What does it mean to be a Sailor? We go to sea to defend America. We abide by strict self-discipline and live by Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. A Sailor is all these things and more.  At Recruit Training Command we will train, mentor and anchor your life in the war-fighting culture of being a Sailor. This process is called Sailorization.

Sailorization is designed to integrate new recruits into the Navy way of life, shape their expectations for future duty assignments, and give them the tools needed for career and personal success. Those in the Sailorization process include recruiters, Recruit Division Commanders (RDCs), instructors and officers. The leadership and staff at RTC work to provide the fleet with world-class Sailors who possess the basic skills necessary for Naval service.


"I look back on my life and realize that the Navy gave me more than just a home — it let me be a part of history, allowed me to shape my own future, and it gave me the skills no other employer could."
– Joshua Hudson, Petty Officer First Class, Mass Communications

Transforming a civilian into a Sailor involves a change in the life, discipline, responsibility and physical makeup of the individual. There will be a very limited opportunity to address things such as making sure your bills are paid, childcare is stable, and banking issues are handled during your training. Taking the opportunity before arriving at Recruit Training Command to get yourself ready emotionally and financially is equally as important as being ready physically.


Click the link above to view the REQUIRED items you must bring with you to RTC.


Click on the link above to view a list of AUTHORIZED personal items that you may want to bring to training, but are not required. Any unauthorized or unnecessary items (including your civilian clothes) will be boxed up and shipped home at your expense


(click here to open and download printable pdf)

Click on the link above to view of a list of items which are UNAUTHORIZED to be possessed by recruits in training.


Your physical training will be both rigorous and challenging and includes one-hour daily workouts, six days a week. Training alternates between strength and conditioning exercises that focus on building your body's major muscle groups and cardiovascular endurance. B.A.S.E.S (or Balance Agility Strength Explosion and Stamina) is a weekly exercise routine which incorporates shipboard required skills with aerobic and strength training.

In order to graduate from RTC, you must pass a Navy Physical Fitness Assessment. The minimum requirements are in the table below. You also must be within approved body composition measurements for your height and weight.

The demanding exercise program will continue rain or shine, in extreme heat or bone-chilling cold. Freedom Hall is your gateway to physical fitness in the U.S. Navy. It provides a clean, climate-controlled environment for strength and cardio training and physical fitness assessment testing for all recruits and staff members every day of the year, no matter what the conditions are like outside.

While you will receive ample physical training at RTC, to maximize success, you should start preparing yourself physically NOW!


Recruit training, or "boot camp," will be approximately eight weeks long. The goal of this training is to transform you from a civilian into a Sailor with all of the skills necessary to perform in the fleet. Your training will include physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control, and lessons in our heritage and core values, teamwork, and discipline. Your training will be challenging but highly rewarding.


The goal of military training is to instill and reinforce the Navy's Core Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment with the basic skills of training in a team environment. You will be academically, physically and emotionally challenged. RTC will prepare you for life in the Navy.

Your first week will be taken up by medical, dental and administration screenings. This processing week - or “P-Days” - will fly by as you are prepared for your training to start. The first two weeks of training are very difficult: your body and mind will have to adjust quickly to new rigors. You must memorize information such as your chain of command, the general orders and rank recognition.

During the next four weeks of training, much of your day will be spent in class or in a hands-on technical training environment. Teamwork, self-discipline and attention to detail are the keys to successfully completing this stage of your training, preparing you for challenges that lie ahead.

Click here to read General Orders

P Days

Before your formal training can begin at Recruit Training Command, you will undergo further medical, dental and administrative screenings. You will also receive an initial round of inoculations and an initial issue of uniforms.

All Recruits will be given a thorough drug screening urinalysis by a Navy Drug Lab upon arrival. The Navy has a Zero Tolerance policy regarding drug use, including any prescription drugs for which a Recruit does not have a valid prescription. There are no exceptions to this rule, so be sure that even before you arrive onboard, you are adhering to the Navy's Code of Conduct regarding drug use.

Your first week of training consists of processing days (P-Days). This period lasts for approximately five days, but can run a little longer depending on weekends, holidays and the schedule of arriving Recruits.

