Royal Navy - Ranks 32nd on the world stage.

On the face of it, it does seem peculiar.
It certainly does. In the 'ordinary' merchant navy you know you're going to sea as soon as you get your ticket (assuming you've got a job) although there is a wide variety of 'going to sea'

If you work for Maersk you're likely to be on one of the big box boats doing 4-5 month trips between Asia and Europe with a couple of months of leave at the end of it.

BP or Shell means you're probably pootling round the Gulf a fair bit.

If you're on cross channel ferries you do 2 weeks on/2 weeks off so a good job for someone with a family.

Cruise liners run to a timetable so you can pretty much predict what ship you'll be joining and when. They also get 1 on/1 off leave ratios.

All the decent companies pay an annual salary so you get the same pay every month. You can also claim tax back if you do more than 183 days outside the UK.

Everybody gets their own cabin too.

Another difference is that you don't 'deploy'. The only time you get a big chunk of people joining a ship at once is with lascar or Filipino crews (non-officers) where they tend to join/pay off together.

Officers just join a ship to relieve someone who's done their 4 months (or whatever).
 
It certainly does. In the 'ordinary' merchant navy you know you're going to sea as soon as you get your ticket (assuming you've got a job) although there is a wide variety of 'going to sea'

If you work for Maersk you're likely to be on one of the big box boats doing 4-5 month trips between Asia and Europe with a couple of months of leave at the end of it.

BP or Shell means you're probably pootling round the Gulf a fair bit.

If you're on cross channel ferries you do 2 weeks on/2 weeks off so a good job for someone with a family.

Cruise liners run to a timetable so you can pretty much predict what ship you'll be joining and when. They also get 1 on/1 off leave ratios.

All the decent companies pay an annual salary so you get the same pay every month. You can also claim tax back if you do more than 183 days outside the UK.

Everybody gets their own cabin too.

Another difference is that you don't 'deploy'. The only time you get a big chunk of people joining a ship at once is with lascar or Filipino crews (non-officers) where they tend to join/pay off together.

Officers just join a ship to relieve someone who's done their 4 months (or whatever).
It's an interesting comparison, nice one.

The Merchant Navy seems to balance separation with time off in fairly equal measure on the whole. The RN would do well to follow suit.

By contrast to the Merchant Navy, the RN offers 9 month deployments with a fortnight off at mid-point, repeated 18-24 monthly. Reducing the pay when alongside back in UK.

No-one ashore seems to be able to figure out why that maybe a problem. But, they know it's a problem.

The nature of the RN is they seldom transit A to B in a straight line, chugging along economically.

Warships tend to loiter, loop the loop, then dart about at high speed in unpredictable directions whilst stopping and starting multiple combinations of equipment until it breaks. If it doesn't break we take it apart to find out why, then break it.

I'm being a little disingenuous. In truth, most warships are equipped/ammunitioned and manned ready for war, flood, pestilence, famine, earthquake, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, hurricanes, tornados, lightning, spitfires, pirates, collisions, groundings, land-based and waterborne emergencies, fishing infringements, submarine activity, etc., etc.

And...we need to practice our art.

If only someone could figure out why the fcuk we waste so much time, money and effort recruiting and training people who get fed up with long periods away from home and bugger all time off at the end of it.

I'm stumped, me.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
If only someone could figure out why the fcuk we waste so much time, money and effort recruiting and training people who get fed up with long periods away from home and bugger all time off at the end of it.
I think this:
bugger all time off at the end of it.
To deal with this you need more bodies. You also need to allow those spare/returned bods from sea duties to eff off for the duration of their leave and not be knobbed about for the sake of it. The Army has great form in pointless non jobs and the Andrew needs to avoid this mindset.
 
Another major difference is that if you decide you don't like working for your current employer you can tell them to do one and get a job with another shipping company.
 
I’d suggest that the reason we are losing people is pretty obvious - the impact on their families. We try and cram 2000 days at sea into the first 14 years, and then wonder why they all wrap. Equally, only about a quarter of the RN is actually in a sea-draft.

But lets be honest - if there were a simply evolutionary change, we’d have done it by now. And don’t forget that the USN and Fr Navy are in similar situations.

To my mind, there are two solutions

1. Blow up our manning model.
2. Accept that losing people is just the way it goes, and deal with it.

I’d suggest option 1 (but that’s the type of bloke I am), but it will require honest conversations, the type of which the RN, Defence and UK have historically shown they are incapable of having...
 
An addendum - the USN equivalent of Drafty use to publish a jobs list, every two months/8 weeks, with all the jobs available on it. They now publish a jobs list with all the jobs they intend to fill on it.

Depending on your rank/branch, the difference can be as high as 20%.

