There must be basic training for sailors, right? What's in it?

See subject.

It never occurred to me. Basic training for the Army is part of public mindset for sure.

Also, do they train breath control and teach methods for composure when in a potential drowning situation?

Last night I dreamed I was in naval basic training, particularly about being in a drowning-test tank… Not fun.

well one odd thing is the basic training is nowhere near the ocean. It’s on Lake Michigan

In 1985 basic training did not include swimming outside of a swim test.
It included almost no gun training but plenty of firefighting theory.
We marched around and were taught about the Navy, history, ships, rank recognition, marching, signals, marching, clarified letter calling, marching, how to make up bunks, marching, when to salute, marching, first aid, marching, how to use your uniform as a floatation device, marching and few other items. It was only 8 weeks and then were off to our actually training that can be as little as a few months to years.

Oh one note, in 1985, there were 3 locations for boot camp. San Dog (San Diego), somewhere in Florida and Great Mistakes where I went.

I think you forgot marching :).

Anyway, I remember visiting the site of a famous shipwreck (the ship had run aground on a sandbar or something and started to fall apart), and the guide mentioned that many sailors could not swim to shore because they could not swim at all. Obviously that seems a bit incredulous that a person, especially one whose life revolves around the sea, could not swim 50 feet to a smooth sandy beach with few, if any, rocks. However, I think this was a commercial ship and not a military one so it’s possible that military sailors would have been able to swim.

The U.S. Navy has extensive training for sailors (and officers).

During basic training, as part of the swim test, sailors have to jump off a platform into a swimming pool, fully dressed, swim for a distance underwater, and scan the surface before coming up for air (to simulate looking for burning oil on the surface of the water).

In follow-on schools, sailors also train in flooding simulators, including ones to simulate flooding on a surface ship as well as a submarine (depending on one’s assigned branch of service).

(Do a Google search on “USS Buttercup” for more info on the surface ship flooding simulator.)

I went through both of them during my time in the Navy. What I recall is that you have only so much time to repair the leaks, as the whole compartment fills with water. I was a good swimmer, and I remember tightening down a repair clamp as I held my breath underwater. I also remember that the control room had a big window to watch trainees contend with the flooding, and that that the window had big windshield wipers. :smiley:

In the submarine force, sailors also train on simulated escape trunks. Nowadays, you escape into a swimming pool, but years ago, the submarine school in Groton, Connecticut used a tower to simulate escaping at a much greater depth. Unfortunately, one or two sailors drowned in the simulator every year, so the Navy finally decided they were losing more sailors in the simulator than in actual situations, so they switched to a less-intense simulated escape trunk.

How soon after your first day could you be on a working ship?
Similarly, what type of jobs get the least training after boot camp?

There are training and career paths for civilian sailors. I did a trip on a sail training vessel that taught very traditional seamanship skills; knots and ropework, navigation, emergency drills, and the like. There are specialized schools, as well. As you build up experience and pass certain tests, you can serve in more senior positions and on larger ships, although I’m not sure who administers those classifications.

Boatswain Mate (BM) is probably the least. Electrician Mate is probably average and was 9 months of training from Boot Camp to assignment to a ship. Nuke ET was the longest and figure maybe 2 years.

In San Diego, we also had to go through fire-fighting, which is a major concern aboard ship. They would set off big smoke bombs in the gutted building they used, and then we had to go in with the hoses. If anybody coughed, we had to go do it all over again. I had a cold at the time and pulled my T-shirt up over my nose and mouth to keep from incurring the wrath of either the instructors or my fellow sufferers. We also had to go through tear gas exposure, wherein you were ordered to strip off your gas mask and recite the General Orders. Nasty.

San Diego also had the “USS Neversail”, which was a small landlocked ship mock-up. We ran around dogging down watertight doors and talking on the sound-powered intercom and going to general quarters. It was all meaningless bullshit for me, as I knew I was going to be a Seabee and never see the inside of a boat.

jnglmassiv: If a sailor doesn’t score high enough to get an “A” school (trade school), he may go directly to the fleet for OJT, where he can eventually “strike” for a particular rating. One poor bastard in my boot camp company went to OJT on Swift Boats in the Mekong Delta. Talk about baptism by fire.

Why is coughing a no no?

Sound like stone frigates:

Went through Navy boot camp in San Diego back in 1975. Besides all the above, there was also service week, most everyone got to go work in the chow hall for a week, 4 am to 7 pm each day. In San Diego, we spent the first 3 weeks of boot camp at Worm Island, then you got to cross the bridge to finish boot camp. The fun part of Worm Island was rolling out of the sack at 6 am and looking out the window to see the guys in Marine boot camp out running already.

