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Sea Cadet Corps (United Kingdom)

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Sea Cadet Corps (United Kingdom)

Sea Cadet Corps (SCC)
Founded 1854
Country United Kingdom
Type Volunteer Youth Organisation
Size 5 ships
13,630 Cadets.[1]
5,920 CFAV[1]
Headquarters MSSCHQ
Patron Queen Elizabeth II
Motto Ready Aye Ready
Ships TS Royalist
TS Vigilant
TS City Liveryman
TS John Jerwood
TS Jack Petchey
Website Sea Cadet Corps
Captain Jonathan Holloway MSc CEng MIMechE Royal Navy
SCC Ensign

The Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) is a national British Armed Forces.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH the Prince of Wales are the Patrons of the Sea Cadet Corps. While HRH The Duke of York is the Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps.

Along with the Army Cadet Force and the Air Training Corps, the SCC makes up the Community Cadet Forces.[1] The SCC maintain close ties with their counterpart Royal Navy and Royal Marine elements of the Combined Cadet Force.


"I promise to serve my God, the Queen, my Country and the Sea Cadet Corps and to obey the orders of my superior officers. I will be proud of my uniform, be smart and seamanlike in wearing it, and always do my duty."

Said by the New Entry, in front of the whole ship's company, before being promoted to Cadet.


The Sea Cadet Corps has one of the longest continuous histories of any youth organisation in the country. The Corps dates back to the Crimean War (1854–1856) when sailors returning home from the campaign formed Naval Lads' Brigades to help orphans in the back streets of sea ports.

Sea Cadets training on HMS Undine, 1943
Sea Cadets practice semaphore during signalling class, 1943

1899 Queen Victoria gave the Windsor unit £10 to purchase uniforms (officially the birthday of the Corps)

The SCC in the UK can be traced back to the Kent port of Royal Navy, which subsequently adopted the Brigades in 1910.

  • 1914: The Navy League applied to the Admiralty for recognition of its 34 Boys' Naval Brigades. This was granted in 1919 subject to an annual efficiency inspection by an officer on the staff of the Admiral Commanding Reserves, and the title Navy League Sea Cadet Corps was adopted.
  • 1937: Lord Nuffield gave £50,000 to fund the relaunch and expansion of the Sea Cadet Corps.
  • 1939: At the start of World War II here were almost 100 Sea Cadet Units in the UK with more than 10,000 Cadets
  • 1940: In June the Navy League purchased an old sailing vessel and renamed her TS Bounty. She was fitted out to accommodate 40 Cadets. In July weekly courses started for Cadets from all Units. These ended in September and the ship closed down.
  • 1941: The shortage of visual and wireless ratings in the Royal Navy led to special three-week training courses being run on board TS Bounty for Sea Cadets, to qualify them more quickly for entry into the RN. This made good use of the training and skills they had already gained in the Cadets and meant a considerable saving in training time for the Admiralty.
  • 1942: The 1941 scheme had caught the Admiralty’s imagination. As a result, the Admiral Commanding Reserves took over the training role, HM King George VI became Admiral of the Corps, Officers were granted appointments in the RNVR and the Corps was renamed the Sea Cadet Corps. A huge expansion to 400 Units and 50,000 Cadets coincided in many towns with Warship Weeks, so the newly formed Unit took the same name as the adopted warship. The Admiralty now paid for uniforms, equipment, travel and training, while the Navy League funded sport and Unit headquarters. In the same year, the Girls' Nautical Training Corps was formed as part of the National Association of Training Corps for Girls, with Units mainly in southern England.
  • 1948: The Sea Cadet Council was set up to govern the Corps, with membership from the Navy League and the Royal Navy, and a retired Captain took on the task of supervision, first as Secretary to the Council and later as Captain, Sea Cadet Corps.
  • 1952: HM The Queen became the SCC patron with HRH the Duke of Edinburgh as the Admiral of the Corps
  • 1954: The Commandant General, Royal Marines asked permission to form a Marine Cadet Section that could be fitted into the existing organisation and the Council agreed to this. December 1954- the first MC detachment was opened in Bristol Adventure unit. By 1964 the Section had expanded from the original five Detachments to 40. Today there are 98.
  • 1963: The Girls' Nautical Training Corps became affiliated to the Sea Cadet Corps, in many cases sharing the same premises with local Units.
  • 1972: Juniors were introduced to the Sea Cadets
  • 1976: The Navy League was renamed the Sea Cadet Association since support of the Sea Cadets and Girls’ Nautical Training Corps had become its sole aims.
  • 1980: The admission of girls into the Sea Cadet Corps was approved and the Girls’ Nautical Training Corps ceased to exist as a separate body, but until 1992 was called the Girls’ Nautical Training Contingent.
  • 1999: Centenary parade in Windsor attended by HM The Queen
  • 2004: In November the Sea Cadet Association merged with the world's oldest seafarers' charity The Marine Society to form a new charity The Marine Society & Sea Cadets.

