consider whether or not you want to be working for them.

        In terms of starting a family, financially wait until you are qualified. Being away from home with very young children is hard, but in reality you get to see more of your kids growing up working at sea than most guys who work 9 to 5. I got to take my kids to school and pick them up every day when I was at home, which most dads don't get to do very often and I got to spend loads of time with them when they were off school.

        The other thing to consider is that when they become teenagers you will be glad to get away from the little ****s.

        On a serious note it is difficult on mum's, but that is all the more reason to stay living near parents so that hse has a little extra support than to dash off and live near your ship's home port where she won't know anyone. There are definite extra stresses involved in raising kids when you are at sea, but it's doable.
        Go out, do stuff


        • #5
          I don't have experience with the kids side, but I am friends with someone who has kids and works at sea plus I have heard of a few people who go to the offshore sector when they have kids as it is shorter trips like 1-2 months compared to 4 or so months which might make a difference for you as for me it's all wait and see kids are the last thing on my list right now hahaha
          Be what you want to be not what other people tell you to be
          Adapt and over come
          Careers At Sea Ambassador


          • #6
            Don't start a family, spend your money on fast cars and nice holidays instead. Always an option.
            "Crazy like wild wolves threatened by fire, send them all to the bottom of the sea."


            • #7
              Well just to confuse folk I did change my name from my actual full name to something a little less google-able!

              Yeah we are looking at renting a little place for the three years, She will have to leave her job but we are both in stop gap jobs at the moment after getting made redundant and moving to live with parents while I was applying for the RFA. She wants to start a proper career and put her degree to good use so she will look at that and her family live near enough to Fleetwood to give her support when I am away so we are quite lucky.

              The only thing I am concerned about is having to live in college in phase one then our plans will have to change and possibly have her moving home for a while. I still cant get a 100% answer as to that but we will see as time goes on.

              Yeah its going to be good to have somone in the same situation and I was concerned id be the only one of my age and family situation so the support will be great!

              Whatever you decide to do I wish you the best and it may be good to get our better halves in touch with each other (or create a thread for them on here) so they can natter and help each other i imagine they will go through things we cant imagine!


              • #8
                1) Paternity leave. Tell your appointer when baby is due and demand (politely) that she ensures you are on leave at the time. RFA are very good at getting you home on "compassionate" grounds. This includes stuff like death of immediate family, other family issues, and should damn-well include births. I have seen incredible stuff done to get people home for compassionate cases - for example winched off ships in the Indian Ocean by helicopter and steamed hundreds of miles in a frigate to fly home pronto from a dodgy east African hellhole. But make sure you work with your appointer to manage your leave when you know a baby is due.

                2) No real benefit to living near the sea, unless you really want to live in Weymouth or Plymouth or Liverpool or somewhere that RFAs spend a lot of time. Guaranteed that if you do that you will always be sent to the opposite end of the country and be permanent cadre on the Glenmallen guardship. There are benefits to living far from London but near an airport. Or I suppose living near London. If you live vaguely close enough they will tend to work on the basis that you take a train to Heathrow/Gatwick for international flights when it's often much easier to fly from your home airport. Do not expect to be flying overseas all the time, a lot of RFAs spend a lot of time around the UK.

                3) Extending trips isn't always an option. Everyone wants to be on leave for Christmas, so you're just screwing someone else up.

                Other than that, Clanky's post is very good advice, and once you get to sea you'll be able to ask other people in the same situation how they deal with it.


                • #9
                  Thanks for all your replies guys. I appreciate the responses, I think asking others when I get out to sea is a great idea. I'm glad there's no pressure to move near a home port, it will be easier on my better half being around family.

                  I guess there's only one way to find out how it will go
                  I beard, therefore I am.


                  • #10
                    Hi there,

                    Firstly a lot of good advice seems to have been written here but I'll throw my tuppeneth worth in anyway. I'm in my second phase at Fleetwood so I know what the place is like. I think you might find that they insist that you live in halls for the first phase to aid "integration", which is ridiculous for the more mature of us but you have to bite your lip and do the four months. We had guys who are from Fleetwood having to live in, but you get used to it eventually. At least it's a relatively cheap place to live so maintaining a place with your missus shouldn't be as hard as if you were being sent to Warsash.

                    On a more positive note, I am in exactly the same situation as you, being engaged. Having been away to sea now I can assure you it is do-able though. Little things help like having 30 mins free phone calls a week which you can just about use even in the South Atlantic, and email. On my last ship my missus was even able to come and sail with us from Plymouth to Portland then stay the weekend, which was lovely.

                    We are looking to start a family in the next couple of years, so I am pretty much on borrowed time in the RFA. Once I qualify I will be looking around for anything closer to home such as offshore supply because the leave is more conducive to family life. I know the RFA will try and help for being at the birth etc., but I did sail with a guy who had a baby then had had to sail about three weeks later. He was desperately trying to get out and into somewhere a bit easier on the family but his next trip saw him sent to the Falklands, so it doesn't always work out.

                    Hope some of what I said is of use and not totally negative! Good luck with the preps for Dartmouth etc.


                    • #11
                      Thanks Jayday, it's good to know there are others in the same boat ( and are coping ok. How did you manage to get her on the ship with you? Sounds great!
                      I beard, therefore I am.


                      • #12
                        Im a cadet with wife n kid, thankfully STC dont require you to live in halls so thats a major plus for me. So far Ive found it fine, theres the odd weekend wheres it hard to work/revise with a little one running around, but its not a problem you will have!

                        1st sea phase coming up, obviously going to be tough but it will be worth it long term.


                        • #13
                          Let me know how it goes ned, good luck with it!
                          I beard, therefore I am.