On The Water 2023

On The Water 2023

This year's On The Water project has ended and we're thrilled to reflect on a successful project empowering young individuals in Birmingham and London to step out of their comfort zones and embrace the thrill of watersports

Although participants hang up their life vests for 2023, the ripples of the project's impact on personal growth, skill development, and unforgettable memories that will stay with them for a lifetime.

“Sea Cadets is all about giving young people skills, confidence and the chance to make new friends through nautical adventure and fun,” says Head of Outreach at Sea Cadets, Hugo Dell. “It’s only right to provide these opportunities to children and young people who would benefit most but, because of finances or other difficulties, have never had the chance.”

We have been running the popular On The Water event since 2019. The programme has got a big thumbs up from the children who have taken part, who described their experience as “awesome”, “exciting” and “lots of fun”. We couldn't have done it without the tremendous support of our funders! A big thank you to Gosling Foundation, Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, Capita plc and others for making this incredible project possible.

South West Area represent Sea Cadets in Bristol

South West Area represent Sea Cadets in Bristol

Some 600 Cadets and volunteers from South West Area (all 9 Districts) have had an action packed weekend representing Sea Cadets in front of local dignitaries at four events in Bristol. BZ!

On Friday evening, a small group of cadets and volunteers from Avonmouth Unit were invited to the HMS Bristol Bell Service of Dedication at the Lord Mayor’s Chapel, involving the Lord Mayor, Bristol City Council’s elected Armed Forces Champion, Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff.  The service was led by The Very Revd Dr Mandy Ford, Dean of Bristol Cathedral.

At the same time, the Area Officer SW (AO), Cdr Gary Mills RN was the Inspecting Officer at the Royal Naval Presentation (RNP) at TS Adventure SCC Unit, where the Area Chaplain Fr Jordan Spence, Avon District Officer, Lt Cdr (SCC) Rich Priest RNR, S/Lt Jimmy Paignton RNR (CO TS Adventure) and Unit Management Team joined the AO.  Some of the guests arrived in style by boat (Champ) crewed by two talented cadets and overseen by a volunteer. The RNP was a fantastic success and the ships company were a credit to the maritime city of Bristol, their unit and the Corps!  The watching families and friends were full of pride too!      

The pressure was on for the 600 high-spirited cadets and volunteers eager to showcase their skills at the Area's Combined Rowing Regatta the following day, even faced with the challenging inclement weather!

After a quick change into their blue uniforms, cadets accompanied by volunteers from Trowbridge Unit got the opportunity to participate in a formal flag raising ceremony at HMS Flying Fox, marking the arrival of RMR Bristol onto the site and as Head of Establishment. The cadets were part of the quarter guard inspected by Bristol's Lord Lieutenant Peaches Goulding OBE and Commodore Mel Robinson CBE ADC RNR, Commander Maritime Reserves.

Later both the Lord Lieutenant and Commodore, having accepted the AO’s invitation to the Regatta, arrived and spent the afternoon at the waterfront with the Cadets, volunteers and families. They even took to the water by ‘Champ’, helped start a race and presented some prizes to the cadets!

“It’s been an amazing weekend in Bristol, with my Area cadets and volunteers literally stealing the show!” Cdr Gary Mills MSc RN, AOSW

Bristol's Lord Lieutenant 'Peaches' Goulding OBE said “It’s a joy being with these wonderful young people having fun and my admiration for the volunteers is so deep”

Commodore Mel Robinson CBE ADC RNR, Commander Maritime Reserves remarked that “The spirit and good vibe here is so tangible, it’s made my final week in post so memorable!”

'Groundbreaking' Ceremony at Midlands Boat Station

'Groundbreaking' Ceremony at Midlands Boat Station

An important milestone in the history of Sea Cadets was achieved on Friday, 14 July with a ‘breaking ground’ ceremony that marked the beginning of the construction of the state-of-the-art Midlands Boat Station.

Located on the banks of Birmingham's Edgbaston Reservoir, this venture is set to support the community and revitalise the area. The new boat station will offer a wide range of water-based activities to thousands of young people.

Sea cadets from all over the country, together with local schools and youth groups, will be able to take part in sailing, paddle sports, power boating, rowing and windsurfing. Once completed, the boat station will also be the official home of the Birmingham Sea Cadets Unit, TS Vernon.

"We envision a premium venue for training, education, and water sports, bringing huge benefits to the entire community," said Sea Cadets CEO, Martin Coles CBE. "The new boat station will be a welcoming place for the younger generation to gain essential life skills. The facility will also provide an extraordinary waterside venue for community groups to host their events."

The community-centric project was inaugurated in the presence of Cllr Sir Albert Bore, Sea Cadets CEO Martin Coles CBE, senior contractors and a gathering of dedicated staff, volunteers, and cadets. The construction company, Speller Metcalfe, has been entrusted with the task of bringing the new structure to life.

Cllr Sir Albert Bore said: “I was delighted to take part in this event, celebrating the beginning of a project which will have such a significant and far-reaching impact on our local community, especially our young people. Well done, Sea Cadets!”

Addressing the long-standing lack of accessible waterside facilities in the Midlands, Howard Eeles, the Midlands Boat Station Manager, said: "This issue affects some 1,500 sea cadets in the region. We have 37 Sea Cadets units within a 90-minute radius of this location, who have been grappling with extended commutes for water-based training. Thankfully, those days will soon be behind us."