Navy and Air Force recruit training differ slightly from Army and Marines in that its goal is the performance of technical duties under pressure. After boot camp, I went to an inter-service A school, and while the soldiers folded their clothes and cleaned their barracks too, it wasn’t to the same exacting standards as the squids and zoomies. We had the time to do that while they had to go marching all over the place.

The Florida boot camp was near Orlando (as was nuclear power school).

I went through the DC wet trainer as part of SubScol, and then went through refresher training at the wet trainer at Pearl Harbor. At the latter we were allowed to use EAB masks and work underwater; Joel and I had problems with one leak, and by the time we finished with it and stood up, the water in the trainer was over four feet deep above the deckplates…

I started boot camp in early '82, got to my first boat in late '83. Boot camp, BE&E (Basic Electricity and Electronics school), RM ‘A’ School, BESS (Basic Enlisted Submarine School), SETTs (Submarine Electronics Technical Training) and my ‘C’ school. There was a month or so of leave in there, too, as well as travel time between schools (boot camp at Great Lakes, ‘A’ school in San Diego and the others in Groton).

Never served, but have done some reading. This thread is all about the practical training in boot camp. But the most important part of boot camp as I understand it, is to get campers to understand what makes the military tick.

Long ago the military recognized that a good soldier’s, or seaman’s, or airman’s greatest motivation was not patriotism or ideology. They are best motivated to fight and sacrifice by loyalty to their comrades. Basic training inculcates that commitment to the team and unit, and diminishes the important of the individual. All the while talking patriotism, both to justify the submission of the individual to the group, and to play to the civil society’s conventional wisdom.

My father flew in WWll. Once he had a shot up plane, and was returning to base earlier than the rest of his squadron. It was the undercarriage that was shot up, so he had no landing gear. Rather than jeopardize the rest of his squadron by possibly crash landing on the landing strip and making a big mess of it, he landed on the coral along side. The plane was destroyed, and he was pretty busted up, much worse than if he’d landed on the strip. That’s what he’s proudest of.

So my take is that basic training is more about the head than the tools, etc.

Went through boot camp in 2003, and this is pretty accurate. Add up everything new that I actually learned during those 2 months and you could fit it into a 3 hour class.

-Who’s the Chief of Naval Operations?
-Which way is port?
-How do I not run my mouth when I shouldn’t?

For me, I knew the answer to that last question already. For some, it took a full two months. Boot camp is designed for those guys.

Let’s call it 1.5 years. How long was your commitment? That’s obviously a lot of training and I understand that sub certs take longer but what’s the shortest bootcamp to job time out there?
Is there much on the job training on, say, a carrier? Are there general purpose janitorial staff (searching for something with little training here…) like you’d have in an office institution? I mean, it’s hard to believe, I dunno, the barbers had more than a few weeks of school, right?
Or even a job on a stone frigate (nice term, thanks) driving cargo or something?

I read the cite given up there, and with the comments here, it doesn’t seem like you have to bust your balls to get physically fit–or even that they particularly care.

What’s the PT in Navy boot camp?

Basic training in the Royal Navy.

Military discipline, forms of punishments

Flotation test - learn to stay afloat long enough to die of hypothermia instead of drowning

Lots of fire-fighting, lots and lots of it - the maintenance recruits tend to do much more of this since they will form the front line fire fighting and damage control crews, but everyone does plenty of it.

Damage control - trying to keep the ship afloat after collisions etc

Marching, learning to act immediately on orders - aka ‘Being shouted at a lot’

Identification of of ranks, learning the correct protocols when in contact with other ranks.

Use of small arms

Parade drill with small arms

Basic first aid

Teamwork exercises such as assault course carrying various ‘quite heavy things’ and ‘getting cold and wet a lot’

Assessments and interviews, these can include personality traits and also educational levels.

Don’t forget these will largely be young people who have never been away from home and are generally naive so there is quite a lot of patrician type of guidance, such as - personal life education from how to handle your pay - for many new recruits this will be the first job they ever had, and hence their first wages - through to personal hygiene, laundry, kit maintenance, including hand sewing of insignia, ironing, boot bulling etc

From this point the recruits will leave the induction establishment and move on to part 2 training, which will be in the specialist field, however all that basic training is reinforced with more of the same.

Part 3 training takes place on board ship, and it depends a great deal upon the drive of the ships company as to how hard you are pushed - there is a recognised program but its rare that this is strictly enforced, you basicly have to learn it as you go along, all except for fire fighting and action drills, you never ever stop doing those no matter what your rank

About sailors not being able to swim - My dad was in the Navy in WWII in underwater demolition. I’ve read a couple books on the underwater demolition teams (UDTs) and one said that some of the best UDT swimmers were men who couldn’t swim at all when they joined. By training them from scratch they had no bad habits to un-learn.