Navy Basic Training is much like any other military service boot camp in many respects–trainees are thrust into a challenging environment that requires quick thinking, teamwork, and determination.
But Navy boot camp is unique compared to others because of the water survival aspect of the training as we’ll explore below, and while Navy Recruiting websites don’t communicate as much about the week-to-week basic training experience as you might like, it’s possible to get a good idea about what to expect from P-Week to Battle Stations and Graduation Day.
Navy Boot Camp Basics
The Navy official site describes an eight-week basic training scenario that includes a variety of challenges, classroom learning, field exercises, and more. The classroom learning portion is more critical for graduation than you might expect at first–the Navy issues three academic tests over the course of basic training that draws on the classroom instruction in a variety of areas including:
- Direct Deposit System
- G.I. Bill
- Uniform Code of Military Justice
- U.S. Navy Ships and Aircraft
- Rape and Sexual Assault Awareness
- First Aid
- Rank/Rate Recognition
- Uniforms and Grooming
- Conduct during Armed Conflict
- Military Customs and Courtesies
- Equal Opportunity
- Naval History
- Force Protection
- Navy Knowledge Online
- Conduct and Precautions Ashore
- Weapons Familiarization
Among the things that make Navy boot camp different than those of other military services is the training emphasis on seamanship, swimming, and firefighting. Navy literature advises new recruits that as a Sailor on board a ship, all shipmates are responsible for fire control for the overall safety and security of the crew.
Water survival training is a very important part of Navy boot camp. Navy official site literature aimed at new recruits advises that this training is intended to help sailors survive in an “open water” situation without the assistance of a “personal floatation device” should one fall overboard off a ship or other vessel.
The training includes a 50-year swimming challenge, plus a “prone float” test. The Navy’s requirements for graduation include being a qualified swimmer.
Navy Basic Training Week By Week
Week 1: Processing Week
Also referred to as P Week, this is one of the biggest challenges for the new recruit if for no other reason than they have been placed into the training environment with a number of immediate requirements to meet even as they adjust to boot camp. Navy literature suggests P Week is one of the “most stressful” of Navy boot camp.
During P Week, recruits are assigned to their training units, given uniforms and military haircuts, and there are medical in-processing procedures to follow including immunizations and exams.
Week One isn’t just about paperwork, uniforms, and team assignments; new recruits are also put through “swim qualifications”, physical training, marching, and more.
The academic tests mentioned earlier? Week Two activities include the first of these tests. Week Two challenges also include a confidence course, defined as an exercise designed to train sailors how to deal with emergencies onboard a vessel. This includes life-saving tactics, becoming familiar with shipboard firefighting gear, etc.
This week is described sparingly on Navy recruiting sites, but involves more physical training, plus first-aid and seamanship lessons including the tying of knots and related tasks.
Intensive physical training, weapons training, and academic testing are major parts of Week 4. Recruits train in advance of their first physical fitness test which includes swimming challenges plus the usual pushups, curl-ups, etc.
Sailors get firefighting training, antiterror instruction, and lessons in computer operations. Week five is also the first glimpse for trainees that there may be life after boot camp–Week 5 is when graduation yearbook photos are scheduled.
This is a heavy drill week for Navy boot camp. There is more marching, more physical training, plus additional lessons in firefighting and related issues. Week 6 is also a milestone week as it is the time of the final academic test.
More of the same physical and classroom training happens in Week 7 but with the addition of a major event–Battle Stations.
This is a half-day long simulation designed to test everything a sailor has learned in the previous weeks. Recruits must pass swimming challenges, use their survival skills, participate in damage control and firefighting tasks, all in what the Navy describes as a “high-stress environment”. Battle Stations is described as the pinnacle of Navy boot camp.
Those who successfully pass the Battle Stations event will spend Week 8 preparing for Pass-In-Review, which is Navy-speak for graduation day. There is a final round of classroom work, fitness training, and preparation for the graduation ceremony itself.
After graduation day, some sailors will go on to “A” School or advanced training, while others go directly to a duty assignment for on-the-job training.