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'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!

New cohort of First Sea Lord Cadets for 2023

New cohort of First Sea Lord Cadets for 2023

The annual Investiture Day onboard HMS Victory was presided over by First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key, for a new cohort of First Sea Lord Cadets on Friday 17 February for 2023!  

Each 'Sea Cadets area' (of which there are six in the UK) is represented by a distinguished cadet selected for their ability to act as ambassadors for Sea Cadets at official ceremonies and functions. BZ to our 2023 First Sea Lord Cadets listed below, and to the volunteers and staff who have helped them on the path to this achievement. 

Eastern Area Sea Cadets - Leading Cadet Joshua
London Area Sea Cadets - Petty Officer Cadet Erin
Sea Cadets Northern Area - Petty Officer Cadet Wesley
Sea Cadets North West Area - Petty Officer Cadet Callum
Southern Area Sea Cadets - Petty Officer Cadet Joseph
South West Area Sea Cadets - Leading Cadet Maisie 

BZ and thank you to our 2022 First Sea Lord Cadets who served with such distinction throughout last year, and who stepped down with the following message: “We’ve had an interesting year and we’re so grateful and honoured to have had these experiences. These events wouldn’t have been possible without people behind the scenes and the incredible support we’ve had from staff, volunteers and our parents. Thank you for everything and we wish the 2023 First Sea Lord Cadets the best of luck and we hope they too enjoy their time as much as we have."



Sea Cadets have successfully reached almost 8,000 schoolgirls through its Marine Engineering Project (MEP) in 2022, encouraging them to explore careers in engineering and science. The free programme, funded by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) and the Royal Navy, has delivered through schools across the UK since 2016, aiming to get young pupils aged 9-14 more interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects through hands-on challenges and experiments.

Through interactive exercises that align with the national curriculum, students learn about buoyancy, density, and other key concepts in marine engineering. By relating these topics to everyday life, the MEP workshops provide a unique learning experience outside of the traditional classroom.

82% of the girls surveyed, after participating in the MEP workshop, reported enjoying the experience, with over half saying they would consider a career in marine engineering. The programme also offers insights into a range of engineering careers, from traditional mechanical and electrical engineering to aeronautical and environmental engineering. Additionally, the fact that three out of five MEP workshop leaders are female provides young female pupils with role models in the field.

The MEP workshops also emphasize environmental awareness and sustainable solutions in marine engineering, covering topics such as rising sea levels, ocean and river pollution, and shipping pollution. As 9-year-old Molly, who participated in the programme, said, "I didn't know about all the environmental problems because of engineering. I would like to try and be one and help fix them and make the world better in the future."

Teachers also praised the MEP workshops, with over 96% saying they would recommend the programme to other schools. "Through the MEP workshops, students can see that there are lots of careers within the STEM field," said one teacher. "It gives them a lot of future thought."

Stuart Rivers, Chief Executive of MNWB, which is the umbrella charity for UK Merchant Navy and fishing fleet which supports and promotes co-operation between organisations that provide welfare services to seafarers, fishermen and their dependents, said:

"There's been a lot of media attention on fewer female pupils choosing STEM subjects, and we're on a mission to change this. The MEP workshops showcase all that engineering has to offer and what a rewarding career choice it is."

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