Is Navy Boot Camp Hard? - Operation Military Kids (2023)

It’s official, you are now on the path to becoming a United States Navy Sailor!

The paperwork is complete, you’ve met the height and weight standards, MEPS is complete, and you’re finally a member of the Navy’s Delayed Entrance Program (DEP).

Whichever career you decided to pursue in the Navy, the training and experience gained will become invaluable.

The next step is to begin training at the Recruit Training Command (RTC), otherwise known as boot camp, in Great Lakes, Illinois.

This article will give you a brief, but solid idea of what a recruit should expect.

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Before You Go To Navy Boot Camp

First things first, there are some things you should learn and memorize while in DEP. Have an idea of what the Navy core values are and what they mean to you — Honor, Courage, and Commitment.

You will be required to quote any one of the Eleven General Orders of a Sentry towards the end of your first week.

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The Sailor’s Creed and the Chain of Command will follow you throughout your entire Naval career so ensure these are engraved into memory.

This information, along with what items are necessary to bring to RTC, is located online and at your local recruiter’s office.

First Few Days of Boot Camp

When your ship date arrives, the yelling begins. Petty Officers will have you form up and listen to instructions while awaiting the RTC bus.

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The first few days of boot camp is called In-Processing, and this is where medical, and dental is screened to ensure training can resume, your first military haircut, and picture IDs are taken.

Gear will be issued, the clothes you wore will be mailed back home and you will be allowed a short phone call (only about 30 seconds).

Be sure to leave a message if you do not get a hold of anyone because they might wonder why they received a box with your clothes in it.

Weeks 1 – 4

Special Note: Click Here for a more detailed explanation of the Navy Boot Camp Schedule.

Week 1

Most days will begin extremely early 0600 (i.e. 6 AM) to about 2000 (i.e. 8 PM).

Throughout these first few days, you will learn about the “ship” you’re living in, basic commands, classes, and how to stow uniforms.

After week one, actual Navy boot camp begins.

At this point, you will take a DEP advancement test, where if you came in as an E-1 or E-2 and want to advance to the next rank this 30-question test is your ticket.

Among those first few things I mentioned in the beginning will be on it and you cannot get more than five questions wrong to pass.

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More medical is completed and your first workout begins. Don’t give up!

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Recruits will be required to complete their initial swim qualifications; jumping off a diving deck, swimming, treading water, and drown proofing.

Week 2

Week 2 covers inspections (uniform/bunk), military bearing, marching, and dental.

For those that have wisdom teeth, these will be removed at this time and then you are Sick in Quarters (SIQ) for two days to rest.

Week 3

Week 3 is a continuation of PT (physical training), folding gear, and inspections.

Additionally, recruits learn to stand watch, practice turning over (also how to turn over a 9mm pistol properly), and Marlinespike.

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Marlinespike is the time recruits become educated on getting a ship underway, mooring it to a pier, and even an exercise on a man overboard drill.

This is also the time to practice seamanship skills which will be useful for Battle Stations.

Week 4

Week 4 entails training at a firing range for Small Arms Marksmanship Training (SAMT).

Recruits earn their first ribbon called the National Defense Service Ribbon and most will earn their second medal after SAMT—Marksmanship Medal.

This is the highest award a Navy sailor can receive for weapons qualification; a Sharpshooter (S) or Expert (E) award receives a pin to attach onto the ribbon.

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Another major event that happens during this week is a Drill Inspection.

It occurs on the way to and at the Pacific Fleet Drill Hall which is quite a distance from any barracks. Commands from the videotape will be executed and inspected.

Most of what recruits learned so far will be tested by other RDC’s brought to your ship.

Any penalty points received may result in Intensive Training (IT) by your RDC afterward so watch out for that!

When you get IT’d in your barracks, RDCs attempt to make the room “sweat”.

That’s when everyone is working out for so long and so hard that the moisture in the room accumulates onto the walls and ceilings and the room literally begins to “sweat.”

Related Article: 12 Best (and 3 Worst) Jobs In The Navy

Weeks 5 – 8

Week 5

Recruits will continue training and complete administrative tasks geared towards their future career this week.

(Video) What Navy Recruits Go Through In Boot Camp | Boot Camp | Business Insider

They will attend briefings and more computer classes.

Week 6

During week 6, recruits learn all about shipboard damage control, which means firefighting about a ship.

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You will learn how to read Bulls-eyes located throughout ships, which tell you locations of specific compartments and fittings onboard.

A few devices used during basic damage control training are the Emergency Escape Breathing Device (EEBD), Supplemental Emergency Egress Device (SEED), Oxygen-Breathing Apparatus (OBA), and a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).

