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Families & Veterans / Families

Loved one joining the royal navy?

What it means to become part of our extended family

Support for the whole family

We understand the impact Royal Navy life can have on the whole family, when a loved one moves away from home or is deployed. It’s a unique lifestyle that only those who’ve experienced it can really relate to.

From a wealth of practical benefits through to a thriving community of like-minded people sharing the same experiences; help and support is always at hand.

Keeping our people safe

Protecting our people is our number one priority. It’s why we have the highest health and safety standards, and rigorous processes in place to make sure they’re met.

Whether we’re rescuing people to safety in a humanitarian mission or helping to resolve a global conflict, we’re prepared to deal with any risk and protect our people while they carry out their vital work.

Staying in touch

During training

Ratings and Officers can stay in touch during basic training, before they embark on role-specific professional training. This varies enormously, and can include time at sea, so staying in touch will depend on the demands and location of the training.


For Ratings, basic training lasts 10 weeks, and takes place at HMS Raleigh, a shore base in Torpoint, Cornwall, while Officers spend 30 weeks at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth.


During operations

Operational demands take priority, naturally, but we make every effort to ensure our people can stay in touch with their loved ones at home.

  • At shore units, they can use Ministry of Defence (MOD) email facilities and WiFi to access social media platforms. Mobile phones are allowed, unless security measures restrict their use.
  • On surface ships in UK waters or when the vessel is alongside (moored in port), they can use MOD email facilities and their own mobile phones.
  • On deployment, MOD email is still available, but for security reasons access very much depends on the ship’s operational task. All personnel have access to satellite phones, with at least 30 minutes of free calls every week.
  • On submarines, security is paramount, so short messages can be sent and received via the Familygram system.


All Royal Navy personnel get six weeks of paid holiday every year (on top of public holidays), along with additional allowances for time spent at sea in certain roles. Generally, there are three main leave periods per year: Easter, Summer and Christmas. There can be flexibility in these dates but this depends on the role, unit and its operational commitments.


  • People Support Organisation is the Royal Navy’s welfare function. It includes the Royal Navy Family and People Support (RN FPS), who deliver both emotional and practical support to the Naval Service Community through information and communication, community centres and activities, and specialist support when required.
  • The Royal Navy Forum is an online function, available and moderated 365 days a year for families to ask questions directly to naval staff, and connect with people in a similar situation. The Royal Navy also uses Facebook pages, YouTube and Instagram in an official capacity to share news from Units, also many will have their own X accounts.
  • Service Family Accommodation (SFA) is available after basic training for married couples, civil partners, serving lone parents and long term relationships. There is also service accommodation available for short-term rental if families want to visit.
  • Child Tax Credits and Wrap Around Childcare' help working parents pay for childcare, before and after school clubs and holiday clubs.
  • Longer separation allowance provides extra daily pay when personnel are away for extended periods on deployment.
  • Continuity of Education Allowance helps our personnel achieve continuity of education for their child (or children) if or when they’re on frequent assignments, both at home or overseas. It means service personnel’s children have the education they need while their parent is fulfilling naval duties.
  • If a serving personnel’s family lives away from their unit, we offer a travel allowance to help get them home.
  • Defence Discount Service is a membership card entitling serving personnel and spouses to discounts on everything from cinema and National Express tickets, clothing and food outlets, to cars and phones.
Explore our benefits

Join the Forum

Stay informed, involved and in touch — and get support from our organisations and charities.

We’ll help you understand and navigate this unique way of life in a safe and secure environment.

Register for the royal navy forum