During P-days, you will be taught the basics of watch standing, given information to memorize, will meet your RDCs and will learn to organize your gear and life. This marks the official start of your training. During your first week of training, your Ship’s Officer will commission your division and give you the orders to carry out the mission.


The Basic Naval Orientation (BNO) staff is responsible for teaching you various classroom topics during your training. The lessons are taught in a group-paced classroom setting or are self-paced by Computer Based Training.

The following is a list of some of the lesson topics:

  • Direct Deposit System (DDS) brief
  • Montgomery G.I. Bill (MGIB)
  • Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)
  • U.S. Navy Ships and Aircraft
  • First Aid
  • Rank/Rate Recognition
  • Uniforms and Grooming
  • Conduct during Armed Conflict
  • Military Customs and Courtesies
  • Equal Opportunity
  • Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR)
  • Naval History
  • Anti-Terrorism / Force Protection
  • Thrift Savings Plan
  • Weapons Familiarization (M9 Service Pistol)

Pay attention and study hard. You will take three academic tests covering this material during boot camp.


Our hands-on learning curriculum will provide you the opportunity to practice the lessons learned through classroom and practical application throughout basic training. Here you will 'train how we fight' and learn the skills of a basically trained Sailor.

Marlinespike (Basic Seamanship Phase)

"I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way." -- John Paul Jones

One of the most physically challenging and motivating events in your training calendar is Basic Seamanship. You will start with the basics of line handling and shipboard watch standing. Don't relax, your training will move quickly. By the end of the third day you will be tested on getting the USS MARLINESPIKE (simulated training ship) underway and back to port safely as a team.


Every Sailor onboard the ship is a firefighter and must know what to do when an emergency happens.

Firefighting is one of the most important phases of your training at RTC. You will be trained to respond as a team so that you can return from sea alive. The firefighting phase will consist of 5 days of classroom lectures and hands-on fire team training. You will learn about basic shipboard damage control, how to combat flooding, how to make casualty reports, the chemistry of fire, and how fire is extinguished. We will teach you to protect yourself and your shipmates against the hazards of fire, smoke, and a chemical weapon attack. By the end of training, you will man a hose as a team and give orders at the scene to put out the fire rapidly and safely.

Water Survival

RTC's Water Survival Division will provide you with basic Survival-at-Sea techniques, including lifeboat organization, survival kit contents and usage, an Abandon Ship Scenario, and the 3rd class swim qualification. Your training will ensure that you can stay afloat and stay alive without the use of a personal floatation device in open water long enough to be rescued if you were to fall overboard. This includes swimming 50-yards, a 5-minute prone float, and clothing inflation.

Water Survival Instructors are certified experts in swim instruction, in-water rescue, life guarding, and CPR. Every Sailor graduating RTC must be a qualified swimmer.

The 3rd class swim qualification consists of:

  1. Jumping off a platform, swimming
  2. Treading water
  3. Flotation

Successful completion is required to graduate from RTC.

Weapons Training

Your weapons training will consist of marksmanship fundamentals, M9 service pistol characteristics, clearing barrel procedures, and weapons safety practices for successful completion of the Navy Handgun Qualification Course. In addition, you will receive basic Anti-Terrorism / Force Protection training. You will be going into harm's way. We will give you the skills you need to protect your ship, your shipmate, and yourself.


Your life as a recruit will be unlike anything else you have experienced before. At first you will find it quite difficult. You will be obeying orders for the first time and expected to lead others. As the daily routine becomes more familiar, you will notice that your division is starting to work together. By the end of training your team will be "running on all cylinders," and you will feel that you can accomplish anything together.

Vast improvements have been made to the training environment in the past few years. State-of-the-art and climate-controlled ships (barracks), computer-assisted electronic classrooms, new galleys and proudly decorated drill halls will remind you that you are in fact joining the world's finest and most technically advanced Navy.

Where do I live?

The barracks in which you will live is called a "Ship" and is named for an important ship in naval history. Each state-of-the-art ship can house up to 1,300 recruits and contains multiple berthing areas, a galley, and classrooms. Each climate-controlled ship is designed for maximum quality of life.

Where do I sleep?