These devices provide certain types of protection such as respiratory and eye protection used by the firefighting teams.

Extinguishing systems and Chemical, Biological, and Radiological (CBR) classes will also be taught at this time as they may be potential hazards you come across being in the military.

Recruits will also be trained to don gas masks in a gas chamber.

They will need to remove their mask, replace the filter cartridge while stating their full name and social security number as the room is filled with tear gas.

Be sure not to rub your eyes afterward, as it is a profound irritant and may induce vomiting as well.

Week 7

Week 7 is the last full week of testing and training before graduation.

Each day will have a test, so this may be a stressful week for many.

There will be a second drill inspection, a final PFA (physical fitness assessment), zone inspection, uniform inspection, a “shipboard” firefighting exercise, and round out the week with Battle Stations.

Battle Stations is a cumulative 12-hour hands-on exercise.

To celebrate your accomplishments at RTC, recruits will attend a ceremony before graduation where they will remove their Recruit ball caps and replace them with ones that will let them be recognized as a United States Sailor in the Navy.

Week 8

The final week at boot camp is mostly out-processing, pass-in-review, and yet more classroom and physical training.

If recruits fulfill all requirements, then they attend graduation.

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Family members may be allowed to attend graduation and will need to be coordinated with each Sailor to be placed on an access list.

Ceremonial drill initiates the event, Pass-In-Review commences, and each Division arrives. The graduation begins promptly at 0900 and lasts about an hour and a half.

When it ends, recruits will be permitted weekend liberty prior to checking into their new command for A school.

Here’s just a sample of some of the jobs available to you after graduation (click here to see all of them):

  • Boatswains Mate (BM)
  • Ships Serviceman (SH)
  • Quartermaster (QM)
  • Missile Technician (MT)
  • Electricians Mate (EM)

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long is Navy Boot Camp?

Navy Recruit Training, often called “Boot Camp” and conducted at Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois, lasts from seven to nine weeks.

Can you quit Navy Boot Camp?

Joining the military is a major commitment. Quitting is not an option; the Navy must find the recruit as unfit for duty either medically or psychologically and go through a separation process.

Keep in mind that this can result in a harsh separation, such as a bad conduct or dishonorable discharge.

However, most often it results in what’s known as a Entry Level Separation.

Can you fail Navy Boot Camp?

In the unfortunate event that a recruit fails their physical fitness test, swim qualification, or Battle Stations, they will be remediated or set back in training.

Failing a fitness test could place the recruit in a Fitness Improvement Team (FIT) that could potentially set back training by three to four weeks.

How much does Navy Boot Camp pay?

Depending on the recruit’s rank during boot camp, E-1 to E-3, they will be paid their base pay accordingly.

For example, in 2021, an E-1 recruit would earn approximately $1,785 per month with less than four months of service.

InsigniaPay Grade RankAbbreviation2021 Minimum Monthly Pay
N/AE-1Seaman RecruitSR$1,785.00
Is Navy Boot Camp Hard? - Operation Military Kids (8)E-2Seaman ApprenticeSA$2,000.70
Is Navy Boot Camp Hard? - Operation Military Kids (9)E-3SeamanSN$2,103.90
Is Navy Boot Camp Hard? - Operation Military Kids (10)E-4Petty Officer Third ClassPO3$2,330.40
Is Navy Boot Camp Hard? - Operation Military Kids (11)E-5Petty Officer Second ClassPO2$2,541.60
Is Navy Boot Camp Hard? - Operation Military Kids (12)E-6Petty Officer First ClassPO1$2,774.40
Is Navy Boot Camp Hard? - Operation Military Kids (13)E-7Chief Petty OfficerCPO$3,207.60
Is Navy Boot Camp Hard? - Operation Military Kids (14)E-8Senior Chief Petty OfficerSCPO$4,614.60
Is Navy Boot Camp Hard? - Operation Military Kids (15)E-9Master Chief Petty OfficerMCPO$5,637.00
Is Navy Boot Camp Hard? - Operation Military Kids (16)E-9Command Master Chief Petty OfficerCMDCM$5,637.00
Is Navy Boot Camp Hard? - Operation Military Kids (17)E-9Master Chief Petty Officer Of The NavyMCPON$5,637.00

Their military pay record must be established first and that occurs during in-processing days.

If a recruit arrives at RTC before the 10th of the month, they will get paid on the 15th. From that day forward, service members receive pay every 1st and 15th.

Can you bring your phone to Navy Basic Training?

The Navy stores cell phones, electronic devices, and other personal belongings onsite while you’re in Boot Camp.