Structure and organisation

Sea Cadet Corps HQ, Stonehaven
Home of the Sea Cadet Corps, Fishguard
Sea Cadet Corps, New Brighton

National level

At a National level the Sea Cadets Headquarters (MSSCHQ) are based in South London at 202 Lambeth Road, SE1 7JW. This is where all decision on policy or national regulation are made. Sea Cadet Headquarters is home to the Captain of the Sea Cadets (CSC) who is currently Captain Jonathan Holloway RN. He is also the Director of Operations for the Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC). The MSSC assist in the running of the Sea Cadet Corps in a similar way to that of the MOD for the Royal Navy.

MSSCHQ is made up of a variety of different sections, including:

  • Training: Now located at Fort Blockhouse, this department deals with National training courses, National competitions, qualifications etc.
  • Department of Education and Adult Learning: Works with the College of the Sea and deals with Cadet Vocational Qualifications, BTECs, Institute of Leadership and Management and other recognised qualifications.
  • Events: Deal with national events such as Trafalgar and Remembrance Celebrations.
  • HQSOs: Headquarters Staff Officers—usually based in individual units, but responsible to MSSCHQ for the running of their discipline across the corps.
  • Offshore Commander: responsible for the running of the offshore fleet.

Area level

The country is divided into six areas which are:

  • Northern (also including Northern Ireland)
  • Southern
  • Eastern
  • North West
  • South West
  • London

Each area has an Area Officer (AO) who is a serving Royal Navy Commander or, occasionally, a Royal Marine Lieutenant Colonel serving on an Full Time Reserve Service contract.

In addition to the AO each area also has:

  • A Deputy Area Officer (DAO) - assists the Area Officer
  • An Area Logistics Officer (ALO) - in charge of stores and MOD(N) issued equipment and mustering unit's stores once a year
  • An Area Training Officer (ATO) - in charge of area level training
  • An Area Business Manager - in charge of financials and point of contact for Unit Management Committees
  • A Finance and Project Manager - in charge of Area Budgets
  • An Area Staff Officer (ASO) for each discipline - responsible for controlling that discipline in the area and reporting to HQSO and AO.
  • A Senior Staff Officer (SSO) - the most senior SCC officer in the area, assists the AO, manages Area Office and ASOs.**

**As of 1 August 2009, all SSOs will be ranked Commander(SCC) (RNR)

District level

Each area is subdivided into districts of between five and 12 units. In charge of each district is a District Officer (DO) who is normally a Lieutenant Commander(SCC) RNR or Major(SCC) RMR. Each district also has a Deputy District Officer (DDO) or an Assistant District Officer (ADO), as well as District Training Officers. These positions are staffed by volunteers. Some districts have District Staff Officers (DSO) responsible for overseeing various specialisations at a District level.

