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The Average Navy Sailor Salary

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A sailor in the United States Navy gets to travel around the world and make a difference in other countries as part of the armed forces. While a part of the Navy, sailors earn competitive pay while not having to worry about paying for room and board. In addition, sailors earn additional special pay and housing credit while serving in the Navy.

Rank and Service

Pay in the Navy is determined by rank and years of service. An entry-level sailor starts at the rank of E-1 and can advance to E-2 after nine months. An additional nine months may allow him to advance to E-3 and six months later a sailor can advance to E-4 and beyond. With additional education and training such as a college degree, sailors can become officers. Their ranks are similar as they go from O-1 up to O-6. Some circumstances such as getting other sailors to join will allow a sailor to be promoted more quickly.


According to, an enlisted sailor who has been in the Navy less than two years will earn $1,447.20 per month as an E-1, $1,622.10 as an E-2, $1,705.80 as an E-3, $1,889.70 as an E-4 and $2,061.30 as an E-5. A sailor with two years of experience will earn $1,813.20 per month as an E-3, $1,986.30 per month as an E-4 and $2,199.30 as an E-5. Three years of experience yields a $1,923 monthly salary as an E-3, $2,094 as an E-4 and $2,305.50 as an E-5. Those with four years of experience earn $2,199.90 as an E-4 and $2,414.40 as an E-5. Officers earn a much higher salary with $2,745.60 per month as an O-1 with less than two years of experience up to $6,776.70 as an O-6 with four years of experience.

Housing and Subsistence

Sailors also receive housing, food and basic necessities pay known as the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and the Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS). In 2010, enlisted sailors received $323.87 per month in BAS and officers received $223.04 per month. Sailors who do not live in government quarters and who live in off-base housing receive BAH based on the cost-of-living in that location. Sailors who live in a more expensive area will receive more than those who live in a less expensive area, according to the Defense Travel Management Office of the Department of Defense.

Special Pay

In addition to salary, BAS and BAH, some sailors may also be able to receive certain types of special pay. This is given to certain sailors who are able to perform special skills or who may be serving in riskier environments. For instance, Diving Duty Pay for enlisted sailors who dive pays a maximum of $340 a month while officers receive $240 a month. Other types of special pays include Sea Duty Pay, Foreign Language Proficiency Pay and Submarine Duty Pay.


Bryan Cohen has been a writer since 2001 and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double degree in English and dramatic art. His writing has appeared on various online publications including his personal website Build Creative Writing Ideas.

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