Thousands of sailors will see a change in the time they spend at sea over their career — and the impact, for many, will be felt immediately.
The service on Thursday released its latest master plan that maps out sea and shore tour lengths for every rating. It's the first adjustment in four years and just the third update since 2008, when most career paths shifted to this standardized rotation system.
With this update, 13 ratings will see more sea time and 15 will see a drop. Forty-two ratings will see no change to tour lengths.
"Less than half of our ratings in the system will see any change at all," said Craig Schauppner, who has managed sea/shore flow for the chief of naval personnel since it was created in 2008. "I'd say this update is significant, but not as large as the major update we made in 2011 when we adjusted for the first time."
The sea-shore flow system maps out flat-rate tour lengths, so that every sailor in a given rating will serve the same amount of time at sea over a 30-year career. The policy caps sea tours at five years, but allows sailors to extend if they want. Many sailors did just that in recent years in exchange for extra pay or preferred follow-on assignments as officials worked to close thousands of openings at fleet commands like ships and squadrons.
Download the list of tour length changes here.
Also guaranteed under sea-shore flow is at least 36 months ashore for everyone between sea tours.
Glad to see more time in the fleet? Send your take on the new sea-shore flow to Staff Writer Mark D. Faram.
What has officials concerned is the fact that the numbers of ratings considered "sea-intensive" have risen from 17 in 2012 to 25 today.
"That's a little bit of an alarming trend and what that's saying is that the shore duty billet base for those ratings is insufficient to support the number of sea duty billets," Schauppner said. "So we know that those ratings are going to have manning challenges so an increase in the number of those ratings is a concern."
Sea-intensive ratings are those whose sea tours are set to the maximum length allowed, resulting in a total of 18 years of sea duty over a 30-year career path.
If you are in one of the ratings moving up or down in sea or shore duty, there's a chance your current tour will be impacted — up or down.
"We have a grandfather clause in the message," Schauppner said. "This means if your rotation date is within 12 months of this NAVADMIN, your tour length will most likely not get adjusted — I say might because the detailers might make some exceptions here and there in special cases."
"If your [rotation date] is outside that 12 months, you will probably be adjusted."
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.