Unit level

Each unit or Training Ship (TS, e.g. TS Kent- Sheppey) is commanded by a Commanding Officer (CO) or Officer in Charge (OiC), assisted by the 1st Lieutenant, who serves as the Units second in command. Some units also have Royal Marines Cadets Detachments (e.g. TS Brilliant - Tunbridge Wells)


The joining age for Sea Cadets is between 10–18 years old of all backgrounds. The SCC is an equal opportunities organisation, and take young people from all walks of life. The cadets can be split into three distinct sections.

HM Queen Elizabeth II and Admiral Sir Jonathon Band in 2006 to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Marine Society and Sea Cadets

Sea Cadets

Sea Cadets are by far the biggest section. Their training is based around the traditions of the Royal Navy, and in the summer they spend a large amount of time on the water. The Sea Cadets is open to anyone aged 12–18.

Junior Cadet Section

Most Sea Cadet units also have a Junior Cadet section for the 10-12 year olds. Junior Cadets have their own training programme and uniform. It is based around a more practical and fun version of the Sea Cadet training programme, but designed for a younger audience. When Junior Sea Cadets turn 12, they may become Sea Cadets either permanently or for 9 months until they reach the age necessary for the Marine Cadets.

Adult Volunteers

These people are the heart of the operations of a Sea Cadet unit. To be an adult volunteer you must be over 18. Adult volunteers help with the staff for the night to night operations; unit management team - which control the funds and maintenance of a unit and the Parents and Supporters - These people are normally parents of the cadets which, help with the fundraising without cadet contact.[2]

Royal Marines Cadets

Royal Marines Cadets are a sub branch of the Sea Cadet Corps which created in 1950 by the general of the royal marines to be a detachment of the sea cadet corps, similar to the structure of the Royal Marines as part of the Royal Navy. Sea Cadet units may open a Royal Marines Cadets Detachment, who will use the same facilities and fall under the command of the units CO. Royal Marines Cadet detachments wear a uniform similar to that of the Royal Marines, and follow a much more land based training programme, with emphasis on subjects such as Weapons Handling, Mapwork and Fieldcraft.

Female Royal Marine Cadet, 2008

The main differences between the Army Cadet Force and Royal Marines Cadets are:

  • Uniform: The ACF are primarily only issued with CS95 Uniform, whereas the RMC are issued with a number 1 uniform.
  • RMC cadets are also able to take part in normal SCC training, including all boating activities, providing in effect a much larger range of activities.
  • Where Army Cadets follow both a proficiency and rank system, in the Royal Marines Cadets rank is tied into proficiency, with cadets having to pass a proficiency examination before promotion which normally consists of a weekend constant assessment or a week long course.

Cadets or adult staff wear the Royal Marines blue beret, with red tombstone patch behind the cap badge. RMC Staff who have completed either Royal Marines Commando training, or the All Arms Commando Course at CTCRM Lympstone, are entitled to wear the Commando Green Beret, subject to written permission from MSSCHQ. Some detachments are Male only due to staffing limitations, however many also take female Royal Marines Cadets. SCC detachments of Royal Marines Cadets are not to be confused with the three Divisions of the Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps. The RMVCC is however part of the wider Royal Marines Cadet family alongside their SCC and CCF counterparts.

  • Organisation: RMC detachments are organised within troops normally there are 3 troops spread around the area covered by the company eg. alpha company rmc then the companies are spread within the corps.
  • Events: every year the royal marines at the commando training center host an event called the Gibraltar cup, or commonly known by the cadets as the "gib cup" which all companies or "coys" place a detachment of their best to compete against the other detachments.
  • Drill competition: this is a event where a troop of cadets show off the drills and skills, again each company puts forward a troop of cadets in recent years Alpha company has never lost.
  • Field assessment: this is where the SRMO (senior royal marines officer)assesses how the company assesses each detachment in 2013 the name was changed to CATSEA.

