Royal Canadian Sea Cadets

Royal Canadian Sea Cadets

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=Royal Canadian Sea Cadets

caption= Royal Canadian Sea Cadets badge.
country= Canada
type= Youth Organization
garrison=Ottawa, Canada
command_structure= Canadian Cadet Organization

Royal Canadian Sea Cadets (RCSC) is a Canadian national youth program sponsored by the Canadian Forces and the civilian Navy League of Canada. Administered by the Canadian Forces, the program is funded through the Department of National Defence with the civilian partner providing support in the local community.


Along with the Royal Canadian Army Cadets and Royal Canadian Air Cadets, the RCSC forms part of the Canadian Cadet Organization. Though the RCSC, and the other cadet programs, have a close relationship with the CF, cadets are civilians, they are not members of the military and are not expected to join the Canadian Forces. [ National Defence Act] The act enabling the creation of cadet organizations. See Section 46.] In keeping with Commonwealth custom, the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets stand first in the order of precedence, before the Royal Canadian Army and Air Cadets. This is in keeping with the Royal Navy's status as the Senior Service, a tradition common to most Commonwealth navies.

Boys and girls aged 12 to 18 may join the RCSC, free of charge. The organization and rank system is similar to that of the Canadian Navy. Cadets are appointed to non-commissioned member ranks. Adult leadership is provided by officers of the Canadian Forces Cadet Instructor Cadre, supplemented, if necessary, by contracted Civilian Instructors, authorized adult volunteers, and, on occasion, officers and non-commissioned members of other CF branches. Cadet Instructors Cadre Members of the (CIC)are CF officers who are specially trained to deliver the Royal Canadian Sea, Army, and Air Cadet training program, and like all reservists come from all walks of life. Former cadets, former long-service Regular and Reserve CF members, and the parents of long-time cadets are the primary sources for new officers.


This badge is the service crest of the RCSC, and is worn on cadet uniforms as a brass cap badge and as an embroidered jacket patch on issue parkas.


The aim of Royal Canadian Sea Cadets is to develop in youth the attributes of good citizenship and leadership; promote physical fitness; and stimulate the interest of youth in the sea, land, and air activities of the Canadian Forces. The RCSC shares this aim with the Army and Air Cadets; however, each focuses on its own parent element.


Early days

In 1895, due to concern over the Royal Navy's ability to provide adequate naval defence, concerned citizens formed the Navy League, to promote interest in the problems of maritime trade and defence.

The League formed local branches throughout the United Kingdom Britain and in other countries of the British Empire. The earliest Canadian branch was formed in Toronto. Its warrant (Warrant No. 5) is dated December 10,1895, and currently hangs in the Navy League (of Canada) National Office.

At that time, Canadian branches supported a cadet program called the Boys’ Naval Brigades, aimed at encouraging young men to consider a seafaring career and provide basic training in citizenship and seamanship, with a certain degree of success.


At the formation of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in 1910, the organisation was renamed from "Boys’ Naval Brigade" to "Navy League Sea Cadets," to permit closer liaison with the Navy. In 1942, King George VI graciously consented to be Admiral of the Navy League’s Sea Cadets, and granted the "Royal" suffix, causing another name change, to the current "Royal Canadian Sea Cadets." Queen Elizabeth continued this Royal patronage and named His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh as the Admiral of the RCSC. Finally, in 1941, the RCN became a joint partner with the Navy League in support of the RCSC.


In 1950 the Navy League Wrenette Corps’ were established for girls aged 13 to 18 years, though some corps existed unofficially before that date. In 1975, the two programs were amalgamated and female cadets were finally enrolled in Sea Cadets.

