The importance of nautical training

Each year 1,500 young people get a chance to go to sea on one of seven cadet training vessels

Learning to handle the charity’s square-rigger - TS Royalist

Samantha Shaw outlines the work done by the Marine Society & Sea Cadets in introducing young people to the sea

Photo: Nigel Millard

TS Royalist, the flagship of the Sea Cadets, has been operating in UK coastal waters for 38 years. She is joined by the rest of our offshore fleet of seven vessels. The most recent addition, a 24-metre power vessel named TS Jack Petchey, will be ready to take young cadets out to sea from 2010.

Nautical training lies at the heart of being a Sea Cadet. It is an essential and intrinsic element of the experience. There can be no greater personal challenge to a young person than being part of the ship’s company operating a traditional square-rigged brig in UK coastal waters. Surviving the cramped and sometimes arduous living conditions, in a testing environment where collective responsibility is the norm, can result in the young crew bonding together with a true sense of achievement.

The charity supports young people from the age of thirteen and a half to eighteen years via adventure training in a structured environment at sea. Our commitment and passion to champion Britain’s maritime future, by inspiring young people, is central to all that we do.

Since 1971 over 30,000 cadets have experienced life on board, and each year we give 1,500 young people the chance to go to sea. With our newest ship, TS Jack Petchey, this figure is set to rise.

The wealth of our island nation is due in large part to the past successes of the Royal and merchant navies, in defending our shores, in shipbuilding and in establishing trade routes. It is notable that 95% of our goods today come through our ports. The Marine Society & Sea Cadets aims to build upon Britain’s proud heritage and support its future by offering young people a knowledge and understanding of the past, whilst at the same time opening their eyes to the many and varied careers in the maritime sector.

With 14,000 young people based in 400 units throughout the UK, as well as in the Falkland Islands, Jersey and Malta, we are equal to this task.