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 graduate with the knowledge that you've accomplished something that both you and your family can be proud of. You'll be a member of the United States Coast Guard.
After graduation, you'll understand the true meaning of teamwork, the importance of attention to detail, hard work, and a positive attitude.
In other words, you'll be ready - ready for duty.
Basic training varies in length and intensity depending on your experience.
For instance, if you have a high school diploma and enter as a reserve enlisted recruit, basic training is held at Cape May, NJ and is eight-weeks long. The goal of this basic training is to acclimate you to an environment of rules, regulations and accountability.
If you have prior service or professional experience, you might attend the program referred to as the Coast Guard’s Direct Entry Petty Officer Training Course (DEPOT.) This course is 3 weeks in duration at Cape May, NJ. Students arrive Sunday evening and graduate on a Friday. Training will consist of instruction and practical experience in military courtesies, drills and ceremonies, military justice, code of conduct, leadership and supervision, seamanship, uniforms, ranks and rates, career development, first aid and survival, fitness, wellness and quality of life, Coast Guard history, traditions, and values, safety, damage control, small arms, Coast Guard assets and missions, administration and personal finance, watch standing, security and communications. Click here to learn more about this program.
For those with or about to obtain a college degree, Reserve Officer Basic Training is a 17-week course located in New London, CT. If you have the appropriate prior military or professional experience, there is the more condensed two-week Selected Reserve Officer (SELRES) training also at New London. SELRES provides a rapid indoctrination into the Coast Guard.
In the first year, basic training or DEPOT satisfies the two-week annual training commitment for both reserve enlisted and officer recruits. Once an individual has completed Coast Guard basic training, they do not have to do so again.
Physical Requirements: In order to graduate, there are physical challenges you'll have to meet.
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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.
By the end of training, you and your fellow Reservists will be a well-oiled company which functions on teamwork and discipline. You and your family will be proud of how much you've accomplished in such a short time.
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