Navy League today

In 1995, the Navy League of Canada celebrated its 100th Anniversary. The League promotes the same subjects today, as at its founding: knowledge of, and support for, maritime interests. On a national level, the League supports the International Exchange Program, certain scholarships, and the National Sea Cadet Regatta, while local branches provide vital logistical support to individual RCSC Corps. [ [ RCSC Phase III Manual - Serve within a Sea Cadet corps] ]


Individual cadets belong to units called Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps (RCSCC), or Corps de cadet de la Marine royale canadienne (CCMRC), which are the basic operating units of the program. Each corps compises Canadian Forces Officers of the Reserve Cadet Instructors Cadre, often assisted by Civilian Instructors (CI), and cadets.

The entirety of a given corps organizes itself as a ship's company, employing the naval divisional system. Under this system, cadets become members of a division under a cadet petty officer (Divisional Petty Officer or DPO) and, ideally, a commissioned officer of the CIC (Divisional Officer or DivO), although the officer position is sometimes filled by a civilian. Cadets parade by divisions, and are expected to route grievances and requests through the chain of command, running either directly from the DPO to DivO to the Executive Officer (XO) to the Commanding Officer (CO) or from the DPO to the cadet Regulating Petty Officer (RPO, the second senior cadet in the unit), to the cadet Coxswain (Cox'n, the senior cadet in a unit). The chain stops at the level able to deal with a concern - for example, a cadet's request for a new item of uniform might result in the DivO giving approval, and directing the cadet to visit Stores.

All but the smallest corps staff several departments, typically including Training, Administration, and Supply, while larger units maintain training-support organisations, including Range, Boatshed, Sail, and PERI (Physical Education and Recreational Instruction).

Training, Administration, and Supply operate under the direction of a CIC officer, possibly with an adult assistant, and a senior cadet, while the others, with the exception of Range, are often run by a senior cadet. Units generally adhere to the school schedule, meeting weekly for mandatory training, and carrying out additional training on weekends and other weeknights. The primary meeting is referred to as a parade night, while overnight weekend training conducted at the unit's home is called a live-aboard. Anything taking the unit away from its home is generally termed an exercise.

Primary Departments

*The Training Department compises the Training Officer (TrgO), Training Chief or Petty Officer (TrgCPO/PO), and a staff of senior cadets and adult staff, often with other duties within the unit, serving as instructors for the Phase Training Program - the basic Sea Cadet syllabus. The TrgCPO/PO is often responsible for maintaining each cadet's training record, as well as handling resources and rating instructors.

*The Administration Department compises the Administration Officer (AdmO) and Administration Chief or Petty Officer (AdmCPO/PO), who wears the quill-pen and scroll badge of a Ship's Writer, and may be referred to as such. Administration handles all incoming and outgoing mail, as well as maintaining corps records other than those specifically handled by Training or Supply.

*The Supply (or Stores) Department is composed of a Supply (or Stores) Officer, sometimes assisted by a senior cadet, who is entitled to wear the crossed-keys badge of a Storesman. The Supply Department is responsible for all equipment belonging to the corps; however, Supply tends to be primarily concerned with issuing cadets uniforms and related gear - bands often deal with their own gear, as do competitive teams.

Other Groups

* Range Team: Most units will have at least one trained Range Safety Officer (RSO) and conduct, as part of the mandatory training programme, training in safe and effective marksmanship using either the Daisy Air Rifle, which is not rated as a firearm, and thus may be used in almost any location of sufficient size, or, with the proper indoor or outdoor firing range, the .22 calibre Lee Enfield or Anschütz bolt action target rifles. A number of corps field range teams, competing in cadet tri-service matches at the area, regional, and national level, while others simply offer a well-supervised recreational shooting program.
** The .22 rifles are, today, usually held by corps fielding a biathlon team. The Lee-Enfields are, except for the barrel, virtually indistinguishable from those used by Commonwealth forces in WWII and Korea, while the Anschutz are purpose-made target rifles. Recently, concern over lead levels resulted in the closure of indoor small-arms ranges used by cadets, causing many units to search for appropriately certified and willing civilian outdoor ranges. Firearms safety is given the highest priority throughout this training.
* Biathlon: An increasing number of RCSC Corps have formed biathlon teams, adding a new aspect to the long-standing marksmanship programs, and encouraging a high degree of athleticism and physical fitness. Alongside those other benefits, it offers an alternate focus for land-locked units unable to offer a local sailing program. Ideally, cadets train and compete with Anschutz .22 target rifles; however, due to a lack of suitable ranges, some corps train with air rifles in accordance with Olympic marksmanship standards.