Interestingly, the “high tariff, bloody hard work” jobs have remained on the list, and as a result they are losing Commanders and Captains (and some Lt Cdrs) hand over fist. Originally this was seen as a good thing - a loyalty test if you will - however, as the numbers leaving continued to accelerate they’re having an “oh shit” moment, but don’t know what to do about it...
 
However, you also get skills, experience and currency from living with it 24 hours a day and working on it thousands of miles from home where you can't just get someone on the phone and don't have the parts. It's a completely different mindset IMO, and when it comes down to it (and putting to one side the valid argument about retention) it's the latter we *need* not the former.
Nowadays, a maintainer on a ship is only a Skype call away from the real experts (other voip is available). Plus if it's the Radar type of stuff A2 was (I think) referring to, then the onboard maintainer is not trained to diagnose or repair down to component level, which means realistically that any repair is restricted to a quick and simple board change. If the right PEB is held.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Su

Surely the Navy has career servers, those who get qualified enough o do the job they like and then they resist attempts to be moved or promoted?
The old TA had plenty and pre options for change the Army had plenty of privates with more than 12 years under their belt. In fact ration storeman and other such support roles were usually old sweats
The navy used to call them '3 badge ABs' - a rare and vanishing breed.
 
The navy used to call them '3 badge ABs' - a rare and vanishing breed.
Which, having seen the general disappearance of them, is not a bad thing.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Equally, for every one that was, there were a dozen lazy-arsed bullies which would've been sacked in private industry.
Who do you think runs the warehouse? Its the never going to be in management 12 year served passed over for salaried promotion knuckle dragger. Replace him and the loss of production would require two under 21's with a spreadsheet to explain.
Simply classing experience and a sully attitude as bullying is wrong. Often they love the job but tolerate their managers who generally are fuckwits who will move in, feck up a project and move off before the damage becomes obvious. Those knuckle draggers are there for the long haul, its what civ div relies upon. They have earned the pension that is usually stolen before retirement!
 
Who do you think runs the warehouse? Its the never going to be in management 12 year served passed over for salaried promotion knuckle dragger. Replace him and the loss of production would require two under 21's with a spreadsheet to explain.
Simply classing experience and a sully attitude as bullying is wrong. Often they love the job but tolerate their managers who generally are fuckwits who will move in, feck up a project and move off before the damage becomes obvious. Those knuckle draggers are there for the long haul, its what civ div relies upon. They have earned the pension that is usually stolen before retirement!
Fully agree with regard the damage a transient management can cause, but I'd not simply class all as fcukwits because of it.

Possibly other services differ but 12+ year AB's are usually AB's for 12+ years for good reason. They're either there through contentment or resentment, in my petsonal experience.

Whilst some are very good at their jobs, some only think they are and the toxic effect some can have on morale can be significant.

The reason the contract ends after 12 years of non-promotion, in my personal opinion, is probably reasonably well founded.
 
I had a 3 badge AB who joined my ship, who then tried to be the swinging dick down the mess. He was sparked out by a young ET after the AB got shit faced and then tried get the ET to go get the AB more beer. Whilst obviously I could never condone mess deck violence, the RPO and I never pressed the AB as to why he had a black eye, and what caused it.

About three weeks later the AB was removed from the ship to face alcohol related charges from his last assignment. You can imagine my shocked face...


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Guns

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Detach pay from rank and pay a small banded pay rate per rank - allow for temporary pay bands relative to the role and responsibilities you have. Then you can be a LS(CIS) with network admin responsibility on a MCMV and get paid the same as a PO on a FF/DD for the same role.

Reward people with money, leave or at least public recognition for work well done.

Breaks in harmony time for an individual and a unit to be reported to Parliament each quarter by the Defence Minister.

POTL on completion of deployments 4 months or greater. You need at least 2 weeks to re-introduce yourself to your family. Oh and match deployment return dates to school holidays or get automatic exemptions for Naval families to take kids out of school on parents return from deployment.

Have portable careers. If you are a CIS rating allow means to drop in and out of career. Get basic level done, say 5 years and x/y/z qualifications. Then if you want to leave and remain in your professional field allow people to sign up for a 3 year contract as and when. Skill test them, compare their roles in civi street and then bring them in at the right level. Been a CISCO admin with managerial experience and running a team - well you left at LS but we have some PO or COP billets that need filling, come in for an interview.
 
The talk about the individual platforms being more capable is all very well and good. But hides the fact that the oggin is a fairly big place. And I reckon a ship that has 10x the striking power of a WWII BB probably does not go from A to B at 10 times the speed. And does not have the same escort package doing FP for it.

