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Nicholas Groh, June 11 2020

Things You Need to Know When Joining the Navy

This is for the people who either have just joined the Royal Canadian Navy, or are looking to join.  You may have questions like: What is the Canadian Navy like? Or What is an every day in the Navy like?

We will discuss 4 topics;

1) Recruitment process can be lengthy, be patient it's worth it!

2) What a day in the navy is like?

3) Professionalism

4) The opportunities that the navy presents.

1)     Recruitment process can be lengthy, be patient it's worth it!

      What is it like?  They will briefly run you through the process that you have to take.  For me and other Naval Warfare Officers, it is pretty similar; you apply and complete the paperwork than a long wait for the actual interview and aptitude test. They may have you take another different test depending on your trade.  In my experience, I applied in September and I was accepted in late May and sworn in mid-June.  That would be 10 months for me. Talking with some people who also went through the process it can take anywhere between 4 months to 2 years, but most fall within 6 months to a year.

      Once you are accepted you go straight to Basic Military Officer Qualification course (BMOQ) (or BMQ if you’re not an officer).  Direct entries do the full BMOQ which takes a few months.  For people who are still going to school, odds are you will be taking BMOQ over the next two summers. Some people get a week's notice in advance and others are lucky and have 2 months' notice before their basic training.  From there you will go into naval trades or phase training.

2)     What is a day like in the Navy?

       “Stick through the beginning, because it becomes really worth it.”- something I hear everyone say.

      Talking from a Naval Warfare Officer’s (NWO) point of view, it is amazing.  Most of the NWO's I’ve talked to cannot see themselves doing anything else!! When spending time on the navy’s ships, every day is something different, there is never a day where it was the same as yesterday. 

       “If you like doing something different every day, then the navy is for you. At least from the point of view of my trade (NWO), honestly the best part of the job is that it's always changing. Some people may hate the change, but to me it's awesome! You never get bored, and you're constantly learning new things.” – SLt Hodgins

      Different from what I heard a few people say about what the military is, our goal is to serve and protect.  This includes patrols along the coasts of our home country and foreign countries, peacekeeping, pirate hunting, and international water control (includes pirate hunting, whale, and other environmental protection actions)

3)     Professionalism

      Most people that I have talked to in the navy mentions how much the Canadian navy is like a HUGE family.  Everyone knows almost everyone, mostly due to how small the Canadian Navy is and by having two main naval bases.  

      This can work for you and against you.  If you are looking for positions and have a good reputation you can go far.  On the other hand, if you mess up it spreads faster than you can imagine.  

       You get close with a lot of people of all ranks; therefore, you have to understand how to separate the personal from the professional.  You can’t let things get in the way if doing your job and that could be hard for some people.

4)     The opportunities the navy presents.


      This is the main reason I choose to join the navy; to travel.  I have lived in so many places, experienced many cultures and the food… oh, the food. 

      I asked my friends what their best advice is that they can give to someone who’s going into the navy and they quite a few have said “don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.”  This includes a specific position, exchanges with a foreign navy, a special couple months posting in a country like Europe.  The worst they can do is say “no,” but they are often looking for people to fill in these positions. 

The Royal Canadian Navy is one hell of a fun job and I can’t wait to personally experience more of what it has to offer.  Come and get involved! The navy is always looking for recruits and involvement from people.  If you don’t want to join you are more than welcome to join us when a day sail is offered!

Royal Canadian Navy Instagram

Quick video of daily work at sea

Trades and RCN Youtube page

Written by

Nicholas Groh

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