* Sail: Many units run a sailing program using small dinghies, typically Pirate- or 420-class vessels, although other comparable designs are used, including echos, Lasers, the Olympic-class 470, Flying Juniors, as well as the older Albacores and International Cadets. At the corps level, the sailing program is often taught by a civilian sailing instructor, supervised by a member of the Canadian Forces. The instructor may be assisted by trained cadets. The RCSC sailing program uses Canadian Yachting Association levels and material for all training. Corps sailing instruction is supported by regional Sail Centres, staffed by a Coordinating Officer, several Canadian Yachting Association (CYA) certified Head Instructors and volunteer staff cadet instructors. Advanced training focus on competitive sailing and race organization.

* Band: Most units larger than thirty people will try to support some sort of musical ensemble, whether drum and bugle, drum and bell (glockenspiel), a military band, or just a drum line. A very few corps have a piper or two, while an even smaller group maintain pipe bands, rare due to both the lack of a Naval tradition of piping, and the comparative expense of the instruments.

* Boatshed: This support department handles all the water-related needs of the corps, including maintenance of the sailing dinghies and other small craft, as well as supporting seamanship instruction off the water.

* Canteen: Typically operated as a sort of joint venture between individual corps and their sponsoring groups, the Canteen typically sells pop, chips, and the like at breaks in training. Some also offer cadets various necessities such as thread, boot polish, and starch. More ambitious corps canteens offer unit clothing, typically sweatshirts, T-shirts, belt buckles and the like, suitably emblazoned with unit insignia, mottos, and the like.

ponsoring Group

Each corps generally relies on some community group to provide funding for items not covered by DND. Typically, this will be an NL branch - essentially a parent committee - but may be a Royal Canadian Legion branch, or some similar service club; i.e. Lions, Rotary, etc. Navy League branches generally rely on community support, in the form of direct donations of money and goods, trusts, and various forms of fund-raising efforts. These last include sale of various items, much like bake and chocolate bar sales, street-corner pin and tag sales by cadets, and funds raised through the attached cadet unit's own canteen.

Items funded by the sponsoring group include:
*Accommodations for parade nights; local schools and community centres are typical, but some units are able to use Reserve armouries. A very few have their own building. Regardless of the building, the location the unit parades at tends to be referred to as "the barracks," despite a general lack of overnight housing, with what the Army would term as a parade square called variously the drill or parade deck. A similar navalisation converts walls to bulkheads, floors to decks, washrooms to heads, and the concession as the canteen.

*Transportation: some units, especially rural ones, provide a pickup service for some or all activities, using their own bus. Transportation for larger events is often provided by DND or by using chartered coach buses.

*Optional Training, which includes everything not funded by DND, such as additional sail training, extra weekends, and the like.

Training and ranks

"For a more complete discussion of RCSC Winter Training, please see" Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Training

In accordance with QR and O Cadets 4.11 the following are the rank badges of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets: [ [ Royal Canadian Sea Cadets Badges - Insignes de la Marine royale du Canada] ] [ [ Promotion criteria: Annex A CATO 33-01] ] In addition to the rank-specific criteria given below, all appointments are subject to the approval of the cadet's Commanding Officer, who generally promotes based on the advice of Divisional Officers and unit training staff.

As a note, the official phrasing for the Petty Officer and Chief Petty Officer ranks is "Petty Officer Cadet First (or Second) Class," and "Chief Petty Officer Cadet First (or Second) Class." However, outside of Cadet Administrative and Training Orders (CATO), and Queen's Regulations and Orders (Cadets) (QR&O(Cdt)), custom omits "Cadet" in casual reference. Thus, Petty Officer First Class is the customary rendering. Generally, where there is a need to distinguish between cadets and Canadian Forces members, the NCO ranks will be written or spoken as Cadet Petty Officer First Class, abbreviated as C/PO1. Additionally, while it is customary within the organisation to refer to a cadet receiving a rank as being "promoted," the official documentation refers to such an act as an "appointment."


