Service:Surface Fleet
A Royal Navy Chaplain preaching and leading a service for personnel on board ship.

At a glance

What you’ll do

The Chaplain is a vital member of any naval unit, with a unique congregation. The team of 30,000 men and women who make up the Naval Service come from all walks of life. They do extraordinary jobs in extraordinary circumstances, all over the world, 365 days a year. It means your congregation – and crewmates – need a unique type of support. We welcome people who practise all faiths (including those with none), so you’ll need to be a friend, adviser and spiritual guide to them all in a multi-faith environment. You’ll be there for whoever needs you to be. You’ll serve the people who serve our nation. 


Your role

  • Just as in civilian life, you’ll preach the word, administer the sacraments, visit the sick, baptise, confirm, marry, bury, and counsel the bereaved, anxious and lost. 
  • With no rank of your own, you share that of the person you’re talking with, from Rear Admiral to the most junior rating. 
  • Develop a wide range of new skills through military training, including firefighting and first aid. You’ll need to apply these skills in operational environments, as well as on exercises.
  • Travel the world, giving crucial guidance to serving personnel and their families. The work you do when mobilised will make a vital contribution to protecting our nations interests. 

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • The opportunity to study for a PGCE or Masters degree

    The opportunity to attend Staff College

Skills you'll develop

  • Communication skills working with Navy personnel, who may have no church background
  • Gain experience working with young people


What you'll need


  • You’ll need to be aged 17 to 49
  • Be a clergy member of one of the following churches: Anglican, Roman Catholic, Church of Scotland, Congregational, Presbyterian, Baptist, United Reformed, Assemblies of God, Elim Pentecostal, Methodist or Churches in Communion
  • A theological degree or recognised qualification from a Bible College
  • To be employed by a church at the point of application, with a view to having three years of experience behind you by the time you complete your training 
  • You must be under the age of 49 when you start training

Skills and interests

  • Understanding of the diverse rigours of Naval life 
  • Ability to work individually, without the structure and support of your church 
  • Physically and mentally fit for the challenge
  • Ability to work as part of an ecumenical branch, alongside female clergy
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest, we’ll be in touch to discuss your options

  • Acquaint visit

    This course gives you a taste of Royal Navy life and what it means to be a naval Chaplain

  • Get approval from your church’s endorsing authority
  • Admiralty Interview Board (AIB)

    This stage takes place over a day and a half. It’s a competency-based assessment that confirms that you’re physically and mentally ready to become a Royal Navy Chaplain

  • Potential Chaplain Interview Board

    Meeting with a Chaplain of the Fleet

Initial training

As a new-entry Chaplain, your initial training will include time at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) Dartmouth. This will provide the military background and sea-awareness for your ministry.

After basic training, you’ll carry out further specific training at sea and on shore, to prepare you for your first appointment. 

If you are going to serve with the Royal Marines, you will carry out further training held at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone. 

After you’ve completed your training will be invited to sit the NCS Board, which is headed up by the Deputy Chaplain of the Fleet and will test your knowledge and competence.