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Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Ready to take the next step?
Royal Fleet Auxiliary

Ready to take the next step?

We’re looking forward to welcoming you to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). Joining is your opportunity to begin a life at sea that’s unlike any other merchant navy caFor a start, you’ll be playing a vital role in the Royal Navy operations that help protect our nation’s interests. Before you can get started, you’ll need to complete your full application. We understand that can sometimes be tricky, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Two navy personnel preparing a dinning table looking towards the camera smiling.

Need support?

If you’re struggling with your application, either due to a technical issue or because you’re unsure what information to supply, we have a dedicated recruitment team who can provide all the advice and guidance you need. Just get in touch with us using the details below.

RFA Cardigan bay alongside Manama, Bahrain, with the crew of HMS MONTROSE doing circuits on the jetty.

What’s it really like?

Joining the RFA isn't the same as becoming part of the Royal Navy. You'll still get to serve your country, but you'll do it as a civilian. That means you'll enjoy many of the same benefits as Royal Navy personnel and get to travel the world, but without the prospect of frontline combat. Finding it hard to imagine? There are serving personnel waiting to answer your questions.

People at work on the RFA Tiderace in Portland. Still imagery as part of video captured onboard for recruitment in the RFA.

Wondering if you’re ready?

Joining our world-class team, providing logistical support to the Royal Navy, might seem an intimidating prospect, but it doesn’t need to be. If you’re new to life at sea, we don’t expect you to be the finished article as soon as you apply. Bring the right attitude and we’ll provide all the support you need to start your RFA career.

Get in touch with us today

Chat with our virtual recruiter, 24/7

Your route to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary

Step 1

Complete your application form

Your first step on the recruitment journey is to complete your full application form, which you can find in our Recruitment Portal. We have emailed you a link to the Recruitment Portal. If you can't find the link, please check your spam folder or give us a call so we can send it to you again.

Step 2

Arranging next steps with your AFCO

Once you've submitted the application form on the Recruitment Portal, you can expect to receive a call from your local Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO) to arrange your next steps. This will include requesting copies of certification to ascertain your suitability for your chosen role. If you're applying at an Apprentice or Ratings level, your application will go forward for sift by a Subject Matter Expert (SME) who will check that you have the knowledge and potential to succeed in your chosen role. Depending on your circumstances, some stages may take longer than others. We’ll make sure that you are kept involved and informed throughout the whole recruitment and training process.

More on joining process
Step 3

Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA)

The Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA) is a multiple-choice test that all recruits sit. It tests your general intellectual ability, and how well you do shows your capacity to cope with the technical and academic aspects of training for the role you’ve chosen.

Practice the DAA
Step 4


We'll invite you to a formal interview to assess your suitability for a career in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and specifically the role that you have chosen. This is much like any other job interview, so you should prepare accordingly and ask your AFCO for help if required. If you're joining as an officer, you'll be invited to attend the Admiralty Interview Board (AIB).

preparing for interviews
Step 5

Medical and eye tests

The medical and eye exam are quite comprehensive, because life in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary is physically demanding. If you're already qualified, you'll need an ENG1 medical certificate, unrestricted for worldwide sea service. If you're a trainee you'll have an ENG1 examination arranged for you. Your tests must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors, who are based all around the country. Your local AFCO will arrange an appointment for you at a convenient time and location.

Step 6

Basic training

Once you've passed all the stages, you'll also need to pass a Security and Reference Check. After that you’ll be given details about your provisional place, which will vary depend on your role and what level you join at. As a rating you will begin your training at either HMS Raleigh (in Cornwall), HMS Sultan (in Gosport) or HMS Collingwood (in Fareham). If you're joining as an officer you'll be offered a place at British Royal Naval College (in Dartmouth) and will go through specific training.

Your local AFCO will buy your train ticket to help you get there, provide some joining instructions, and tell you what kit you need. After Basic Training, you'll then begin the professional training that’s unique to your role in the RFA.

Get fit to join