Royal Marines fast rope training from a Merlin helicopter. Credit: LPhot Kyle Heller, Crown Copyright
Navy

What Does It Take For A Woman To Join The Royal Marines?

Do women have to shower with men and are they allowed to wear make-up? All your questions are answered

Royal Marines fast rope training from a Merlin helicopter. Credit: LPhot Kyle Heller, Crown Copyright

Want To Know What It Takes For A Woman To Join The Royal Marines?

Since the Military opened up Ground Close Combat (GCC) roles to women in 2016 there has not yet been any females to successfully complete the arduous 32-week Royal Marine training course and fewer than five have earned the right to wear the coveted green beret through passing the All Arms Commando Course (AACC).

The rigorous training that Royal Marine recruits undergo at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Lympstone is widely recognised as some of the toughest and longest of its kind in the world and about 40% of attendees do not pass the course.

It is understood, based on information in a Freedom of Information request, that there are about 15 to 20 women applying to join the Royal Marines at present, and fewer than five females form part of the current recruit intake.

For those of you who might be thinking of taking the plunge and seeing if you’ve got what it takes here are the answers to some of those questions you might not want to ask at the interview.

Physical tests for the Royal Marines are gender-neutral. Credit: Richard White, Crown Copyright
Physical tests for the Royal Marines are gender-neutral. Credit: Richard White, Crown Copyright

How Fit Do Women Need To Be To Join The Royal Marines?

There are three stages to the process and the tests are all gender-neutral.

1Pre-joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

  • requires personnel to complete 2x2.km runs on a treadmill (2% incline). The first has to be completed in under 12.30 mins and the second in under 10.30 mins, following a one-minute break.

2. Potential Royal Marines Course (PRMC) A four-day intense course and includes:

  • 1.5 mile squadded run in 12.30 minutes and then 1.5 mile best effort run (under 11.15 minutes).
  • VO2 shuttle run (Bleep test, min level 10.5).
  • Sit ups (min 60), press ups (min 30), pull ups (min 3).
  • Swimming assessment, including a jump from a 3m board, an 80m swim and retrieving a brick from the bottom of the pool.

3. Basic Training (32 weeks). Towards the end of training there are four commando tests that are pass/fail.

  • Endurance course. These include: ‘two miles of tunnels, pools, streams, bogs, woods, a four mile run and a shooting test.’
  • Nine-mile speed march, completed in 90 minutes, carrying equipment and rifle.
  • Tarzan (aerial) assault course, to be completed in 13 minutes, carrying equipment and rifle.
  • 30-mile march across Dartmoor carrying equipment and rifle, in less than eight hours.
Female Royal Marines will train in the same way as their male counterparts. Credit: PO(Phot) Si Ethell, Crown Copyright
Female Royal Marines will train in the same way as their male counterparts. Credit: PO(Phot) Si Ethell, Crown Copyright

Are There Any Restrictions On The Roles Women Can Apply For?

The full variety of job roles and specialist qualifications are open to men and women.

Can Women Wear Make-up?

Make-up during training is prohibited but ‘discreet make-up’ is allowed once training is complete.

Do Women Have To Have Short Hair?

No, but hair should be tied up neatly (using grips and hair nets of similar colour to hair) if longer than the shirt collar. Hair should not be dyed but under some circumstances, natural colours may be permitted.

Royal Marine beret and flash. Credit: BFBS
The coveted green beret. Credit: BFBS

Do Women Share Accommodation With Men?

In order to maintain group cohesion and ensure females are not isolated during training, accommodation is mixed at CTCRM.

Do Women Share Showers With Men?

No, this is strictly forbidden and separate, lockable showers and toilets are provided.

What Happens If A Woman Gets Pregnant?

For safety and well-being reasons, recruits will be removed from training but will continue to be employed in other roles at CTCRM and will continue to be eligible for the maternity package in line with Defence Policy.

Royal Marines training takes place at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines(CTCRM) in Lympstone. Credit: Richard White, Crown Copyright
Royal Marines training takes place at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines(CTCRM) in Lympstone. Credit: Richard White, Crown Copyright

What Are The Height And Weight Requirements?

A minimum height of 151.5 cm

A minimum weight requirement of 65kg or a minimum BMI of 23.

A maximum BMI of 28 (although some exceptions apply dependent on waist measurement.

How Old?

Recruits must be between 16-32 at the start of training.

Top image. Royal Marines carry out fast rope training from a Merlin helicopter. Credit: LPhot Kyle Heller, Crown Copyright