Advance through Training as a Coast Guard Reservist

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Two Coast Guardsmen operating a Coast Guard small boat during operations.

Basic Training

Welcome aboard ... now stand at attention!

As with any military service, your journey begins at basic training.

Basic training is tough. You'll be challenged every day, both mentally and physically. You'll be pushed, tested and worked harder than you ever thought possible. But you will graduate confident, knowing you accomplished something you and your family can be proud of.

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, N.J. This intense eight-week program is designed to acclimate you to a military environment of rules, regulations and accountability.

In other instances, if you have prior service or professional experience, you might attend our Direct Entry Petty Officer Training Course (DEPOT). This three-week course is also at Cape May, N.J.

No matter the program, training consists of military courtesies, drills and ceremonies, military conduct, leadership, 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.

You will be tested on your physical abilities. The chart below illustrates the physical requirements all recruits must meet in order to graduate basic training.

 
Men will be expected to perform: Women will be expected to perform:
  • 29 push-ups in 60 seconds
  • 38 sit-ups in 60 seconds
  • Run 1.5 miles in under 12:51
  • Sit and reach 16.50"
  • Complete a swim circuit
  • Tread water for 5 minutes
  • Jump off a 5-foot platform and swim 100 meters
  • 15 push-ups in 60 seconds
  • 32 sit-ups in 60 seconds
  • Run 1.5 miles in under 15:26
  • Sit and reach 19.29"
  • Complete a swim circuit
  • Tread water for 5 minutes
  • Jump off a 5-foot platform and swim 100 meters

Those who fail will be given additional instruction and coaching – but you should come to basic training mentally and physically prepared. The more abilities you have, the more comfortable you'll be. The training staff at Cape May is there to help, but time is short and training is intense. Come prepared. 

By the end of training, you and your fellow reservists will be a confident and disciplined team of Coast Guardsmen.

In the first year, basic training or DEPOT satisfies the two-week annual training commitment for both reserve enlisted and officer recruits.

Additional Training and Advancement

Coast Guard class 'C' courses, open to both enlisted and reserve members, provide advanced training in your chosen specialty. This prepares you not only to perform your specific job or duty in the Coast Guard, but also equips you with unique jobs skills not found elsewhere. And some 'C' school courses are designated "Reserve Only." These are created specifically for reservists who cannot attend longer courses because of their civilian job constraints.

Because the Coast Guard is the smallest branch of the military, every job is important and everything you do gets noticed. As a reservist, you will receive more training in your field by taking class 'C' courses, which means higher advancement in rank, greater pay, and ultimately more leadership responsibility.