Guide to Coast Guard Boot Camp (2024 Edition)

Key Takeaways

  • Coast Guard Boot Camp is an intensive 8-week (53-day) training program.
  • The training occurs at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey.
  • The 8-week boot camp is strategically divided into phases, each targeting specific training goals.
  • The last week is for graduation, where recruits celebrate and get ready to join the Coast Guard.
  • Before packing for boot camp, make sure to check the list of what you can and can’t bring.

How Long is Coast Guard Boot Camp?

guide to coast guard boot camp

Coast Guard Boot Camp lasts for eight weeks, or 53 days. In this time, recruits go through tough training and classes to build their physical and mental strength.

Read about: What Does the Coast Guard Do?

Where is Coast Guard Boot Camp?

Coast Guard Boot Camp takes place at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey. It’s the only training center for all Coast Guard recruits, making it a unique and important location for the community.

Did you know? Training Center Cape May is the fifth largest base in the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Basic Training Requirements

Eligibility Criteria

  • Citizenship: You need to be either a U.S. citizen or a resident alien with full-time status. This requirement is crucial for ensuring commitment and loyalty to the duties of the Coast Guard.
  • Age Limit: Candidates should be aged between 17 and 31 years. This age range is considered optimal for the physical and mental demands of Coast Guard service.
  • Educational Qualifications: A high school diploma is a must. In rare, special cases, GEDs might be considered, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
  • Dependents: The limit on dependents is set at three. This policy is in place to ensure that service members can fully commit to their duties without excessive personal obligations.
  • ASVAB Test: Passing the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test is mandatory. This test assesses your suitability for military service based on various skills and knowledge.
  • Medical Examination: A basic entrance medical exam must be passed to ensure you are fit for the physical challenges of Coast Guard duties.

Physical Fitness Standards

The physical fitness requirements vary slightly between men and women, reflecting the different physical conditioning standards. 

For Men:

  • Complete at least 29 push-ups in one minute.
  • Achieve 38 sit-ups in one minute.
  • Run 1.5 miles in less than 12 minutes and 51 seconds.
  • Reach 16.50 inches in the sit and reach test.
  • Successfully complete a swim circuit, tread water for five minutes, and swim 100 meters after jumping from a 6-foot platform.

For Women:

  • Perform at least 15 push-ups in one minute.
  • Complete 32 sit-ups in one minute.
  • Run 1.5 miles in less than 15 minutes and 26 seconds.
  • Reach 19.29 inches in the sit and reach test.
  • Similarly, complete a swim circuit, tread water for five minutes, and swim 100 meters after a 6-foot platform jump.

Meeting these requirements is the first step in your journey to becoming a part of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Basic Training Phases Week By Week

Here is an in-depth exploration of each transformative week at the Coast Guard Boot Camp:

Week One

Your journey begins at Cape May, where the in-processing phase introduces you to the Coast Guard way of life. You’ll go through medical and dental checks and face your first fitness test to see if you’re ready for the tough weeks ahead.

This week, you’ll also meet your Company Commanders (CCs), who guide your transition from civilian to disciplined Coast Guardsman.

Week Two

As the second week unfolds, you’ll find yourself immersed in a new routine of early morning workouts and swim assessments, with the PT regimen continuing.

 Also, you will be introduced to your Company Mentor, a seasoned Coast Guardsman who offers a glimpse into your future career.

Week Three

In week three, the training intensifies, focusing on your ability to quickly and accurately follow orders. Drill practice becomes a significant part of your routine.

The week is also packed with in-depth learning sessions, where you’ll delve into the intricacies of seamanship, including the types and parts of a line and mastering various knots.

Plus, you’ll find yourself taking more classes, including a 9mm handgun introduction.

Week Four

Week four is special to the recruiter because of the mid-term exam and future planning. You’ll undergo a physical fitness test and a mid-term examination, assessing both your physical abilities and mental acumen.

During this week, you also learn about the various enlisted careers, pay scales, and allowances, helping you envision your path post-graduation.

Week Five

As you enter week five, the focus shifts to preparing for graduation. Drill rehearsals become more frequent and intense, ensuring you’re ready for the final showcase.

This week is also marked by the arrival of your dress uniforms, a tangible symbol of your impending transition into a Coast Guardsman.

Week Six

Week six introduces you to advanced training elements, including firearms training, where you learn about firearm safety and proper shooting techniques.

The pugil stick battle will be held this week, teaching you combat skills in a safe environment and, of course, boosting your confidence.

Week Seven

In the penultimate week, your training focuses on final preparations for fleet entry. It’s a week of culmination, where you’ll take your final exam and final PT test and tackle the confidence course.

The week also involves turning in your gear and preparing for graduation.

Week Eight

Week eight is graduation week, where you officially transition from a recruit to a Coast Guardsman.

This week is more than just a ceremony; it’s a recognition of your transformation and the beginning of your journey in safeguarding our nation’s waters.

Yes, passing the USCG boot camp is harder than in other military branches, but members of the Coast Guard also enjoy some great benefits.

