HMS Explorer

HMS Explorer

HMS Explorer is based at Kingston-upon-Hull, her specific role is to provide sea training opportunities for undergraduates from the Universities of Yorkshire including (but not limited to) Leeds, Sheffield and Hull. 

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She is also available at any time to conduct military tasking as directed by the Commander in Chief Fleet.

The undergraduates are studying towards a variety of degrees and from a wide range of backgrounds; their common ground is a general interest in the Royal Navy (not necessarily as a career), a positive attitude to embrace new challenges and the potential to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Upon a successful first year of training, members are awarded the honorary rank of midshipmen. 

The Yorkshire Universities Royal Naval Unit recruits its new entry undergraduates in the month of September each year. If you are interested in joining (remember this is University Royal Naval Unit and NOT the Royal Navy – therefore there is no liability for call up) then please contact us at: 

Yorkshire URNU, Carr Lodge, Carlton Barracks, Carlton Gate, Leeds, LS7 1HE

Or Contact us by phone - 01904 668688 or email -

Royal Navy’s smallest ships take part in squadron exercise


HMS Explorer Latest News

North East patrol vessels visit London

North East patrol vessels visit London

Royal Navy patrol vessels join NATO exercise in Baltics

Royal Navy patrol vessels join NATO exercise in Baltics

See all news for HMS Explorer

Current operation University Royal Naval Unit

To provide high-quality sea training experiences to undergraduates from universities, developing seamanship, team building and leadership skills in a maritime environment.  These ships also support the Fleet in a range of roles around the UK and European waters, showing the White Ensign in places that larger vessels cannot reach.

  • Exercise Baltops

    Exercise Baltops is the largest multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea, demonstrating the UK's continuing commitment to the collective security of NATO allies.

  • Alongside

    Alongside in her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base

Location UK

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Unit History

The First explorer1956

HMS Explorer is the second ship to bear the name; her predecessor was an unarmed experimental Walter-turbine submarine, was launched in 1956.

Teething Problems1958

Explorer had many teething troubles that her first captain never took her to sea, eventually made an appearance in 1958. She was impressively fast, with submerged speeds of 25 knots.

Ship History1965

HMS Explorer was laid up in 1965 and scrapped in 1969-70.

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Commanding Officer Simon Ricketts

Simon Ricketts

Rank: Lieutenant

Lieutenant Simon Ricketts joined Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth in September 2012. Simon assumed command of HMS Explorer in October 2017.

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HMS Explorer weighs 54 tonnes 


HMS Explorer Has a top speed of 22 knots

HMNB Portsmouth

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URNU Alumni