Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 13:39 UK

William starts his navy training

Prince William has begun a two-month attachment with the Royal Navy by learning boat handling skills.

He joined other recruits practising manoeuvres on the river Dart near Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, Devon.

The prince, or Sub-Lieutenant Wales as he will be known, will spend three weeks learning basic seamanship.

His remaining five weeks will be spent on duty in the North Atlantic on the frigate HMS Iron Duke.

William's initial training will include navigation and sea safety. He will also visit the Royal Marines and the Fleet Air Arm.

We need to ensure he has a good appreciation of the roles and capabilities of the Royal Navy
Cdr Paul Halton, Britannia Royal Naval College

His first morning was spent being taught how to operate a Picket boat, learning how to perform an 180-degree turn and how to drop anchor.

Tradition has it that recruits who fail to drop anchor with one clean strike of a mallet must buy the rest of their crew a crate of beer. William managed it second time around.

Britannia Royal Naval College is where all Royal Navy officers start their training and the prince is following in the footsteps of his father, Prince Charles, his grandfather, Prince Phillip and his uncle, Prince Andrew.


Prince William learns boat handling skills

Commander Paul Halton, director of training at the college, said: "Sub Lieutenant Wales is, of course, already a commissioned officer so we don't need to concern ourselves with the new entry elements of training.

"Rather we need to focus on ensuring that he has a good appreciation of the roles and capabilities of the Royal Navy."

While on HMS Duke, William is expected to join patrols searching the waters of the Caribbean for drug runners.

Iron Duke's commander Mark Newland said: "His activities will be primarily based around watch-keeping, ship-driving as well as contributing to the counter-drugs planning.

"He will have a primary role in our disaster relief planning operations as well."

The prince's navy attachment is part of a project to familiarise the future monarch with the armed forces he will one day command.

He is already an officer with the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals and has also completed a four-month attachment with the RAF.


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