The young people who are part of Sea Cadets are excited about the building of their new, first-rate facility. "The new boat station will provide an upgraded, relaxed environment where I can safely enjoy time with my friends," said 13-year-old Mei.

Despite the ongoing construction work, the boat station will continue its operations, offering a variety of water-based activities and courses to sea cadets from across the country. These experiences aim to foster essential life skills and offer qualifications in first aid, sailing, navigation, marine engineering, catering and leadership.

In addition, the emerging venue will host the youth charity's outreach On The Water programme, which caters to hundreds of underprivileged youths over the summer.

"Our goal with the new boat station is to introduce many more young people to boating and water sports," said Howard. "The combined costs of purpose-built facilities, high-quality equipment and expert instruction often exclude many children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our goal is to change all that."

Situated on the banks of Edgbaston Reservoir – a 70-acre open water site within easy reach of Birmingham's city centre – the new boat station will offer double the classroom space and a 35-bed accommodation for sea cadets from across the country.

The new Sea Cadets boat station is set to be completed by autumn 2024.

Launching Sea Cadets' environmental campaign

Launching Sea Cadets' environmental campaign

Whether boating inland, voyaging at sea, or exploring the countryside, we spend so much time up close to nature that the environment is in our DNA! And because our waterborne activities rely on safe water quality, we’re acutely aware of the importance of healthy ecosystems.

Sadly, being out on the water throughout the summer, we’re able to observe the reality of the changing climate and the growing problem of plastic pollution - particularly in the periods of drought that are so harmful to wildlife.

So, it’s vital that as an organisation, we’re united in calling for urgent action on the environment. Fortunately, we’re ready to lead by example – because we can call upon 14,000 young people who are part of the most environmentally conscious generation in history!

For our cadets, the great outdoors is not just about fun and adventure, it is their life’s passion. They feel a personal responsibility for Planet Earth, knowing that caring for the environment will repay them with a lifetime of opportunities for learning and wonder.

Making a difference

As custodians of our planet, our cadets’ greatest wish is to leave it in a better state for future generations. A huge task, but one that has to start with individuals taking small steps that can make a difference and inspire others. That’s why there was no better way to mark World Environment Day, on 5 June, than by launching a Sea Cadets campaign that will help each and every one of us do our bit.

At the core of our campaign is our ClimateHero Carbon Calculator, which provides an easy way for our cadets, volunteers and employees to calculate their own carbon footprint. This basic information is critical for us all to gain an understanding of our role in creating this crisis, and our ability to help reverse it.

We also unveiled a special tool to help our 401 units assess the carbon impact of their buildings and activities: the Sea Cadets Calculator, designed to encourage our young people and adult volunteers to work together on identifying improvements. With our units constituting the majority of our estate, this exercise will be the main way for Sea Cadets to play our part in cutting the UK’s contribution to climate change.

Both calculators are supported by a new training session on our Programmes Online website, and both offer a range of thought-provoking but practical suggestions for reducing Sea Cadets’ carbon footprint. And if any further inspiration is needed, some our cadets and volunteers have tested the ClimateHero Carbon Calculator and shared their own ideas in this short film.

Spreading the word

Sharing simple solutions and successful case studies will be crucial to our progress, which is why we’ve also launched a new Environmental Newsletter. The first issue features an update on our project to create new marine habitats by installing Sea Hives, as well as useful information on lowering energy usage, minimising waste and funding environmental projects.

We hope the newsletter will provide a forum for discussion and keep sustainability at the forefront of our thinking. Indeed, the environment is central to our new Future Ready Strategic Plan which, over the next five years, commits to embedding environmental action in cadet programmes and reducing our carbon emissions across the charity.

As well as the initiatives launched by our new campaign, the strategy’s year plan for 2023/34 prioritises an investigation of greener alternatives across our units and training centres – so that we can build on the use of solar panels and energy-efficient lighting recently pioneered by the Poole and Newton-le-Willows Units.  

And because local action is essential to solving this global issue, our units are stepping up their community projects to actively enhance the environment: from litter picks and beach cleans, to creating bee-friendly habitats.

The planet needs YOU!

Thanks to the passion of our cadets, and the efforts of the volunteers who empower them, we’re making great strides in improving our environmental approach. But there is so much more we can do, with so many ways to reduce our impact while saving funds for the activities we love.

Please take the time to try our calculators and apply what you learn in everyday life; and do share your experiences and feedback via By making small changes to your routine, and considering what we can do better as an organisation, you’ll be helping to guarantee a bright future for Sea Cadets, and contributing to the most important cause of our times.

Gibraltar Cup Competition 2023

Gibraltar Cup Competition 2023

This weekend saw six Royal Marines cadets detachments going head-to-head to complete a series of challenges to see who came out on top!

The annual competition took place at the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon. 48 dedicated cadets conquered an obstacle course and completed a host of challenging leadership tasks putting their navigation and teamwork skills to the test.

This year's worthy winners of the treasured Gibraltar Cup were Guildford Detachment. Congratulations to everyone involved for all your hard work and resilience, hoofing effort!

Full Results:

1st place – Guildford Detachment

2nd place – Sheffield Detachment

3rd place – Queensferry Detachment

4th place - Weston Detachment

5th place - Ruislip Detachment

6th place - Preston Detachment

BZ to the winner of Best Section Commander - Cdt Cpl Josephine from Sheffield Detachment.

A huge thank you to everyone who worked hard to make the event a success!

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