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Life as a Canadian Coast Guard officer cadet

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Learn about life at the Canadian Coast Guard College, extracurricular activities, our code of conduct and opportunities for cadet advancement.

The cadet experience

Our campus has everything you’ll need as you embark on your journey of continuous learning. Your experience will be structured, provide challenges and help you develop into a leader. As an officer cadet you’ll be part of the Coast Guard family, giving you the opportunity to meet new people, solve unique marine encounters and be a part of our campus traditions.

As an officer cadet you’ll receive an elite education. Though each officer cadet’s story is unique, all officer cadets experience key aspects of life at the College throughout their 4 years.

It’s challenging. You’ll attend training between 8 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday. All cadets study mathematics and physics and are expected to finish their program in 4 years.

It’s adventurous. You’ll have the opportunity to witness parts of Canada only seen by an elite few. You’ll take part in courageous search and rescue situations and environmental operations.

It’s rewarding. You’ll be a part of something greater than yourself, developing character and leadership skills while preparing you for your future life at sea, saving lives and serving your country.

Daily life

A routine day on campus begins with morning divisions at 7:30 am. You and your fellow cadets will muster in the gymnasium or courtyard and fall into your respective divisions for inspection. We follow divisions with the singing of O Canada. You’ll then attend classes or practical training between 8 am and 5 pm.

Sometimes you’ll be required to take your turn performing duty watch. These extra duties emulate a watch on board a Canadian Coast Guard vessel and include:

  • raising the flag
  • security rounds
  • observing and logging the weather

After hours

After work hours and on weekends, you’re free to further your studies at the library, participate in sports or relax on or off-campus. We also encourage you to join College committees, or participate in community and charity events to further develop your leadership skills.

Weekend leave may be restricted depending on the demands of training and other duties.


Vacation leave is often authorized during the Christmas holidays and mid-August. Your vacation time may vary depending on your training program’s demands.

Sea phase training

When you are on a vessel at sea for training (sea phase), you’ll follow the vessel’s schedule. This is when you’ll practice the skills you learned at the College by participating in operational activities alongside the rest of the crew.

Officer cadet ranking system

The officer cadet ranking system gives you the opportunity to be a leader in several positions.

Chief Cadet Captain

This position is the highest rank that you can achieve as an officer cadet. You’ll be in charge of the entire officer cadet body and report directly to the Liaison Officer. Your duties in this position include:

  • carrying out officer cadet inspections
  • acting as Officer Cadet-in-Charge at divisions
  • administering and supervising cadet officers
  • assisting with the implementation of College routines

Senior Cadet Captain

In this position, you report directly to the Chief Cadet Captain and act as second-in-command. You will assist them in all matters as required. This position is appointed by the graduating class.

Cadet captains

The cadet captains are officer cadets who administer and supervise the leading cadets of the division. As a cadet captain, you will assist with the implementation of College routines and assist with inspections of the division.

Leading cadets

Leading cadets assist in the management of the student body. As a leading cadet, your duties will include:

  • reporting on morning divisions attendance
  • taking lead of a group during morning divisions
  • encouraging officer cadets to comply with standing orders

Class leaders

All officer cadets will have a chance to be their class leader, a position that’s established on a rotational basis. As a class leader, you’ll bring the class to attention when your instructor or another person of authority arrives, and inform instructors of any absences.

Code of conduct

The behaviour and demeanour of a ships’ officer is part of a long standing and honourable tradition in the Coast Guard. As an officer cadet, you’ll be expected to conduct yourself with integrity and decorum at all times, both on-board and on-shore. This includes:

  • in public
  • at the College
  • on sea training

Your standing orders and routine orders will be your guides to the conduct and lifestyle expected of you throughout the training program. These practices and standards follow those used after graduating into the Coast Guard fleet. These expectations include:

  • being truthful
  • protecting others
  • demonstrating loyalty
  • accepting direction with respect
  • demonstrating kindness to others
  • respecting and obeying all College routines, rules and regulations
  • being on time for all classes, activities, assignments, meetings and duties
  • taking charge of and holding yourself accountable for your activities and actions
  • wearing the Canadian Coast Guard uniform respectfully, completely and properly at all times
  • performing duties and assignments to the best of your ability, keeping in mind the respect, well-being and security of others

Clubs and extracurricular activities

Both officer cadets and staff organize clubs and extracurricular activities to provide you with opportunities to further develop your social and leadership skills. These include our:

  • archery club
  • marching band
  • student council
  • officer cadet canteen
  • mental health committee
  • health and safety committee

Physical fitness and sports

The physical fitness element of the program lets you join in with different activities and sports to maintain your mental and physical health. After-hours recreational sports give you time to relax, have friendly competitions and have fun.

Community involvement

You’re encouraged to be involved within your communities to help develop your social and leadership skills. Some annual community events include:

  • charity events
  • Run for a Cure
  • Hallowe'en watch
  • community parades
  • Remembrance Day ceremonies
  • the Terry Evans Cup sailing competition
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