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Why do Sea Cadets need more help?
We have 14,000 young people and many more hoping to join a local unit near them. Volunteers help and guide these young people so that they can grow and develop in a safe environment. If more adults helped out this would take the burden off our current volunteers and allow more young people to experience the thrill of being a Sea Cadet
How can I help with Sea Cadets?
There are many ways you can give your time to us. Simply let us know your availability and how you would like to help and we will match this to roles within your local area.
I’ve never been a Sea Cadet or volunteer, does this matter?
No previous Sea Cadet experience is needed. Energy and enthusiasm are the qualities we are looking for.
My child is a Sea Cadet, is there anything I could do to help?
Yes definitely and we’d like to hear from you! Many of our volunteers have children, nephews and nieces in Sea Cadets, so they can see first hand how it benefits young people. Plus volunteering enables you to give something back and spend more time with your child. It's enjoyable, gives you more skills and allows you to share these with the next generation. Speak to your child’s Commanding Officer to discuss how you might become involved.
I will only be able to help out on a flexible basis is this OK?
Yes. There are many different ways to volunteer for Sea Cadets and help your local unit. There is bound to be a role you can play.
Will I get paid?
As a voluntary organisation we are unable to pay volunteers for the time they give. If you help out at camps, competitions, and events, you will get out of pocket expenses plus a small volunteer allowance and the same applies when you attend or instruct on some training courses. But you also get the chance to take part in adventure activities on and off the water, learn new skills, gain qualifications and meet new people.
What are the benefits of helping us out?
There are a number of benefits you can gain from volunteering. Spending time with your child, learning new skills and contributing to your community are just a few of the reasons why our current volunteers choose to support Sea Cadets in their spare time. Plus you can earn qualifications in a range of subjects.
I don’t have a specific skill but am keen to help out, what can I do?
Everyone will have a skill, attribute or ability that they can pass on to our young people. One of the best things about volunteering however is the chance to learn new skills.
Do I have to wear uniform?
No. Although Sea Cadets is a uniformed organisation, it will depend on the role you volunteer for, some adults in Sea Cadets do not have to wear a uniform.
Are there any age restrictions on helping out?
As long as you are over 18 years of age, you can help out as an adult volunteer once you have completed a successfull CRB check. There is no upper age limit for adult volunteers as long as you remain fit and healthy.
What is the process for joining?
There is an application form to fill out which your local unit can help with. For some roles you will be required to meet a small group of people outside of the group to discuss the role you wish to take on. References are also required for some roles. An enhanced Criminal Records (or equivalent in Scotland or Northern Ireland) check is carried out on all volunteers.
Will I be insured?
Yes. All volunteers are covered under MOD indemnity our Personal Accident and Medical Expenses Policy.
Does it cost anything to join the Sea Cadets?
Charges can vary between units, some will ask cadets to pay a small donation but not always. There are charges for training courses and camps but these are kept to a minimum. Some activities like offshore sailing and expeditions can, in certain circumstances, be supported by bursaries or grants.
Do I have to pay for my uniform?
No it is provided by the Charity and will be issued to you on joining.
What is the rank structure in Sea Cadets, how does that work?
Owing to our heritage we operate on similar lines to the Royal Navy. Both cadets and volunteers enter a rank structure on joining. As they learn and master new skills they rise through the structure. More qualified Sea Cadets often share in the guiding of younger, less qualified cadets. A cadet can progress to Petty Officer Cadet. Volunteers begin as civilian instructors (other than those joining unit management teams) and after a six month probationary period is completed can opt to be uniformed instructors, they could rise to the rank of Warrant Officer or be selected as Officers, some can rise to the rank of Commander. Those joining Royal Marines Cadets follow a rank structure aligned to the Royal Marines.
I’ve been in the Armed Forces and I’d like to support my local Sea Cadets, can I do that?
Many of our volunteers have been in the Royal Navy or other Armed Forces. Their skills, experience and enthusiasm give cadets a unique insight and can add to the cadet experience. We also welcome those with experience in the Merchant Navy and other youth organisations.
Do I have to be in the Royal Navy to be a volunteer?
No, not at all, we are looking for people with enthusiasm and energy and who are committed to helping young people reach their goals.
Can I participate in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in Sea Cadets?
Yes and you can compete for it as part of your normal Sea Cadet activities.
What national qualifications can I achieve as a Sea Cadet?
There are many, which include; qualifications from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), the British Canoeing Union (BCU), the British Sub Aqua Club, St John Ambulance Brigade, the Institute of Leadership and Management plus others. You can also achieve BTEC qualifications. We keep our syllabuses modern and relevant to young people and where appropriate, align them to nationally recognised awards.
What is a BTEC qualification?
As a Sea Cadet you can choose to work towards a BTEC in Public Services, Music or Engineering as part of your normal Sea Cadet activities. This is a nationally recognised qualification which is equivalent to four GCSEs at grade C (four standard grades at level 3 in Scotland).
Is there a formal partnership between Sea Cadets and the Royal Navy?
In 2012 we completed a renewal of our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the MOD. This together with a new Partnering Charter reaffirms the strong relationship between the Sea Cadets and the Royal Navy and sets out the basis for this over the next five years. You can read more here
How to make a complaint

We take complaints very seriously and we treat them as an opportunity to develop. This is why we are always very grateful to hear from people who are willing to take the time to help us improve. We always thank people who contact us about their problems, concerns or worries.

You can call us 020 7654 7000 and speak to our Company Secretary Mark Hallam. Please ring during Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Outside of these hours you can always leave us a message and a contact number and someone will return your call.

You can email us at

Or you can write to us at:

Sea Cadets
202 Lambeth Road

Please include your name, address and contact telephone number in your email or letter so that we can get back in touch with you easily.

Sea Cadets is a member of the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) and is committed to the highest standards in fundraising practice. If your complaint is to do with fundraising and you feel that it has been unresolved by us then the FRSB can investigate your complaint.

You must contact them within two months of receiving your response from us.

Fundraising Standards Board
65 Brushfield Street
E1 6AA 

Tel: 0845 402 5442

Call us on +44 (0)20 7654 7000 or email for more information

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Patron: HM The Queen
A charity registered in England and Wales 313013 and in Scotland SC037808