Preparing For Coast Guard Boot Camp

Coast Guard Boot Camp

Enlisted recruits going through Coast Guard boot camp, will spend eight weeks at Cape May, where they will transition from a civilian to a Coast Guardsman. During the eight weeks of Coast Guard boot camp, recruits will be mentally and physically challenged. In order to help you prepare for the first day of training, we’ve put together a list of the required knowledge for Coast Guard Boot Camp. 

11 General Orders

It is a very good idea to learn these before boot camp because all recruits are expected to learn these verbatim.

General Order
1 To take charge of this post and all government property in view.
2 To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
3 To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
4 To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guard house than my own.
5 To quit my post only when properly relieved.
6 To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me all orders from the commanding officer, field officer of the day, officer of the day, and officers and petty officers of the watch.
7 To talk to no one except in the line of duty.
8 To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
9 To call the petty officer of the watch in any case not covered by instructions.
10 To salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased.
11 To be especially watchful at night, and during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post, and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

Sandboxx Tip: Make flashcards, in order to graduate you will be required to know these orders verbatim. If flashcards aren’t for you, write each order out multiple times on a page front to back. Repetition will help you remember them.

Prepare For Coast Guard Boot Camp

Addressing Personnel

Upon arrival at Cape May, most of your day-to-day habits will become a thing of the past. Among these habits that will change is how you greet personnel and others in your unit.

Non-Rated Group (E-1 to E-3)

Formal Greeting Example
Good morning Seaman/Fireman and last name. Good morning Seaman Smith.
Informal Greeting Example
Good morning and last name. Good morning Smith.

Petty Officer Group (E-4 to E-6)

Formal Greeting Example
Good morning Petty Officer and last name. Good morning Petty Officer Scott.
Informal Greeting Example
Good morning Petty Officer and last name. Good morning Petty Officer Scott.

There are many more greetings for additional ranks that can be viewed here. Try not to overwhelm yourself and at least focus on getting the top two down before your arrival, the rest will come more naturally once you’re at boot camp.

Sandboxx Tip: Practice with a friend or family member. Assign your family members different ranks, when you see them make sure to use the proper greeting for their rank.

Required Knowledge For Coast Guard Boot Camp

Coast Guard Ranks

While at Coast Guard boot camp, your rank will be a Seaman Recruit (E-1), once you graduate from boot camp you will then become a Seaman Apprentice (E-2). Knowing your rank will not be important during boot camp, but knowing everyone else’s rank and what the ranking structure is will be.

Enlisted Rankings

Pay Grade Rank Insignia
E-1 Seaman Recruit USCG-E1-Seaman Recruit
E-2 Seaman Apprentice USCG-E2-Seaman Apprentice
E-3 Seaman USCG-E3-Seaman
E-4 Petty Officer Third Class USCG-E4-Petty Officer Third Class
E-5 Petty Officer Second Class USCG-E5-Petty Officer Second Class
E-6 Petty Officer First Class USCG-E6-Petty Officer First Class
E-7 Chief Petty Officer USCG-E7-Chief Petty Officer
E-8 Senior Chief Petty Officer USCG-E8-Second Chief Petty OFficer
E-9 Master Chief Petty Officer USCG-E9-Master Chief Petty Officer
E-9 Command Master Chief Petty Officer USCG-E9-Command Master Chief Petty Officer
E-9 Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard USCG-E9-Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard

Coast Guard Officer Rankings

Pay Grade Rank Insignia
O-1 Ensign O-1
O-2 Lieutenant Junior Grade O-2
O-3 Lieutenant O-3
O-4 Lieutenant Commander O-4
O-5 Commander O-5
O-6 Captain O-6
O-7 Rear Admiral O-7
O-8 Rear Admiral O-8
O-9 Vice Admiral O-9
O-10 Admiral O-10

Sandboxx Tip: Make flashcards with the rankings on them.

Military Time

While in the military you will ALWAYS refer to time on a 24-hour clock. This means you will no longer have a 5pm rather a 17:00. Military time may seem confusing but is an easy adjustment.

Learn how to Tell Military Time so you can start practicing before you get to BMT.

Sandboxx Tip: Change the time on your phone to a 24-hour clock so that you can start to get familiar with military time.

What To Know For Coast Guard Boot Camp

Phonetic Alphabet

The phonetic alphabet is uniform across all branches of the military as well as widely used by other organizations such as NATO. It is the technique of using a specific, distinct word to ensure that the receiver understands exactly what letter you are using.

A Alpha
B Bravo
C Charlie
D Delta
E Echo
F Foxtrot
G Golf
H Hotel
I India
J Juliet
K Kilo
L Lima
M Mike
N November
O Oscar
P Papa
Q Quebec
R Romeo
S Sierra
T Tango
U Uniform
V Victor
W Whiskey
X X-Ray
Y Yankee
Z Zulu

Sandboxx Tip: The best way to memorize the alphabet, is to start spelling words out loud. Start with your name, spell it using the phonetic alphabet. Then practice spelling other words. To really get it down ask your family or friends to have you spell words for them.

Final Tip

Get more Letters during boot camp with the Sandboxx app.

This is the easiest preparation tip of them all. Sandboxx is a mobile app that provides friends and families the opportunity to send Letters to Coast Guard boot camp directly from their phone.

Sandboxx Letters are shipped overnight to Coast Guard boot camp so that you can hear from back home faster. Make sure to let your loved ones know about Sandboxx before you go to boot camp to get more Letters, faster.


Whether you’re two weeks away from Coast Guard boot camp, or a few months, it’s never too early or late to start preparing for boot camp. There will be a lot more required knowledge for Coast Guard Boot Camp, you can view the full list here.

Author: Nicole at Sandboxx

The daughter of a United States Marine, I grew up with a passion and love for our troops, which led me to pursue a career in a field where I could give back to the military community. In my free time you can find me spending time with my significant other who is currently an Officer in the Marine Corps.

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