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RFA Reputation

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  • RFA Reputation

    What is the reputation of the RFA in the Merchant Navy?
    Do they offer a good level of training? Are they a good company to work for? Are they seen as lesser or better than any other commercial company?

  • #2
    Depends how close to the military you want to be as they sit in a strange position where they're not the military, but they're pretty far removed from your standard commercial merchant navy as well, so comparing them to commercial companies is a bit of a tough one. The best way to describe them is the logistics side of the Navy - you aren't strictly military, but you're so far under it's wing that you may as well be. If you went from RFA to a merchant vessel you'd have quite a few surprises (and vice versa).

    They pay better than almost all other cadet companies, so that's a big plus. There's a lot of time spent sitting around alongside compared to commercial vessels.

    As for training you'll be working to the same syllabus as the rest of us merchant officers so you'll cover the same things and sit the same exams. As with any company, the quality of training onboard really depends on the people.
    27//Officer Cadet//Phase Three//Warsash

    My officer cadet blog -


    • #3
      They are famous for shafting junior officers and regularly have recruitment crises, they use agency to hire all ranks which shows you they have massive staff retention issues. Expect to be stuck in a shore establishment "dry docking" for many, many months (meaning you'll pay full UK tax) then suddenly be shipped off to start a 4 month trip on the 20th of December because some old hand onboard decided he wants Christmas off. The senior officers think they're God and there is very much an "us and them" nature in the rank structure, which you'll infrequently find on merchant vessels. Their pay is fairly average, but like I said, you'll likely pay full tax on it. Conditions onboard are questionable and seem to be a bit Royal Navy like sometimes, I was told there would be extended periods without internet or phone usage onboard when I was invited to sail with them. RFA vessels are now being used as passive-aggressive Royal Navy vessels as well, because the naval fleet doesn't have the numbers to cover the areas they are interested in.

      You'll get a good pension from them though, as it's a civil service job. You might also see some more interesting places like hurricane damaged Caribbean islands.


      • #4
        I don't know, ask someone in the Merchant Navy...
        'Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans'