What Is the List of Ranks in the Royal Navy?

The Royal Navy has long been a symbol of Great Britain's power and pride. Her strength lay not only with the ships in her fleet, but also with the crews who sail them. In order for the crews to operate efficiently, a well-defined chain of command is essential for order and discipline.

Junior Ordinary Rates

Junior ordinary rates are comparable to junior enlisted men in the U.S. Navy. In the Royal Navy, these rates are recruit and able seaman.

Senior Ordinary Rates

Senior ordinary rates include leading rate, petty officer, chief petty officer, and warrant officers one and two.

Junior Officers

Junior officer ranks include midshipman, sublieutenant and lieutenant. These are either new officers or men who serve as department supervisors.

Senior Officers

Lieutenant commander, commander and captain are senior officers and usually command a ship or shore-based installation.


Commodore, rear admiral, vice admiral, admiral and admiral of the fleet are the most senior officers in the Royal Navy. They serve as top-level advisers and administrators, and are responsible for entire fleets.