Your berthing compartment (sleeping quarters) houses your entire division. Male-female integrated divisions are housed in single-gender compartments but come together for training. It is where you sleep, shower, dress, iron your uniform, and polish your shoes. It also is where your RDC instructs you on proper folding and stowing techniques, passes out vital information, and hands out letters from home. You will be inspected, stand watch, PT, and practice marching in this space. You will be responsible for cleaning every square inch of it (all 350,000 of them). This is your home for the next seven weeks.

Where do I eat?

Each ship has its own galley, serving 3 nutritious meals a day for up to 1,300 recruits and staff members. Your food will be carefully prepared and served by our dedicated galley staff.


You have completed five-and-a-half weeks of intense training. You have scored well on two academic tests. You have passed personnel inspections in which your appearance, knowledge, and military bearing have been tested. Your compartment and gear have been judged as ship-shape during your bunk and locker inspections. You have passed the final Physical Fitness Assessment. You have demonstrated your ability to work as a team at firefighting and basic seamanship. Now at the end of the sixth week of training you will put your skills to the test.


Throughout boot camp you will be given multiple instructions, tasks to complete, and numerous obstacles to overcome. Battle Stations is your final hurdle. It will test your physical fitness, knowledge of Naval history, commitment to the team and the ability to apply everything you have learned in boot camp. In order to complete Battle Stations and become a Sailor, you will have to demonstrate your understanding of our Navy Core Values: Honor, Courage and Commitment. Are you ready?

Capping Ceremony - Who thought that four letters--N, A, V, and Y--could mean so much?

The final event of Battle Stations is a motivating and emotional ceremony during which each new Sailor receives his or her Navy ball cap. This event marks the end of the recruit phase of training. By placing the ball cap on his or her head, each new Sailor tells the world that he or she has earned the right to be called a United States Sailor. With this privilege comes an increased responsibility to act according to our Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment and live up to the meaning of the word SHIPMATE.

Graduation Ceremony

Recruit graduation is known as Pass-In-Review. It is a formal military ceremony which honors your hard work and dedication to a new way of life. It also ties together the future of the Navy with our long-held Naval traditions and customs. This is your opportunity to impress your family and friends with what you have accomplished in a mere eight weeks.

The ceremony starts promptly at 9 a.m. Your family will already be seated in the drill hall. You will march in with about 800 of your Shipmates to a sea of flashbulbs, applause and praise. There is no prouder moment in your life. You will be placed on liberty immediately following the ceremony for a chance to meet with your family and to explore the surrounding area.

Rules on Liberty

Liberty is ‘time off’ from the daily work routine. Graduating Sailors will be granted daytime liberty after graduation to spend time off-base with their families and friends.  Sailors are expected to act responsibly and maintain military bearing while interacting in a civilian environment.

  1. Graduating Sailors are prohibited from using tobacco products or consuming alcoholic beverages at any time while on liberty, regardless of age.
  2. Graduating Sailors are prohibited from operating any motorized vehicles.
  3. Graduating Sailors must remain in their complete uniform while on liberty.  If they are engaging in physical activity or swimming, they must wear the authorized Navy issued workout gear.
  4. Food, tobacco products, video cameras, or any other portable electronic devices shall not be brought back to RTC. 
  5. Sailors reporting to A School at Training Support Center, Great Lakes generally detach from Recruit Training Command (RTC) on Friday.  Sailors who will attend A School outside of Great Lakes will depart on Saturday. To get the most accurate information please communicate with your recruit.
  6. Graduating Sailors departing RTC for follow-on training the same day as graduation or those who are in a duty status will be granted limited on-base liberty.
  7. Graduating Sailors must stay within a 50-mile radius of RTC.
  8. Graduating Sailors receive an in-depth liberty briefing prior to their graduation day.

What's Next

A few hours to a few days after graduation you will board the bus that will take you to your next duty station. When you depart depends on your follow-on orders and when you arrived at RTC. You now realize that completing boot camp was not the end but the beginning of your life's greatest adventure. You leave RTC with the skills, discipline, and Core Values necessary for service in the fleet. You are part of something bigger than yourself and you are about to prove that you deserve the title--United States Sailor.

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