National level

The operational head of the RMC is the Staff Royal Marines Officer (SRMO), who is a serving Royal Marines Colour Sergeant on secondment to the SCC. He is responsible for overseeing the running of the RMC and reporting to the CSC. He is one of the main assessors at each Company's CATSEA (Company Annual Training & Safety Efficiency Appraisal). The current SRMO is Colour Sgt Jason Wood RM.

The SRMO is assisted by the Corps Regimental Sergeant Major (CRSM), who is the most senior Warrant Officer within the RMC. The current CRSM is WO1(SCC) Glyn Robinson (RMR) and is also the Royal Marines Cadets Training Officer (RMCTO) at MSSCHQ.

Company level

The Royal Marines Cadet Section was formed in 1955 at the request of the Commandant General Royal Marines. Although it is an integral part of the Sea Cadet Corps, it looks to the Corps of Royal Marines for its styles and standards of dress, drill and training.

Companies cover the same area as the Sea Cadet "Area", and each is identified by a phonetic letter.

  • SCCHQ - Headquarters Company
  • Northern - Yankee Company
  • North West - Bravo Company
  • Eastern - X-Ray Company
  • South West - Alpha Company
  • Southern - Zulu Company
  • London - Lima Company

Each company has a Company Commander, usually a Major(SCC) RMR, who was formerly considered an ASO for Marine Cadets. In addition, Coys may include:

  • Company 2i/c - Second in Command - Organisation of the Coy and Officer Development
  • Company Sergeant Major (CSM)
  • Company Drill Leader
  • Company Medic
  • Company Quartermaster (CQMS) - organises Company stores.

Troop level

Since not every unit has a Royal Marines Cadet Detachment, using Sea Cadet Districts would result in Troops with one detachment or none. As such, Troop borders, are independent and cross District boundaries. There are several Troops in a Company, and are numbered 1 Troop, 2 Troop etc. Each troop has a Troop Commander and Troop Sergeant. The Troop Commander and Troop Sergeant organise Troop level training and are primarily responsible for the standard of the Detachments in their designated area.

Detachment Level

Part of a Sea Cadet Unit. Commanded by a Detachment Commander (formerly OCMCD - Officer Commanding Marines Cadets Detachment).

Gibraltar Cup Competition

The Gibraltar Cup was presented by the Commandant General Royal Marines and named from the Battle Honour of that Corps. It is awarded annually to the Royal Marines Cadet Detachment (RMCD) which is considered to have attained the highest standard of all round merit in the previous year.

The aim of the Gibraltar Cup Competition is for the best detachment in each Company to compete for the top award for the Royal Marines Cadets of the Sea Cadet Corps. It is held in March (annually) at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM), Lympstone, Devon.

The Gibraltar Cup Competition comprises a series of challenges, tests and assessments to enable the SRMO to establish which detachment will be the worthy winners of the Gibraltar Cup. While each detachment already nominated is a worthy winner from within its own Company, only a fit, dedicated, well trained and cohesive detachment will take the trophy.

  • Current Holder: Chatham RMCU 501
  • Competition Date: Friday 28 February - Sunday 2 March 2014


Company Annual Training & Safety Efficiency Appraisal (CATSEA) is established to:

  • Assess the efficiency for all Detachments on a National basis, using a common standard.
  • Enable the SRMO, to have a direct input to training needs based on assessment.
  • Raise standards and provide all RMCD with clear targets to aim for.

The CATSEA is conducted annually by the SRMO and the Headquarters Company Team. This CATSEA is a compulsory event for all Royal Marines Cadet Detachments. CATSEA is completed at Company (Area) level, all Detachments are assessed in the same task and the same stances are completed during the CATSEA weekend. Serving members and commissioned officers in the Royal Marine Commandos and Royal Marine Reserves as well as commissioned officers in the SCC complete the CATSEA assessment in regards to the Sea Cadet HQ guidelines.


A Petty Officer Cadet at Tipner range complex near HMS Excellent with a L98A1 Cadet GP rifle

One of the biggest strengths of the SCC is the breadth of activities it offers both onshore and offshore. Some training is compulsory, but most of it is optional. Cadets are encouraged to take part in as much as possible and to try new things.

