The Royal Navy is struggling to recruit enough personnel because young people do not want to be cut off from social media for up to 90 days at a time, it has been reported.

Many articles state that the service is already suffering from a shortage of engineers and that the situation has been worsened by the need to man the new aircraft carriers, with some of the crews on the Vanguard class boats having to sail three times a year.

According to a survey for the Royal Navy by research firm PA Consulting, there are those who are unhappy about manning the submarine 90 days at a time without their smartphones or social media.

A senior officer said:

“We have never seen such a situation as we are facing.

There are recruits who want to serve in submarines, but they are getting harder to find and a massive challenge is keeping them in the Navy – many serve a few years and leave.

“Being a submariner is a way of life. You are locked away on a very important job but it is true you cannot get on your mobile phone and you cannot Facebook your friends.”

The Royal Navy’s statement is not carried in the article but can be seen below.

A Royal Navy spokesperson said:

“A career as a submariner remains both rewarding and fulfilling. The introduction of a dedicated submarine recruitment team is delivering results, and the majority of targets are now being met.”


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John Boyd-Hancock

Can they not recruit from outside the UK such as the Commonwealth countries? Wouldn’t be the first time the military has taken from abroad.

Seb Haggart

They do all ready! Had many in my intake.

Martin Weston

Yeah I can confirm we still have Commonwealth citizens joining boats, but they have to renounce their birth citizenship to do so, becoming a full Brit, an incentive for some, a turn off for others.

Marcus Russell

John M Buckley

Hugh Mitchell

I wouldn’t mind getting away from social media for 90 days…… maybe I’d sign up if I wasn’t 45, 6’2″ and fat…….

Max Baker

I would join but i have asmtha

Martin Weston

You can join with asthma nowadays, you just have to be attack free for so long

Max Baker

Its so frustrating .. i need to take my inhalers regularly ..its not an attack but if i don’t take them i would get short of breath ..all ive wanted to do was serve

Ray Lovie

Not on boats as need pass sett

Max Baker

As in subs… but i could join surface fleet

Robert Ley

The Royal Navy and the other forces should seriously reconsider its upper age limits for many positions.

Martin Weston

They’ve already upped quite a few pal

Robert Ley

They’re still too low in many roles, in my opinion. For example, why does there need to be an upper age limit of 35 to be an (RAF) intelligence analyst? It makes no sense to me.

Max Baker

They should allow people with asthma aswell

UK Defence Journal

They do to an extent Max.

Max Baker

Im going to phone up tomorow

John Brown

Maybe they’ve all got a conscience !

Darren Harris

37 for RN & 40 for RNR
go for it. Your only have regrets if you don’t try it.

Taff sharp

Im 43, ex para and would love to serve again. 90 days away from the missus with no contact would be heaven on earth!!!!!

Ray Lovie

But the extra beer tokens …..submarine pay


Don’t forget the line of crashed cars n bikes outside the docks 😀

Chris Anthony

What is your source for this info, do you have a link? Is this info that PA Consulting have publicly shared?

Rob Hurley

I would re-join in a heartbeat. I spent 12 years in boats, would do it again if they raised the age to 56!


No. The service is struggling because the intellectual and skilled individuals the admiralty are looking for have realised that parties no longer even pretend to care about the armed forces. There used to be a pride about Service, now you are more likely to be spat on. The disruption to life is bad but it’s part of the job; balanced with pay (at least) comparable to the street, working with some of the best trained and dependable people coupled with some awesome opportunities. However the balance has shifted from ‘this could be a good thing for my life/career’ to ‘why… Read more »

J. Hartley

Nothing new in long patrols. I served in diesel-electric T boats in the 50s & 60s. We regularly did 56 day deployments off the then northern USSR. No social media anywhere then, nor cell-phones. No washing amenities either! We just got on with the job, with a very, very small amount of extra pay. Plus, we had a large Submarine Service, with boats at Gosport, Faslane, Malta, Canada and Australia. Foreign commissions lasted a minimum of 18 months, but could stretch to 2 years. Good life, though, with terrific comradeship, and hardly any dripping !.

Walt Abbott

Maybe you guys could allow women like the Yanks do now. Just keep the cameras out of the showers.

Paul Smith

That’s very interesting and I see that the RN are spending a lot of money at the moment advertising on social media and on TV to address this issue. I know of one ‘Social Media Teenager’ who responded to one of those advertisements and applied to join the Royal Navy as a submariner. This was way back in May 2015. He passed all the entrance examinations and tests and was given a join up date for May 2016. A few weeks before he was due to travel to HMS Raleigh his date was postponed until October 2016 and it’s looking… Read more »