The Royal Navy is one of the world's most formidable armed forces. According to Defence Analytical Services and Advice, the Royal Navy consists of 38,720 active servicemen and -women as of March 2010. If it's not in battle, the Royal Navy's job is to ensure that the navigable waters of the United Kingdom are safe, as well as offer support to other countries during times of strife.
Citizenship and Drug Policy
At the time that you wish to enlist, you must be a citizen of the United Kingdom. More specifically, you must be a British citizen, a citizen of a Commonwealth country or a citizen of the Irish Republic. The Royal Navy does not require drug testing for entry. However, it has a strict policy against drugs, and illegal drug use is not allowed. Periodically the Royal Navy conducts random drug tests, and the force requires a mandatory drug education program every three weeks.
Age and Physical Fitness
Like most armed forces, the Royal Navy has strict age requirements. This is to ensure that prospective members are mentally and physically able to perform the job duties. To join the Royal Navy, you must be 16 to 37 years old. The cut-off date for age limits is the day you enter the training program.
You will also be required to pass a physical fitness exam. As part of the exam, you must run 2.4 kilometres and pass a swimming test by jumping into deep water wearing overalls, treading water for two minutes and swimming 50 meters. You will also be required to complete a regimen of callisthenics and stretching. The time within which you must complete the fitness test will depend on your age and sex.
Medical and Criminal Record
You must undergo a physical examination to show you are disease-free and lack any pre-existing conditions. The pathologist decides whether you meet physical standards.
In addition, your criminal history will be evaluated. A criminal record does not mean you will be denied entry. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act of 1974, the Royal Navy will evaluate the criminal history and decide if enough rehabilitation time has passed in order for you to enlist.