Core training

Core training is the bread and butter of Sea Cadet training, and is directly linked to promotion/advancement. For Sea Cadets it is called Part 1 training and involves key skills, and vital knowledge about Corps life, traditions of the Royal Navy, water safety, leadership, care of uniform, health and safety, as well as elements of first aid, seamanship, and swimming. This is mirrored in the Marine Cadets' Phase Training, but also for Marines, fieldcraft, campcraft, map-reading, battle drills and weapons handling are included in Core training.

Specialisation and proficiency training

All the following are on offer to cadets, either at the unit or on District/Area/National Courses.

A Petty Officer Cadet at Tipner range complex near HMS Excellent with a L98A1 Cadet GP rifle
Specialisations Proficiencies Boatwork
Marine Engineering Drill/Ceremonial Dinghy Sailing
Communication & Information Systems (April 2012) Meteorology Rowing
Physical Training Band/Musician Kayaking
Catering and Stewarding(October 2013) Adventurous Training Power Boating
Marine Engineering Target Shooting Windsurfing
First Aid Diving Offshore Sailing/Power Boating
Seamanship Piping (Boatswains Call) Canoeing

Cadets can also work towards recognised qualifications including, Duke of Edinburgh's Award and BTEC National Diplomas. These are available in Public Service, BTEC First Diploma in Music and BTEC First Diploma in Engineering (SCC Only).

Many qualifications are run by the Sea Cadets but regulated by external bodies. In these cases, cadets earn independent qualifications that they can take with them outside the Corps. These include Paddlesport, where they can gain PaddlePower or Star Awards through the British Canoe Union (BCU), First Aid, where they can earn St John's Ambulance First Aid awards, Rowing, where they can earn British Rowing (BR) qualifications and Powerboating/Sailing/Windsurfing where they can gain Royal Yachting Association (RYA) qualifications. National courses are also held, often on Royal Navy bases and at minimal cost, to teach skills such as leadership and teamwork. Specialist qualification courses include power boating in Scotland, cooking in Preston and fire fighting in Cornwall. There are competitions at varying levels in many of the sports, proficiencies and specializations of the SCC. Competitions start at a District level and progress through to National level.

Ranks and Rates


From New Entry through to Able Cadet, Sea Cadets are promoted based on their completion of various task-based modules under the CTP - Cadet Training Programme. Leading Cadets and Petty Officer Cadets are required to attend and pass a promotion board (held at Area level or National) before being promoted. Cadet Petty Officer is the equivalent rank to Cadet Warrant Officer and Cadet Under Officer/Regimental Sergeant Major. This is because the rank systems do not level with each other. For example, the Sea Cadet rank of "Able Cadet" would be of equal importance to a ATC "Flight Sergeant".

(Emboldened are NCO rates)

Note: Cadets at the rank of Marine Cadet 1st Class may be appointed as a Cadet Lance Corporal. Unlike Marine Cadet 1st Class, Cadet Lance Corporal is considered a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer rank, and as such is given more leadership responsibility. MC1s are appointed to the rank of Lance Corporal at the discretion of their Commanding Officer, under advisement from the Detachment Commander.

A Junior Sea Cadet

Adult Senior Rates / Warrant Officers

SCC Senior Rates RMCD Senior NCOs
Civilian Instructor (SCC) Civilian Instructor (SCC)
Probationary/Acting Petty Officer (SCC) Probationary/Acting Sergeant (SCC)
Petty Officer (SCC) Sergeant (SCC)
Chief Petty Officer (SCC) Colour Sergeant (SCC)
Warrant Officer Class 2(SCC) RNR Warrant Officer Class 2(SCC) RMR
Warrant Officer Class 1(SCC) RNR* Warrant Officer Class 1(SCC) RMR

*One per area

If you were previously a Petty Officer Cadet and sometimes a Leading Cadet you can be a Probationary Petty Officer or Sergeant.
If you join as a Civilian Instructor and want to be a uniformed member of staff you would become an Acting Petty Officer or Sergeant since 2009.

