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Careers / Royal Marines / Joining process

Recruit Orientation Phase

What is it?

The Recruit Orientation Phase (ROP) is a four-week phase based out of Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM), Lympstone.
This phase of your journey to join the Royal Marines culminates in a three-day field exercise, known as Exercise First Step, (or Ex First Step) and Royal Marines Fitness Assessment (RMFA).

What will I do?

The phase includes:

  • Drill and personal administration

  • Weapon handling

  • Basic fieldcraft

  • Lectures including: thinking strategies, nutrition, Royal Marines Corps history and health and hygiene 

A confidence at height assessment on the high obstacle course is also conducted, along with physical conditioning through:

  • Sub-maximal training to achieve level 11 on Multi-Stage Fitness Test (MSFT)/Bleep Test

  • Five overhang pull-ups

  • 40 press ups

  • 50 sit ups (the RMFA)
Swimming Assessment

Everyone that joins the Navy must know how to swim and you will be assessed on this before joining. The swimming assessment is conducted across the Candidate Preparation Course, the Recruit Orientation Phase and, for Royal Marines Officer candidates, the Royal Marine Officer Selection Course. 

You will be expected to: 

  • Step off a three-metre platform

  • Complete two laps of the pool, approximately 150m, using the breaststroke and without touching the sides or floor of the pool. There is no time limit

  • Tread water for two minutes

  • Climb out of the pool without using the steps

  • The test is conducted in swimming trunks or shorts without equipment and no goggles are to be worn unless for a medical reason. 

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