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Seaman Grade 1A Trainee (RFA)
Job Role

Seaman Grade 1A Trainee (RFA)

You’ll be central to the Replenishment at Sea operations that keep the Royal Navy’s warships moving, all over the world.

  • MCA Certified
  • Royal Fleet Auxiliary
  • Warfare
  • Rating level

At a glance

You’ll be central to our Replenishment at Sea operations. That means transferring fuel to the Royal Navy’s state-of-the-art warships, all over the world. It’s like no other merchant navy job.
Seaman attending to equipment on deck
I have been all over the world with the RFA, and have spent my leave in places like Thailand and South Africa. There’s not many jobs where you can say that.


Seaman Grade 1 AT

Role details

What you’ll do

As a Seaman Grade 1A Trainee in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), you’ll be central to our Replenishment at Sea (RAS) operations. That means transferring fuel to the Royal Navy’s state-of-the-art warships, wherever they are in the world. It’s like no other merchant navy job. You’ll become the complete seaman as you tackle new and exciting challenges every day, from crewing your ship’s fast rescue craft, to being part of the flight deck team, to working with helicopters and their crew. You will also be carrying out bridge watchkeeping duties and upper deck maintenance tasks and driving cranes, or being part of the weapons teams. If you’re already qualified for life at sea, this is your opportunity to take your career to the next level.

Your role

  • Use your advanced seamanship skills to play a central role in the transfer of food and supplies to Royal Navy warships, all over the world. That means getting hands-on with our most complex deck equipment, whatever the weather.
  • Shape your role through personal development and training that’s paid for by us. You could crew your ship’s fast-rescue craft, or even be part of the flight deck team, working with helicopters and their crew. 
  • The role of the RFA is increasingly broad, as we support the Royal Navy in an operational capacity and provide a truly global presence. Whether you’re supporting counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean, or anti-piracy in the Indian Ocean, you’ll be given all the training you need to defend your ship with light weaponry if necessary.
  • Pass on your existing skills and knowledge to junior members of the Deck team, assisting in their development, while continuing your own.

Pay & benefits

  • Earn £25,814 from the day you start
  • Earned Voyage Leave (EVL) of 21 days for every month spent on board ship
  • Membership of a Civil Service Pension scheme 
  • World-class training
  • Potential to travel the world

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Top-up your Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) certification portfolio
  • Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology accredited qualifications

Skills you'll develop

  • Leadership, teamwork, command and management skills 
  • Additional Navy-specific seamanship skills



  • Aged at least 17 years 6 months to apply, and 18 years to commence employment. There is no upper age limit
  • ENG1 medical certificate, unrestricted for worldwide sea service
  • An Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) certificate, with proof of 12 months of sea service stamped in Seaman's Discharge Book
  • Proof of recent sea experience aboard a Merchant Navy vessel, with at least 6 months of the last 36 months in the Deck branch
  • Must be British, Irish or Commonwealth citizens. However, a number of career paths have nationality restrictions. Dual Nationality will be considered providing the first nationality is British. Note: Residency restrictions may apply
  • Four elements of basic training, updated iaw Manila Convention 2010
    • Personal Survival Techniques (STCW Code-Table A-Vl/1-1)
    • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (STCW Code-Table A-Vl/1-2)
    • Elementary First Aid (STCW Code-Table A-Vl/1-3)
    • Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (STCW Code-Table A-Vl/1-4)
  • STCW recognised Navigational Watch Rating Certificate
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (CPSC&RB) or a Certificate of Proficiency in Survival Craft (CPSC) or a Lifeboatman Certificate
  • Need to have confidence with jumping into water and the ability to wade whilst wearing a life jacket

Skills & Interests

  • A real passion for life at sea
  • Strong teamwork skills
  • First-class communication
  • A sense of adventure

Joining Process

From picking your role to starting on your first day, these are the steps you'll take to join as a rating.

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