Forms of Address

* Junior Cadets are typically addressed by their last name by all ranks; however, a superior might address them as simply "Cadet," especially in situations where names aren't known, as at multi-unit events.

* Petty Officers are typically addressed by their juniors as "Petty Officer So-and-So," or, conversationally, as "P.O." Superiors and equals will often use last name only, sometimes prefacing it with "Mr." or "Miss."

* Chief Petty Officers are typically addressed by all personnel as "Chief So-and-So," or, conversationally, as "Chief." Superiors and equals will rarely use last name only, though superiors might replace "Chief" with "Mr." or "Miss."

* Additionally, cadets often hold an appointment in addition to their rank, and many of these are used as an alternate form of address, especially the following: Coxswain; Corps Gunner, Chief Gunner, or Gunner's Mate ("Gunner"), Drum Major ("Drum Major" or "Drummie"); Bugler; Messenger; and Boatswain, Boatswain's Mate, Chief Boatswain's Mate, and Chief Boatswain ("Bosun" or "Buffer").

* In formal situations; for example, being called up for an award or promotion; a cadet's full rank is often used.

ummer Training

"For a more complete discussion of RCSC Summer Training, please see" Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Training

Summer Training Centres, officially termed as either Sea Cadet Summer Training Centres or Establishments, and referred to colloquially year-round as "camps," and, by their ship's company over the summer, as "the base," provide additional training intended to support or complement that offered at the home unit from September to June. Across the board, cadets applying for summer training must have 75% attendance over the winter training year, as well as meeting certain course prerequisites.

Summer training facilities are staffed by members of the Canadian Forces, primarily members of the CIC, but also including other branches of the CF, and senior cadets selected for employment as staff cadets. Sea Cadet STCs are commanded by a CIC officer of the rank of Commander. Most employ staff cadets at the ranks of Petty Officer Second Class through Chief Petty Officer First Class, with a CPO1 being appointed as Cadet Cox'n. Additionally, some employ staff cadets at the rank of Leading Cadet for support positions. Staff cadets are paid at a percentage of a CF Naval Cadet's (officer trainee) basic pay.

The centres are commissioned as "stone frigates," which is to say, naval shore establishments granted much the same standing as a seagoing unit.

Current Sea Cadet Summer Training Centres (SCSTC)

* SCSTC HMCS "Quadra", located in Comox, British Columbia, operating as a Sea Cadet training facility since 1953, and a commissioned one since 1956, is the second largest summer training facility. It employs close to 150 staff cadets every year, whose tasks vary from general maintenance to physical fitness to boat instruction. "Quadra" is the only Sea Cadet Training Centre in Canada to include all four trades plus three of the four speciality trades (Marine Engineering, Shipwright, and Silver Sail). "Quadra" occupies Goose Spit opposite Comox, and makes use of Highland Secondary School as an auxiliary training facility for classroom work, first aid, and music training. Cadets undergoing training as Boatswains and Marine Engineers also undergo training in damage control at CFB Esquimalt. "Quadra" plays host to a number of international exchange cadets. In recent years, these have included contingents from [ Korea] , [ Japan] , the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, and the Netherlands. [ [ HMCS "Quadra's" website] ]

* SCSTC HMCS "Ontario", located at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, is one of the larger summer facilities in Canada. It is home to all four trades, but only includes Trade Group One and Two of the Boatswain course. It hosts only one speciality course, the bi-service (Air and Sea) Athletic Instructor (AI) course. "Ontario" is more centred around physical fitness then most of the other Sea Cadet Training Centres. "Ontario" recently celebrated its 25 year anniversary. [ [ HMCS "Ontario's" website] ]

