Sea Cadet Corps (United Kingdom)

Sea Cadet Corps (United Kingdom)
Sea Cadet Corps
SCC Ensign
Active 1854 - Present
Role Volunteer Youth Organisation
Headquarters MSSCHQ
Motto Ready Aye Ready
Captain Captain Mark Windsor RN

The Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) is a UK national youth organisation sponsored by the Royal Navy and open to young people between the ages of 10-18 years old. The SCC is the UK's largest Naval Cadet Force with over 30,000 cadets and adult volunteers. Although not a pre-service organisation, the Sea Cadets follow the rate/rank structure, traditions, values and ethos of their parent service, the Royal Navy and for Marine Cadet Section the Royal Marines.

Unlike the other cadet forces (Army Cadet Force, Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force), the SCC receives minimal funding from the MOD. It is an independent charity and is owned and governed by the Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC), meaning it has greater independence and control than its sister organisations.

Whilst the SCC is not a pre-service organisation, a significant minority of former Sea Cadets and Marine Cadets do go on to join the Royal Navy, Royal Marines or other sections of the Armed Forces.

HM The Queen is the Patron of the Sea Cadet Corps and HRH The Duke of York is the Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps.



A Sea Cadet in No.1 Uniform

National level

The Marine Society & Sea Cadets[1] is the SCC's parent organisation and operates from its Headquarters (MSSCHQ) at 202 Lambeth Road, London. The MSSC, as well as governing the Sea Cadet also runs the College of the Sea.

The Captain of the Sea Cadet Corps (CSC) and Director of Operations is a serving or retired Royal Navy officer appointed to the Sea Cadets for a given period (usually three years) to oversee the running of the Sea Cadet Corps and to act as its figurehead. Prior to 2007, the CSC stood for Commodore Sea Cadets, but following the departure of Commodore Laurie Brokenshire (RN) (Rtd.) in 2007, and the appointment of a captain, CSC now stands for Captain Sea Cadets.

The current CSC is Captain Jonathan Fry RN. Captain Fry joined the corps in May 2007, however as of 20th July 2009, he is being reassigned to MoD's Support Headquarters in Bristol as leader of the RN Team responsible for the building of RN Frigates. His role will be taken over by Captain Mark Windsor (RN).

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, qualifcations 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)
  • North West
  • Eastern (including Malta)
  • South West
  • Southern (including the Falkland Islands)
  • London (including Essex.)

Each area has an Area Officer (AO) who is a serving Royal Navy Commander or, occasionally, a Royal Marine Lieutenant Colonel and based in area offices.

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
  • A Business Management Director - in charge of financials and point of contact for Unit Management Committees
  • 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 1st 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) for some disciplines.

Unit Level

Each unit or Training Ship (T.S.) is commanded by a Commanding Officer (CO), with help from a 1st Lieutentant. Some units have Marine Cadet Detachments.

Royal Marine Cadets

Female Marine Cadet

Royal Marines Cadets are actually part of the Sea Cadet Corps. Just as the Royal Marines are part of the Royal Navy, Sea Cadet units may open a Royal Marine Cadet Detachment. Although it appears, the Royal Marine Cadets are not under the Army Cadet Force.

The main differences between the ACF and RMC are:

  • Uniform (RMCs are issued Best Blues for ceremonial use)
  • Being part of the SCC means access to all boating activities as well as soldiering ones
  • As the ACF has star levels, the Marine Cadets dont but use the levels of MC2, MC1 before getting promoted as Lance Corporal.
  • Charity status means they have to fund themselves, but is less affect by MOD and shafting of the defence budget.

Neither cadets or adult staff wear Commando Berets, unless they have done the course. RMC staff who are former Royal Marines Commandos or servicemen who have passed the AACC may wear the green beret (and Lympstone do check). Also it is not uncommon to see serving marines wearing their green beret helping out with RMC activities.

Some detachments are Male only due to staffing limitations, however many also take female marine cadets. Note, females can become marine cadets and marine cadet staff, but cannot join the Royal Marine Commandos. This is now a female in the Royal Marines Band Service.

National Level

The operational head of the RMC is the Staff Royal Marines Officer (SRMO), who is typically 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 also responsible for conducting the annual SRMO field assessment which all detachments must participate in. The current SRMO is C/Sgt Mark Allen.

The SRMO is assisted by the Regimental Sergeant Major, who is the most senior Marine Cadet NCO in the corps. The current RSM is WO1(SCC) Robinson (RMR) and is also the Marine Cadet Development Officer (MCDO).

In addition there is a Colonel Royal Marine Cadets, who is a figurehead for the Corps. However, he is purely a figurehead.

Company Level

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

  • 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 Marines. The role is now identified as Company Commaner. In addition, Coys include:

  • Company 2i/c - Second in Command
  • Adjutant - Organisation of the Coy and Officer Developemnt
  • Company Training Officer - organises Coy level training
  • Company Sergeant Major (CSM)
  • First Drill / Company Drill Leader
  • Company Medic
  • Company QuarterMaster (CQMS) - stores.

Troop Level

Since not every unit has a Marine Cadet Detachment, using District border would result in Troops with one detachment or none. As such, Troop borders, are independent and cross District boundries. There are several Troops in a Company, and are numbered 1 Troop, 2 Troop etc. Each troop has a Troop Officer/ Troop Commander and and Troop Sergeant Major / Troop Sergeant.

Detachment Level

Part of a Sea Cadet Unit. Commanded by a Detachment Commander (formerly OCRMCD - Officer Commanding Royal Marine Cadet Detachment).

