Royal marine commandos take part in front line combat, on land and at sea.
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What does a Royal marines commando do?

Once you’ve completed your initial training you’ll become a general duties marine before moving into a specialist role. You could be based in a unit or group such as:

  • 3 Commando Brigade – three commando units, responding to emergencies around the world as part of the Joint Rapid Reaction Force
  • Fleet Protection Group, support the navy and protect UK nuclear weapons
  • Fleet Standby Rifle Troop, trained to board ships at sea

With around two years’ experience you could train in a specialist area. Your duties will depend on your job. Specialist roles open to you will depend on your experience and rank. Specialist jobs include:

  • aircrew – working with helicopters, flying reconnaissance missions or getting supplies to the frontline
  • communication technician – using electronic equipment to listen to enemy radio activity
  • assault engineer – building bridges, obstacles and training to use explosives
  • signaller – providing communications between land, sea, and air and commandos in the field
  • chef – feeding commandos whatever the conditions or environment

With the right physical and mental attitude and commando experience you could go on to join the special boat service (SBS). The SBS is the Royal Navy branch of the UK Special Forces who have specialist skills and perform military operations at sea and on land.

You’ll play a key role in dealing with manmade humanitarian and naturally occurring crises. You could be deployed in the coldest of climates or the hottest deserts, so you’ll need to be adaptable to all challenges to get the job done.

What do I need to do to become a Royal marines commando?

No specific qualifications are needed for entry in to this job. You must be physically fit and be a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen, or have British dual citizenship. You’ll need to be aged between 16 and 32 and pass the Royal Navy recruitment process.

Jobs in the Royal Marines are open to men and women. You may also be eligible to join the Royal Marines Band Service and are also accepted onto the All Arms Commando Course which is part of the initial training course. Those who finish the training can be posted to support roles in 3 Commando Brigade.

The first step to joining the marines is to contact the Navy. They will check if you are eligible to apply and you’ll be asked to attend an armed forces careers office and speak with a careers adviser about your options. After this, if you’re still interested, you can fill in an application form.

You will be tested in a number of different ways during the recruitment process. Tests will include:

  • literacy, numeracy and problem solving
  • a medical
  • residential course (three days)
  • physical fitness
  • a formal interview

You can work through examples of the tests on the Royal Navy website.

  • Royal Navy (Procedures and Practice Test Booklet)

The Royal Navy website has more information about the recruitment process and how to apply.

Royal Marine Reserves

If you’re interested in life in the Royal Marines but don’t want to commit full-time you could think about volunteering for the Royal Marines Reserves. You’ll go through the same training as full-time recruits and get the same pay as the same ranks in the regular marines. If you’re interested in finding out more about life as a Royal Marine reserve visit the Royal Navy website.

Royal Navy (Opens new window) (Life as a Royal Marine Reserve)

Royal Marine Cadets

If you’re aged between 13 and 18 and would like to find out more about life in the Royal Marines then you could be interested in Royal Marine Cadets. These are part of the Sea Cadets. You’ll be taking part in activities on the water as well as those on land, like orienteering and fieldcraft. To find out more and to search for a Sea Cadet detachment in your area, visit the Sea Cadets website.

Sea Cadets (Opens new window) (Royal Marine Cadets)

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Discipline
  • Physical fitness
  • Teamwork

Essential qualifications

  • No specific qualifications are needed for entry in to this job.

Where to find out more

Royal Navy Careers

Royal Marines – eligibility

Selection process for Royal Navy and Royal Marines

Royal Navy – how to join

Royal Navy – talk to us

Royal Navy – life as a Royal Marine Reserve

Sea Cadets

Where could I be working?

You must be prepared to go wherever you are needed around the world, which may mean long periods away from home in places like South East Asia or Africa.

Your work and training could take place in all conditions, from deserts and mountainous regions to jungle environments. You could be working under conditions which are physically and mentally challenging.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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