As well as unit based activities, SURNU participate in a number of ship visits throughout the year, which give it's members the best insight into what a warship is like first hand.
As we are based so close to HMNB Portsmouth, the ship we visit most often is HMS Victory, the flagship of the First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy and the oldest commissioned Warship in the world! HMS Victory is famous for having been the flagship of Vice-Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson during the Battle of Trafalgar and is part of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the home of the history of the Royal Navy though the centuries.
During Weymouth Waterfest 2015, students from Southampton and Oxford URNUs had the opportunity to visit RFA Argus while she was moored at nearby HMNB Devonport. RFA Argus is a ship of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and her primary role is to serve as a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship (PCRS), effectively providing a floating hospital which can be deployed anywhere in the world.
During the visit, the students were shown around the onboard 100-bed medical facility, including the operating theatres and various wards, as part of a rehearsal for their role in London International Shipping Week 2015. The tour followed the path of a casualty brought aboard by helicopter, through the various stages of treatment and ultimately to the ship's recovery ward.
6 members of SURNU were lucky enough to be invited onbaord HMS Bulwark during November 2011, where they sailed for 4 days from Newcastle to Devonport. During this time, they participated in extensive departmental tours including the ops room, many engineering spaces, the vehicle deck, and also a trip ashore on board a Royal Marine vessel.
HMS Bulwark is an Albion-class landing platform dock, the UK's newest class of amphibious assault warship, and has recently taken over the role of the flagship of the Royal Navy.
Also whilst on board, Officer Cadets on their phase 2 training (Initial Fleet Time) were on board, and SURNU were warmly welcomed by them, and were invited to spend a lot of time with them, enabling lots of question and answer periods, and also to have a general chat on what it's like during Officer Training. A few familiar faces were also seen among the IFT ranks, most notably a number of ex SURNU members!