Here, check out the pros and cons of joining the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Boot Camp Start and Graduation Dates 2024

CompanyLocationArrival DateGraduation Date
H205PARADE FIELD4/2/20245/24/2024
I205PARADE FIELD4/9/20245/31/2024

What to Bring and What Not to Bring to Coast Guard Boot Camp

Permitted items for both men and women to bring to Coast Guard Boot Camp (Bring them with you):

  • Social Security card
  • Government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, state identification, passport, etc.)
  • Small suitcase or duffel bag (meeting carry-on measurements)
  • 2 extra sets of civilian outfits for after graduation
  • $50.00-$75.00 cash in small bills
  • Sneakers (black, navy blue, gray, white, or a mix of these colors)
  • 6-10 pairs of underwear (white, black, gray, or navy blue)
  • Navy blue long underwear (Oct.—April)
  • Wallet or small purse
  • Cell phone
  • Wedding band
  • Non-electric disposable razor and 8-week supply of cartridges
  • 2 religious reference books
  • Religious medallion on a chain
  • Address book
  • Stationery, envelopes, and stamps
  • Shampoo and/or conditioner
  • Face wash
  • Face, hand, or body lotion (unscented)
  • Toothpaste and non-electric toothbrush
  • Dental floss
  • Body powder
  • Unframed family photos
  • Water-resistant battery-powered watch
  • Invisalign and/or retainer
  • Plain black compression shorts
  • Prescription glasses
  • Copy of vaccination records
  • Brush and/or comb
  • Optional hair covering for sleeping in flesh/neutral colors

Permitted items for women only to bring to Coast Guard Boot Camp:

  • Birth control pills
  • Hairpins (bobby pins), small barrettes, elastic bands, and/or small plain scrunchies
  • One set of ball earrings
  • Makeup
  • 6 high or medium-impact sports bras and 1 regular bra
  • Hair gel
  • Tampons, pads, underwear liners, menstrual cups, or menstrual underwear
  • Copy of civilian Pap results

The list of items that will be issued to recruits upon arrival at Coast Guard Boot Camp:

  • 1 rucksack
  • 3 bars of soap, 1 soap dish, and 1 antibacterial soap
  • 1 deodorant and 1 shampoo
  • Shower kit
  • 1 pair of shower shoes
  • 1 washcloth
  • 1 lip balm
  • 1 dental floss
  • 1 toothpaste, 1 toothbrush, and 1 holder
  • 1 package of adhesive bandages
  • 1 set of nail clippers
  • 1 package of razors and shaving cream
  • 1 blister kit
  • 1 package of cotton balls and swabs
  • 2 locks
  • 3 laundry pins and 3 laundry bags
  • 1 notebook and 1 three-ring binder
  • 1 ruler
  • 12 pens and 1 highlighter
  • 1 stencil kit
  • 1 black marker and 1 silver marker
  • 1 sewing kit
  • 1 shoeshine kit
  • 2 ditty bags
  • 1 canteen
  • 1 penlight
  • 2 masking tape rolls
  • 2 pairs of compression shorts
  • 1 swim shirt 

Items considered contraband at Coast Guard Boot Camp (Don’t bring them):

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Pornographic photos or materials
  • Outside food or beverages
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Tobacco, nicotine products, and associated items
  • Narcotics or drug paraphernalia
  • Weapons 

Tips to Survive Coast Guard Boot Camp

  • Ensure a thorough check of personal possessions, as anything unapproved will be confiscated.
  • Set up a bank account with an ATM card for direct deposit of military pay, and bring $50 in small bills.
  • If you are married, bring a marriage certificate for housing allowance and your spouse’s military ID paperwork.
  • Smoking is strictly prohibited during boot camp, so it’s best not to even consider it.
  • Learn to swim and memorize Coast Guard ranks, Core Values, and your Basic Training chain of command.
  • Over-the-counter medication is not allowed. Prescription medication will be re-evaluated and potentially re-issued by the military pharmacy.
  • Cell phones are allowed but restricted; communication is mainly through postcards and limited phone calls.
  • Wear civilian glasses until issued military ones; contact lenses are not allowed.
  • Expect rigorous physical training throughout the eight-week basic training. Therefore, you’d better be mentally prepared before entering boot camp.

What Does Coast Guard Boot Camp Daily Schedule Look Like: A Day in Coast Guard Boot Camp

  • Early Morning Rise: The day begins at 0530 hours (5:30 AM), with Sundays offering a slight reprieve, starting at 0545 hours (5:45 AM).
  • Physical Training (PT): Following wake-up, recruits dive into morning PT, typically including physical fitness exercises such as running, calisthenics, and stretching.
  • Breakfast: At 0620 hours (6:20 AM), recruits refuel with breakfast. The breakfast consists of bacon, sausages, omelets, eggs, bread, fruits, ham, etc.
  • Military Training: At 0700 hours (7 AM), recruits engage in various military training exercises. These sessions are designed to enhance their tactical skills and understanding of Coast Guard operations.
  • Morning Classes: By 0800 hours (8 AM), the focus shifts to academic learning. You will learn about various topics according to the boot camp week phases.
  • Lunch Break: At 1200 hours (12 PM), there’s a pause for lunch. Main dishes include grilled chicken, baked fish, pasta, and stir-fries. You can have salads, soups, and sandwiches along with the main dish.
  • Afternoon Classes: The learning continues at 1300 hours (1 PM) with more classes. These sessions often involve practical applications of the morning’s theoretical lessons.
  • Athletics: The day’s routine includes athletics at 1600 hours (4 PM). This time is not just about physical fitness; it’s also about building team spirit and camaraderie among recruits.
  • Evening Routine: The day winds down, but the discipline doesn’t. Recruits have time for personal tasks, study, and reflection on the day’s lessons.
  • Lights Out: The day concludes at 2200 hours (10 PM) with lights out.

Lastly, if you have more questions about Coast Guard basic training, feel free to ask in the comments. I’m here to help and happy to answer!

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