Get Started
Why Join

The Coast Guard’s only enlisted basic training is held at the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, NJ. You'll be challenged mentally and physically every day, pushed and tested harder than you ever thought possible. When you graduate, you’ll be proud and confident, knowing the challenges you overcame.

How to Prepare

You should come to basic training mentally and physically prepared. The best way to get ready for basic training is to talk to your recruiter, who will give you tips, along with some do’s and don’ts. You’ll also want to closely study The Helmsman, your guide for success at boot camp.

Stepping off the Bus

Coast Guard basic training instruction

Recruit basic training is an eight-week course of instruction with new classes starting most weeks. During the first week, you’ll get oriented, receive your uniforms, take your entrance fitness test, and meet your company commanders, who will be your instructors, leaders, and coaches. From them, you’ll learn self-discipline and how to become a productive Coast Guard member.

Practical Instruction

An intense academic program will provide you with the entry-level skills you’ll need to succeed as a junior enlisted member. In class, you’ll learn everything from military justice to ethics and Coast Guard history. During boot camp, you’ll complete hands-on training in a variety of topics, including firearms, seamanship, firefighting, damage control, and first aid.

Other Boot Camp Facts

Coast Guard basic training instruction

You’ll be paid during training by automatic deposit into your bank account.

As a recruit, you will be able to receive letters, but no care packages.

Recruits can earn limited on-base or in-town liberty (time off) in the last weeks of training.

Recruits are allowed to attend weekly religious services.

If you play an instrument, you might join the Ceremonial Band and perform at graduation ceremonies, Coast Guard celebrations, and local events.

Follow the latest at boot camp on their Facebook page.

After Basic Training

About halfway through training, you'll order your preferences from available assignments at different locations and unit types. You’ll receive your first assignment orders about a week later.

Specialty Training

Your first Coast Guard assignment will be as an unspecialized seaman or fireman. After you get your feet under you at your first unit and decide what career choice is right for you, you’ll put your name on the list for advanced specialty training.