* SCSTC HMCS "Avalon", located in St. John's, Newfoundland, is currently the smallest SCSTC in Canada. It only includes the first stage of the Sail trade and the first stage of the Music trade. [ [ HMCS "Avalon's" website] ]

* SCSTC HMCS "Acadia", located in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, is the largest summer training facility. During the course of the summer, "Acadia" is home to roughly 1200 cadets who are undergoing training. Acadia provides training in all four trades and is known for a strong Royal Canadian Air Cadet presence amongst both course and staff cadets. HMCS "Acadia", much like HMCS "Quadra", hosts an international contingent. In 2006, HMCS Acadia celebrated 50 years as a Sea Cadet Summer Training Centre. [ HMCS "Acadia's" website]

* SCSTC HMCS "Quebec", located in Ste-Angèle de Laval, Québec, is the only SCSTC that is entirely French. It trains cadets in all four trades plus the Shipwright speciality course. "Québec" occupies a school during the summer season. [ [ HMCS "Québec's" website] " (Link in French, only)"]

Additionally, cadets may apply for a number of tri-service courses, some hosted by Sea Cadet Summer Training Centres - as Athletic Instructor is at HMCS "Ontario" - and others held on Army or Air Cadet facilities. Currently, Athletic Instructor and various forms of music training are offered as tri-service to some extent. In past years the Air-heavy Introduction to Aerospace course was offered as tri-service; however, this seems to have lapsed.

Former SCSTC

* SCSTC HMCS "Qu'Appelle" was located at the Echo Valley Conference Centre, formerly the Fort San sanatorium, near Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, an hour north east of Regina, Saskatchewan. "HMCS Qu'Appelle" offered the introductory Two-Week General Training course, and Trade Groups One through Three of the Music and Sail courses. "HMCS Qu'Appelle" last offered courses in 2004. [ [ HMCS Qu'Appelle's website] "(Last updated 2001)"]

* SCSTC HMCS "Gimli", HMCS "Qu'Appelle's" predecessor, was located in Hnausa, Manitoba.

* Camp TILLICUM, located in North Bay, Ontario offered Two-Week General Training and Basic Leadership.


The Sea Cadets used a variety of flags in their history: some corps flew the White Ensign until 1965; they then used the Canadian Blue Ensign and the flag of the Navy League of Canada until 1953. In that year, the Chief of Naval Service approved a design for the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Flag: a white flag with the Union Flag in the canton, and, on the fly, the badge of the Cadets, a gold anchor on a blue roundel surrounded by red maple leaves and surmounted by a Naval Crown. In 1976, the Sovereign approved a new design which replaced the Union flag in the canton with the Maple Leaf Flag. [ [ CATO 12-05 Cadet Flags and Banners] ]

Key personages

Admiral of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets

The first Admiral of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets was George VI, King of Canada, assuming the role in 1941, when the Navy League Sea Cadets became the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as a member of the Canadian Royal Family, was appointed Admiral of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets in 1953; this appointment has continued, while his appointment as Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps in the United Kingdom has lapsed.

Canadian Forces Senior Members

Chief - Reserves and Cadets

Since late 2004, this post has been filled by Major General H.M. Petras, CMM, CD. [ MajGen Petras' biography]

Director General Reserves and Cadets

Since September 2006, this post has been filled by Commodore J.G.V. Tremblay, CD. [ Cmdr Tremblay's biography]

Director of Cadets and Junior Rangers

Since June 2007, the post has been filled by former Chief of Reserves Colonel Craig M. Flether, CD. [ Col Fletcher's biography]

Honorary Members

* Captain (N) Dr. Marc Garneau was appointed as Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets; the appointment was not renewed.

ee also

* Canadian Forces
* Other Sea Cadet organisations
* Cadets Canada - corporate identity
* History of the Cadet Instructors Cadre
* [ National RCSC Unit Directory]


External links

* [ International Sea Cadet Association]
* [ Royal Canadian Sea Cadets' Website.]

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