History of the Corps

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.

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 Whitstable where the first of the Naval Lads' Brigades was established. The success of the brigades in helping disadvantaged youth led to the formation of the Navy League, a national organisation with a membership of 250,000 dedicated to supporting the Royal Navy, which subsequently adopted the Brigades in 1910[2].

  • 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.
  • 1955
    • 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. 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.
  • 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


The joining age for Sea Cadets is between 10-18 years old[3] of all backgrounds. The SCC is an equal opportunities organisation, and take children from all walks of life. The cadets can be split into three distinct sections.

Sea Cadets

Sea Cadet

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 permenantly or for 9 months until they reach the age necessary for the Marine Cadets.


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 Profficiency Training

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

Specialisations Proficiencies Boatwork
Marine Engineering Drill/Ceremonial Dinghy Sailing
Communications Meteorology Rowing
Physical Training Band/Musician Kayaking
Cook/Steward Adventurous Training Power Boating
Marine Engineering Target Shooting Windsurfing
First Aid Diving Offshore Sailing
Seamanship Piping (Boatswains Call) Canoeing

Cadets can also work towards recognised qualifications including, Duke of Edinburgh's Award[4], BTEC National Diplomas. These are available in Public Service, BTEC First Diploma in Music and BTEC First Diploma in Engineering (SCC Only)[5].

Many qaulifications 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 or Powerboating/Sailing/Windsurfing where they can gain Royal Yachting Assosciation (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.

The SCC owns and operates the tall ship TS Royalist, which is also the flagship of the Sea Cadet Corps. The SCC also owns a number of other training ships, such as TS John Jerwood, and two yachts[6].

There are competitions at vaying levels in many of the sports, proficiencies and specializations of the SCC. Competitions start at a District level and progress through to National level.


Staff are recruited from the age of 18 (though there is no upper age limit, those adults extending beyond 65 require special insurance arrangements). All adult staff members are subject to security and Criminal Records (CRB) checks. All substantive SCC staff are recognised by the MOD as being Cadet Forces Adult Volunteers (CFAVs). They can be either uniformed or non-uniformed. Officers, Senior Rates form the uniformed adult staff with Civilian Instructors and Unit Helpers being non-uniformed.

Civilian Instructors

CIs give up their time to help out at the unit, either teaching or just helping out. They have no compulsory time committment, or obligation, but are still required to have a CRB. Some CIs are specialists in a field, others just lend an extra pair of hands. They are a vital part of the corps.

Uniformed Staff


Officers are traditionally the commanders and organisers of a unit or event. Their job is to organise, prepare and oversee the running of the unit, as well as look after staff and ensure that safe procedures are in place for training. For promotion beyond Sub Lieutenant it is generally expected that an officer will hold/have held a executive role. Sea Cadet Officers wear the insignia of the former Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). Ranks range from Midshipman(SCC) RNR / 2nd Lieutenant(SCC) RMR to Commander(SCC)RNR/Lieutenant Colonel(SCC) RMR (as of 1st August 2009). Officers are permitted to use the Post-Nominals RNR or RMR "by Grave and Favour", although this is purely honorary as they have no reserve operational commitment.

SRs / SNCOs / WOs

Senior Rates / Senior Non-Commisisoned Officers are the Do-ers. Their job is to be with the cadets carrying out the training, looking after their welfare, maintaining control, discipline, and standards in accordance with the commanding officer's wishes. They are to ensure adequate supervison and safety precautions as organised by the Commanding Officer is in place. SRs/SNCOs also look after Drill.

Warrant Officers are a new addition to the corps as of 2008. While technically not Senior Rates or Officers, they are the most senior of of the Senior Rates, who have been promoted and also given a role at Area Level. Sea Cadet Senior Ratings may hold rates/ranks from Probationary Petty Officer(SCC)/Sergeant(SCC) through to Warrant Officer Class 1 (SCC) RNR/RMR.

Ranks and Rates

Junior Sea Cadets

  • Junior Cadet
  • Junior Cadet First Class
  • Leading Junior Cadet

Cadet Rank/Rate equivalences

Sea Cadets Marine Cadets
New Entry Recruit
Cadet Marine Cadet
Ordinary Cadet Marine Cadet Second Class
Able Cadet Marine Cadet 1st Class
Leading Cadet Cadet Corporal
Petty Officer Cadet Cadet Sergeant

Note: Marine Cadet Class 2 (MC2s) can be promoted to either MC1 or Cadet Lance Corporal. L/Cpl is higher than MC1 but not Able Cadet, and below Leading Cadet / Corporal. A L/Cpl is considered to be a Junior NCO (JNCO) and is expected to maintain a higher standard. An MC2 to become a L/Cpl if their pass the assessment board with a credit pass or at the wish of the Commanding Officer under advisement from the Detachment Commander.

Adult Senior Rates / Warrant Officers

Sea Cadet Senior Rates Marine Cadet Senior NCOs
Probationary Petty Officer (SCC) Probationary Sergeant (SCC)
Acting Petty Officer (SCC) - As of 2009 Acting Sergeant (SCC)- As of 2009
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

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

Royal Navy Trafalgar 200

United Kingdom Sea Cadets were strong supporters of Trafalgar 200 and participated in many activities. A key role was played by the Sea Cadet Corps training ship TS Royalist during Son et Lumiere and the re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar, led by the replica frigate Grand Turk which played the part of HMS Victory. TS Royalist cruised just off the Southsea beach along with several other Tall Ships during a sabre-rattling pre-battle display of power.

See also


External references

Links to SCC Area websites

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