How to Leave the Royal Marines

Updated April 17, 2017

The Royal Marines, with their slogan "Be the best" and "It's a state of mind" is an elite British Naval force. The force is known all over the world for its strict and gruelling training regime lasting 32 weeks. During this time, recruits learn to swim, parachute and develop the fitness necessary to be a marine. Beyond this, recruits receive traning in close combat, instruments of war and a host of other skills. If a recruit wishes to leave after signing up, he needs to bring it to the attention of his Commanding Officer for the appropriate filling of paperwork. The timing of the request, however, can sometimes prove problematic.

Wait until the first four weeks of training are over. No recruit, without compassionate leave (Medical emergency, death of a loved one, for example) can leave during the first four weeks.

Give seven days notice to your CO (Commanding Officer) of the decision to leave. You must give the notice after the initial four weeks and before the six month mark.

Serve the minimum of 2-1/2 years service if you complete training as you cannot leave after the six month mark. Upon completion, you can give your 12 months notice to your CO of the decision to leave. In extenuating and compassionate circumstances, such as a death in the family or an extreme circumstances that mandates a marines presence, the CO generally approves a leave.


Be sure before you sign. It can be difficult to opt out, as there is a lot of peer pressure and many suffer from feelings of guilt. Stay on top of dates. The periods for opting out are small and recruits are kept busy during this time. Be sure to keep a close eye on your opt out dates and be prepared to raise the issue at once.


Leaving the military before a designated time is against military law. An offender will face prosecution and prison due to breach of contract.

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About the Author

Alan Faeorin-Cruich has been writing and editing professionally since 2001. He has worked for publications such as "FLAGS Press" and "3DK." He specializes in legal and business topics. Faeorin-Cruich has a bachelor's degree from Edinburgh Napier University.