The Sea Cadets are strongly affiliated to the Royal Navy, and receive further backing from commercial maritime organisations. Its aim is to give young people aged between 10 and 18 the chance to engage in a wide range of activities, on land or sea, with the aim of challenging themselves, learning new skills, developing confidence and, on a very basic level, simply having fun.
What’s unique to the Sea Cadets?
The modern Sea Cadets is a highly professional organisation with 400 separate units across the UK, each one offering the chance for members to have nautical and land based adventures. It is the aquatic side of things which really sets the Sea Cadets apart. From paddling a kayak to helping to crew a yacht, the opportunities on offer include getting to grips with canoeing, windsurfing and power boating. Specialist centres provide the chance to explore skills like diving in Liverpool or dinghy sailing in Weymouth, and the early onshore training lays the foundation for working as part of a team of cadets navigating the UK coastline.
Although having fun is at the heart of the time which youngsters spend with the Sea Cadets, it also offers a wealth of practical benefits. By working within the traditions of the Royal Navy, cadets can gain BTEC qualifications and complete training accredited by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). Aside from this, cadets overwhelmingly report a greater sense of confidence and improved self-esteem, while the experiences they enjoy in the Sea Cadets can help to play a positive role in any future employment or education choices.
This wider social impact reflects many of the motives behind the original formation of the Sea Cadets, in 1856. Back then the units were known as Naval Lads’ Brigades and were created to help the orphans created by the waging of the Crimean War. Over the years, the units became more closely associated with the Royal Navy, and were renamed the Sea Cadets Corps in 1942. In 1980, the boys and girls Sea Cadets united to become one organisation open to everybody.
How to get involved
There are Sea Cadet units located across the UK, both along the shore and inland in cities like Birmingham, Cambridge and London, and joining is as simple as paying a visit to the unit the nearesbt to you. Once you’ve found out if they have places (some units have a waiting list) you just have to fill in the relevant application form. There are three age groups within the Sea Cadets, Junior Cadets aged 10—12,Sea Cadets aged 12—18 and Royal Marines Cadets aged 13—18. In terms of cost, some units ask for a small donation but not all, and the standard uniform is provided free of charge. Some specialist equipment may need to be purchased, and there is a charge for training courses and camps, although every effort is made to keep these to an absolute minimum.