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.”



  1. 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…….

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

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

  4. 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 am I considering this again?’ The RN have always been the underdog as far as advertisement goes unfortunately.

    *RNR and SM-WEO applicant. Only slightly bitter about being told to beat it by the doc, a week before Raleigh due to an unused, unknown and never cancelled prescription for steroid inhalant, after back-to-back chest infection as a youngster.

    Quote is from the Express (yeah I laughed too) via way of the MOD blagsite.

  5. 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 !.

  6. 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 increasingly likely that this will be postponed again.

    So it seems to me that the problem lies more with the current RN recruitment procedures rather than a lack of volunteers. I wonder how many other ‘Social Media Generation’ applicants are in a similar position and, indeed, how many have given up with their application and opted for an alternative career because of the delays.


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