Adult Officers

Sea Cadet Officers Marine Cadet Officers
Midshipman (SCC) RNR Second Lieutenant (SCC) RMR
Sub Lieutenant (SCC) RNR Lieutenant (SCC) RMR
Lieutenant (SCC) RNR Captain (SCC) RMR
Lieutenant Commander (SCC) RNR Major (SCC) RMR
Commander (SCC) RNR - as of August 2009 Lieutenant Colonel (SCC) RMR - as of August 2009


The Sea Cadets have three classes of offshore vessels, all of which are capable of coastal/offshore passage making. Sea Cadet voyages normally last for 1 week, with cadets gaining RYA qualifications for their voyage.[3] Individual sea cadet units also have various boats including MOD motor boats called Vikings and Champs also Rowing Boats called ASC (Admirialty Sailing Craft) also on loan from the MOD, canoes, kayaks and windsurfs.

TS Royalist

TS Royalist in 2008
  • TS Royalist is a 24m brig that is the only tall ship owned by the SCC- it is also the sea cadet flagship. it provides week training courses for sea cadets. The ship is over 40 years old and in 2013 there was an appeal to replace the ageing flagship, £250,00 is needed to replace Royalist and this target was achieved in April 2013 [4]

TS Vigilant and TS City Liveryman

  • TS Vigilant and TS City Liveryman are the SCCs 2 offshore sailing vessels. They are both 11m Bermudan cutters and each hold 5 cadets and one qualified adult. The vessels provide RYA training for those wishing to gain recognised qualifications and experience yacht sailing.

TS John Jerwood and TS Jack Petchey

  • These 2 vessels are the cadets' offshore power training-ship. they are 24m long and each cost about £2.6m. TS Jack Petchey is so named because the Jack Petchey Foundation donated £1m in order for it to be built. The Jerwood Foundation donated £1,216,700 for the construction of TS John Jerwood. The training ships can hold between 12-16 cadets, 4 permanent staff and 2 CFAVs and provides an experience at sea focussing on deck work, navigation, bridge watchkeeping, cook/steward and marine engineering. Each vessel is fitted with twin Perkins Sabre Type M215C Turbo Diesel main engines, each giving 200 Shaft Horse Power at 2500 rpm.[5]

Trinity 500 rowing boats

  • The Trinity 500 is a stable fixed seat rowing boat, purpose built for the Sea Cadets to deliver the full SCC Rowing Scheme. The boat has also been approved by British Rowing, to allow for the delivery of their Explore Rowing Scheme. The boat was designed by Jo Richards, Olympic medallist and designer of a wide range of craft, in response to the requirement of the Sea Cadets for a modern, low maintenance, purpose-designed fixed seat rowing boat with good performance under oars and with the capacity to mount a small outboard motor. The Trinity 500 is named to mark the quincentenary of the incorporation of Trinity House, the statutory authority for aids to navigation in England, Wales, The Channel Islands and Gibraltar. The Trinity House Maritime Charity, a separately funded arm of the Corporation of Trinity House generously funded the design and development costs of the boat.

See also

Other elements of the Community Cadet Forces

Other MoD sponsored cadet forces

Related articles


  1. ^ a b c d MoD - reserves and cadet strengths, table 8a page 17. April 2014.
  2. ^ Sea Cadets Members Area. "Cadet Training - Training And Admin". Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  3. ^ Sea Cadets Members Area. "Offshore - Training And Admin". Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  4. ^ "New Ship Appeal". Sea Cadets. Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  5. ^ "New training ship for sea cadets". Maritime Journal. 2009-07-30. Retrieved 2014-02-23. 

External links

  • Sea Cadet Corps official website (
  • Eastern Area (
  • London Area (
  • Northern Area (
  • North-west Area (
  • Southern Area (
  • South-West Area (
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