Military Life

Interested in a life at sea? Here’s how to join the Navy

Jessica Evans Avatar
navy recruits

Seaman recruits stand at ease at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. (DOD Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton)

Do you love the sea? What about ships? Ready to embark on a thrilling training journey that tests your physical challenges? When you join the Navy, you’ll be pushed you to your limits in one of the most grueling boot camps in the military.

From the moment you step foot on the grounds of Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois, you will be thrown into a world of intense conditioning. Of course, this is nowhere near the sea, but that’s okay. Over the next eight to 10 weeks, you’ll transform physically and mentally. In this way, you’ll become an efficient sailor, trained to operate with lightning-fast efficiency.

As soon as you arrive, you’ll get your assignment into a command division. You’ll also meet your Recruit Division Commanders. Your future sea journey kicks off with a medical and dental examination. That’s followed by vaccinations and your first military haircut. You’ll receive training in critical skills such as water survival, marksmanship, confidence building, and fire suppression. This makes you ready to face any challenge the Navy throws your way. Get ready transform yourself into a fearless warrior, ready to serve and protect the country with honor and distinction.

Water Survival Training

As a future sailor in the United States Navy, you’ll spend a significant amount of time in the water. It’s a good idea to hit the pool a time or two before you leave. That’s because your first day includes an initial swim assessment.

You and your division mates will begin by climbing a diving tower and jumping into a 12-foot-deep pool. The real challenge is a grueling 50 yards, followed by a heart-pounding abandon ship simulation. This high-stress underwater scenario will challenge your mettle and strengthen your swimming abilities.

This rigorous training will prepare you for the challenges of life at sea and help you develop the skills necessary to become a confident and capable Sailor. Whether you’re swimming through rough seas or navigating dangerous underwater obstacles, you’ll have the strength and endurance to tackle any situation that comes your way. So, get ready to take the plunge and conquer the waters with ease!

how to join the navy swimming
Navy Diver candidates during a training exercise at Recruit Training Command, Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., Sept. 5, 2014. (DoD Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton.)


In addition to water survival, you’ll also need to master the art of marksmanship. Your training will begin with a comprehensive classroom session. There, a seasoned instructor will teach you the fundamentals of handling weapons safely and effectively. You’ll then head to the firing range to put your newfound knowledge to the test.

At the range, you’ll start by shooting with a simulation pistol, where you’ll practice loading and firing, perfecting your technique and building your confidence. With each shot, you’ll get closer to your goal of becoming an expert marksman. As you advance, you will hone your skills and refine your aim by training with a real weapon.

No matter what level of marksmanship you possess at the beginning of basic training, you can be sure that you’ll leave a better shot than when you started. By the end of boot camp, you’ll be ready to take on any target with precision and accuracy. So, get ready to become a sharpshooter and protect the country with deadly accuracy.

Confidence Training

In an era of chemical and biological warfare, Sailors sometimes wear heavy, uncomfortable safety equipment when navigating dangerous spaces. During basic training, you will put on a gas mask and face a test in the confidence chamber. You’ll have ten seconds to put on our mask. Despite the burn, you will remove the mask and breathe in the tear gas to build confidence in the safety equipment.

Fire Suppression Training

Finally, one important skill you’ll learn in boot camp is firefighting. Think about it. When you’re out at sea, there will be no fire department to come help if a fire breaks out. You’ll undergo in-class training and a firefighting simulation, designed to simulate past naval fires, to ensure fire safety in combat and on military vessels. The program is set up to ensure fire safety both in combat and onboard military vessels.

how to join the navy recruit training
Equipment Operator 1st Class Joseph Sperry, a recruit division commander at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, poses for a photo in a berthing compartment at the Navy’s only Boot Camp. (U.S. Navy photo by Austin Rooney/Released)

Graduation and Beyond

After weeks of intense physical and mental training, you and your fellow sailors will reach a milestone at the end of your basic training. The United States Navy will host a grand graduation ceremony in your honor, where you’ll have the opportunity to invite up to four guests to share in your achievement. Guests have to be screened ahead of time to enter base.

This graduation ceremony marks the end of boot camp and the beginning of your journey as a sailor. For some of you, the next step will be advanced training, or “A” school. There, you’ll delve deeper into your chosen field and further develop your skills.

This is just the start of your exciting journey as a sailor in the United States Navy. So, get ready to put your training to the test and make your mark on the world!