As mentioned earlier in this thread, a fastboat full of bang can ruin the day of the most modern surface unit. This is a similar planning factor to that of say F35 - it is a million times more capable, but can still be disabled by methods the hooligans were using in the Western desert in the 40s. And we have a lot less to pick up the slack, and it can't just have bodge tape slapped over a hole...

I think we in all 3 services have a problem of getting the estimate for capability vs mass, wrong. Or at least failing to convince HMG of a decent balance.
 
Today, in terms of strength, we have 30,000 sailors and rank 32nd, just behind Qatar and well behind Greece, Bolivia, Mexico,Columbia, Finland & France in terms of combat vessels.
How many genuinely capable ships do Bolivia, Mexico, Columbia et al have deployed around the World?


This does not include SSBN and SSN operations.

Maybe we are not doing so badly after all?

The talk about the individual platforms being more capable is all very well and good. But hides the fact that the oggin is a fairly big place. And I reckon a ship that has 10x the striking power of a WWII BB probably does not go from A to B at 10 times the speed. And does not have the same escort package doing FP for it.

As mentioned earlier in this thread, a fastboat full of bang can ruin the day of the most modern surface unit. This is a similar planning factor to that of say F35 - it is a million times more capable, but can still be disabled by methods the hooligans were using in the Western desert in the 40s. And we have a lot less to pick up the slack, and it can't just have bodge tape slapped over a hole...

I think we in all 3 services have a problem of getting the estimate for capability vs mass, wrong. Or at least failing to convince HMG of a decent balance.
The thing is the firepower is provided by the escorts these days. The escorts do the job of the battlewagon themselves.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
How many genuinely capable ships do Bolivia, Mexico, Columbia et al have deployed around the World?
Why would they waste their taxpayers money pretending to be in charge?
 
Irrelevant to my point but:

Are they global trading nations?
Are they leading members of NATO?
Are they permanent members of the UN Security Council?
Are they part of G8?
Are they entirely dependent on seaborne commerce for their economy?

Surely paying for ships and not deploying them would be a waste?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Are they global trading nations?
Are they leading members of NATO?
Are they permanent members of the UN Security Council?
Are they part of G8?
Are they entirely dependent on seaborne commerce for their economy?

Surely paying for ships and not deploying them would be a waste?
Irrelevant to my point, maybe however they like to defend their substantial coastlines.
Also what nation doesn't trade globally or rely on seaborne commerce. We dont entirely depend upon seaborne commerce.
 
If only someone could figure out why the fcuk we waste so much time, money and effort recruiting and training people who get fed up with long periods away from home and bugger all time off at the end of it.

I'm stumped, me.
From a JR point of view.

Point 1. Earlier this year I watched a tv show (BBC, 3 episodes) where I found out more about what my ship was doing day to day, than I did while living on the bloody thing and experiencing it all (we all get taught about communication in leadership, but it seems to go right out the window once the real world is applied. Maybe a knowledge is power kinda thing? ). Added on to this that I now see less sunlight than a submariner due to work loads, as a LH I could be expected to be able to train new recruits at Phase one or two, yet on ship I get my bedding inspected to check I’m changing it weekly and can be threatened with MAA action if I don’t have a pillow case on my pillow, or a poster isn’t held on with 4 bits of blue tack, or I haven’t unplugged something even though it’s turned off at the plug, or your expected to stand rounds of your accommodation every night (baring in mind in barracks you’re only inspected nightly as a trainee or if you’ve really messed up), then it starts getting to some of the lads after a while. I’ve been in 13 years now (I was an 11 year AB and got my hook a month before my 3rd badge, make of that what you will, but my reasons are that it’s hard for a RN lad to be promoted when working at RM and RFA units, either way I’m long in the tooth these days to know what sea time is like) but my lads joined after they’d had other jobs, they get promised the world if they work hard, but then when we get to the carrot they were promised, they end up getting given a turnip instead, then the bosses are wondering why they’re not happy and start scratching their heads. Case in point we were promised a cracking run ashore of 7 days somewhere we don’t often go, for the last 2 years, that run ashore finally arrives and the lads are then told “actually you only get 3 days, it’s 50-50 leave, so you can’t go with your mates as they have to stay onboard and work”. They’ve been planning this thing for 2 years, got hotels sorted, bought tickets to events and the week before you tell them they have to change their plans and you wonder why they’re annoyed? This isn’t a one off though, it’s been happening for years.

Point 2. This relates to the attached quote. Earlier this year my department (I’m a blanket stacker) had 2 weeks summer leave to allow for preparations to deploy and were told we’d get the extra week at Xmas. Now looking at working that week the week after we get back to the uk (I.e. arrive back home after n amount of months away, get a weekend off and back to work on Monday alongside) to do post deployment off loads.





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