Welcome aboard - now stand straight and stop smiling!
As with any military service, before you can do anything or go anywhere, you are going to have to go through eight weeks of thrills and challenges that we like to call basic training.
Basic training is tough. You'll be challenged every day, both mentally and physically. You'll be pushed and tested. You'll work harder than you ever thought possible. But when you graduate, you'll do so with the knowledge that you've accomplished something of which both you and your family can be proud. You'll be a member of the United States Coast Guard.
After graduation, you'll understand the true meaning of teamwork as well as the importance of attention to detail, hard work and a positive attitude.
In other words, you'll be ready - ready for the United States Coast Guard.
Stepping Off the Bus
You arrive at Sexton Hall in Cape May, N.J. Most of the next few days will be spent getting oriented, learning your way around, receiving uniforms, getting haircuts (females may pin their hair up within regulation standards), and yes, filling out forms.
You'll meet your company commander. He or she will be your mentor, instructor, leader, coach and guide. Your company commander will break you down. Your CC will teach you self-discipline and how to obey orders. His or her job is to motivate you, and to teach you about commitment and how to serve as a productive team member of the Coast Guard.
You're about to get in the best physical shape of your life, for one good reason: your ability to perform at your best may be the difference between life and death.
We have to know that you will be able to carry out your job in the Coast Guard to no matter what the circumstance. The training center's expert staff will help prepare you to meet the physical fitness qualifications. So, in order to graduate from basic training, you'll need to accomplish these physical tasks:
Please note, you will be tested on your ability to enter a swimming pool from a 1.5 meter platform and safely swim 100 meters in five minutes without touching the side or the bottom of the pool and without any goggles. You'll then have to tread water for five minutes without a life jacket. If you fail to complete this test, you'll be required to get up earlier and attend an additional swim class in the morning before your regular classes.
This is a mandatory requirement for you to graduate from basic training. You should come prepared. The more abilities you have, the more comfortable you'll be. The training staff at Cape May will help you, but time is short.
While in recruit training, you will learn many things taught in formal classrooms. The academic program is designed to provide you with a basic orientation to the skills and knowledge that you'll need to succeed as a seaman apprentice in the field. You'll receive training in everything from the Uniform Code of Military Justice to Coast Guard history, from addressing military personnel to fire extinguishing methods. You'll learn to handle heavy lines, survival equipment and small arms.
After your final exam, you'll be ready for your first assignment.
During the latter weeks of your training, you'll participate in a variety of practical instruction including small arms training, seamanship, fire fighting and damage control. You'll attend classes on small arms safety and nomenclature, and you'll fire the basic pistol course.
You'll participate in seamanship training and learn how to handle lines, practice helm commands, learn about safety procedures and much more.
Recruit Band and Drill Team
If you have musical talent and play an instrument, you can join the Ceremonial Band. You'll have the chance to perform at graduation ceremonies, and other Coast Guard celebrations and local events.
Some Quick Facts
Boot Camp: Before And After
The best way to prepare for Boot Camp is to meet with your recruiter. He or she will give you a list of what you can and can't bring to camp and will help you set up a bank account before you leave.
If you would like to read and see current Coast Guard members in training, click here.
While in boot camp, around your fourth week, you will complete an assignment data card or "dream sheet." On it, you'll be asked to request a geographic location for your first assignment and the type of unit in which you wish to serve. At the end of your fifth week, you will receive your first assignment orders. Assignments are made to afloat and ashore units.
When you graduate, you will be READY to serve. You will be able to perform at your best, no matter what the situation.
Your family will be proud of you. And, you'll be proud of yourself.
For more information regarding Training Center Cape May.
- ENLISTED RATINGS DESCRIPTIONS
- PAY AND BENEFITS
- BASIC TRAINING
- WHERE YOU CAN SERVE
- HOW TO JOIN
- PRIOR SERVICE PROCESS
- ENLISTED FAQS