Advantages and Disadvantages of Enlisting in the Navy




We’ve already discussed the advantages and disadvantages of joining the Army.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Joining the Army



In this article, we’ll focus on advantages and disadvantages of joining the Navy.


While there are numerous similarities between the pros and the cons regardless of which branch of the Military you choose to join – Navy, Army, Air Force, there are, of course, a number of pros and cons that are completely different. 

Let’s consider the advantages and the disadvantages of life in the Navy…





Advantages of Joining the Navy


1  Job/ financial security


Job instability these days is commonplace.


However, if you join the Navy, or any branch of the Military, you’ll benefit from job and pay stability. 


There are various bonuses on offer too, both retention-based and skill-based bonuses. And, while not so commonplace, there is also “hazardous duty pay” to consider. 


Additionally, in the Navy, as it is with the Army and the Air Force, you get paid bi-monthly – twice each month. 



2  Free housing

You may be wondering why would someone in the Navy need free housing when they reside on a ship?


Well, for junior sailors, accommodation, as you know, is available onboard. Otherwise, you’re entitled to an apartment-type room within the barracks.


More senior sailors are offered on-base free housing, or they can opt for a housing allowance (BAH – Basic Allowance for Housing). 


BAH is determined as to the cost of living in the area of being stationed. 


Sailors with families receive a higher BAH rate than standard. 



3  Free college

After the initial 90 days of enrollment in the Navy, every sailor has eligibility for financial compensation.


This compensation may be used to cover living expenses, or can be put toward the cost of college classes. 


After three years of active Naval service, thanks to the GI Bill, the full cost of college tuition will be met, in addition to a housing stipend if necessary. 


There are circumstances that the GI Bill can be transferred over to a spouse or to a child. 



4  Free healthcare

Free healthcare is available to active Military personnel as well as to family members. 


Healthcare includes the full cost of routine health checkups, hospital visits and physicals. 


If preferred, Military staff can opt for civilian healthcare providers rather than Military. 


There’s an available plan that permits active Military to state their own preference, whereby they must pay a minimal co-pay if civilian healthcare services are desired.



5  Retirement benefits

While many organizations no longer offer pensions to employees, the Navy offers one of the best pension schemes. 


Naval personnel that complete an active term of 20 years or more are entitled to 50 percent of basic monthly pay in addition to continual healthcare benefits. 


More recently, the Navy introduced a “blended” retirement system whereby Navy personnel can contribute to a matching 401(k)-type pension account.



6  Promotion opportunities

Everyone that joins the Navy has every opportunity for promotion. 


There’s advanced training and annual performance evaluations in the Navy.



7  Worldwide travel

Arguably, one of the largest draws of the Navy is the chance it provides to travel the world free of charge, whilst being paid to do so. 


Whenever you visit a port, sailors are invited to enjoy special tours and cultural excursions, all free of charge.



8  Paid vacation

Naval personnel – all Military personnel – receive 2.5 days per month annual leave. In all, that equates to 30 days’ annual leave. 


That’s far more than standard annual leave in the U.S.



9  After-service career opportunities

After Military service, because the Navy equips its personnel with numerous specialized skills and plenty of training – both hands-on and academic – it shouldn’t be difficult to find well-paid work.



10  Tax-free shopping

All Navy personnel are able to take full advantage of tax-free shopping at the Navy Exchange and the Commissary. 


At the Commissary, costs are kept low through subsidies. 





Disadvantages of Joining the Navy


1  Lengthy working hours

Shifts in the Navy can be 12 hours or more. You could be spending many months out at sea. 


It’s no walk in the park being in the Navy.



2  Lower rates of pay

A reliable paycheck is one thing, but rates of financial compensation are not always favorable in the Navy in comparison to alternative jobs in the civilian sector that offer similar hours and have relatively similar requirements. 


Regardless how many hours worked in the Navy, because every sailor is salaried, pay rates can be relatively low. 



3  Minimum service obligation

If you decide to join the Navy, whether that be as a commissioned officer or through enlisting, you can’t just quit if the going gets tough. 


Normally, Naval service obligation is at least four years, perhaps even longer, depending on your contract.



4  Deployment

If you join the Military, be that the Navy, the Army, or the Air Force, be sure that you will be deployed at some stage throughout your service career. 


You may be deployed for two to three months, or you may be deployed for up to nine months at a time. 


Deployment entails an intense pace of life. Further, deployment also usually means that communication with family members is curtailed, though this is dependent on the mission. 



5  Lack of privacy

Because Naval personnel are expected to reside in tight quarters – be that onboard a ship or within barracks – this means there’s generally a real lack of privacy afforded.


Your chain of command will, likewise, be checking with you on a more-than-frequent basis.


Military life is, generally, an “in-your face” type of lifestyle. 



6  Disciplined lifestyle

As is provisioned in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, all Military personnel must maintain discipline and adhere to regulations. 


If you go against these regulations, you could suffer from withheld wages, a loss of rank, or, in worst-case scenario, jail time. 


Military life is all about maintaining discipline. 



7  Where you gonna live?

When it comes to relocation, the Navy does go out of its way to fit in with personnel requirements. 


Nevertheless, what always comes first is the requirements of the service. 


As such, none of your preferred assignments may be granted. 


One exception to this rule is for personnel that have disabled family members – family members that require specific care. 


In this case, personnel are enlisted in the Exceptional Family Member Program.



8  Separation from family

Times of deployment will, of course, mean that Navy personnel are away from family for extended periods.


However, it doesn’t just stop there. 


Frequently, the months prior to deployment call for intensive and extensive training. In the Navy, that probably equates to months out at sea. 


Training, schooling and temporary duty assignments also likely mean time away from family.



9  Physical fitness

Though for many, maintaining physical fitness for your work is a bonus, there are many others that struggle to cope. Particularly so when its a job requirement. 


In the Military in general, there are regular physical fitness tests, there are grooming standards, and there are limitations to body weight. 


Every six months, sailors must take an PRT – Physical Readiness Test. In order to pass the PRT, there are, as you’d expect, strict minimal requirements. 





Life in the Navy is Not For Everyone


There are many benefits to Naval life, but there are many downsides, too. 


If you truly believe that a career should not only be about yourself – that a career is about being disciplined and working for the greater good of your country, then life in the Navy may be a perfect fit for you. 



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