These items will be returned to you the day before graduation.

Can I smoke or use tobacco / eCigs at Navy Boot Camp?

Similar to the other military branches, smoking or the use of tobacco products are not allowed in boot camp.


To answer the question of whether or not Navy boot camp is hard depends on the physical and mental abilities of the individual.

For example, if you’re suffering from a condition like asthma or flat feet, then some aspects of Navy Boot camp will be difficult.

With that said, if you’re in complete 100% health, then it should be relatively easy.

Personally, this female enjoyed boot camp and every aspect of the training was new and exciting. I anticipated each test by studying incessantly. I made sure to listen and follow orders when instructed.

Overall, if you follow orders, stay motivated and push yourself, then you can achieve any number of obstacles!

See Also

What To Bring To Navy Boot Camp

Navy Boot Camp Graduation Gift Ideas

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Jacqueline P.

Jacqueline is retired from the United States Navy. Born in San Francisco, CA and raised in Las Vegas, NV, she graduated from the University of South Florida with a Major in biological health sciences.

Jacqueline served 5 years as a hospital corpsman in the US Navy, with tours in San Diego, California and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She currently resides in Syracuse, NY, and is studying to become a physicians assistant.

Latest posts by Jacqueline P. (see all)

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Is Navy Boot Camp Hard? - Operation Military Kids (20)

Navy Boot Camp

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Is Navy boot camp difficult? ›

The training is rigorous and demanding. And once you finish, it's something to be proud of. Here's what to expect throughout the 7- to 9-week schedule. There's a good chance that your most stressful week of Basic Training is Processing Week.

What is the failure rate of Navy boot camp? ›

SEAL basic training has earned a grueling reputation, in part because of a notoriously high failure rate. Nearly 70% of enlisted SEALs fail, mostly by hell week. But Naval Academy officers have an 89% success rate, mainly because they go through years of training and evaluation before they arrive.

What is the hardest part of Navy basic training? ›

What is the hardest part of bootcamp? Weeks 8-10 will be the hardest part of training as recruits will have to give everything they have and more to keep pushing forward. At the end of phase three recruits will go through The Crucible, the final event of training that will test them on everything.

Which Bootcamp branch is hardest? ›

U.S. Marines

Of course, when you reach the top, you can find them becoming SEALs or a part of the Marine Raider Regiment (MRR), but the training of any Marine is some of the hardest military training in the world. Even outside of Special Forces, Marines have to be ready for both land and sea combat.

What do you memorize for Navy boot camp? ›

  • Navy Ranks. Memorizing the rank structure before going to Navy boot camp will help you with your confidence in knowing who you are addressing. ...
  • Navy Core Values. Honor. ...
  • 11 General Orders. ...
  • Sailor's Creed. ...
  • Physical Requirements to Join the Navy. ...
  • Read the Bluejacket's Manual. ...
  • Phonetic Alphabet.

What happens if I fail Navy boot camp? ›

Recruits who fail will have 48 hours to retest. If they fail a second time, they will not be able to enlist. “It is the responsibility of each recruit to work hard and maintain all Navy standards,” Capt.

Do you run a lot in Navy boot camp? ›

You will run at least 4 miles on most days, and you may run as many as 10 miles during some runs. This training is designed to prepare you for the first physical screening test, which requires you to run 4 miles in 31 minutes or less.

How fast do you have to run for Navy Bootcamp? ›

The RDC Assessment has a built in 90-second buffer for the run; for example, a 17-19 year old male requirement is 12:15 sec to pass the Official Physical Assessment (OPFA), but with the buffer, they can score 13:45 sec to pass.

Which branch has the easiest basic training? ›

  • The US Air Force is considered the easiest military branch overall. ...
  • The US Army is considered the easiest military branch to get into, Image:
  • Air Force basic training is considered the easiest out of all of the military branches. ...
  • The US Air Force is considered the easiest branch for women.
Feb 22, 2023

Is Navy basic training harder than Air Force? ›

Some argue that because the Navy requires trainees to swim, that the Navy's boot camp is harder while others argue that since the Air Force's basic training is longer, that it can be considered harder. It's a toss-up. It's really up to the individual to decide what training, Navy vs Air Force, is hardest.

How long do you sleep in Navy bootcamp? ›

Sleep During Training

Typically, that five hours is split up into multiple episodes of sleep, usually lasting less than two hours each. U.S. Military Academy cadets sleep fewer than five hours during the week and are woken up several times during the night for training.

What time do Navy recruits go to sleep? ›

In all the branches' basic training programs, bedtime is usually 2100, or 9 p.m., except during times of special events, such as night exercises. In basic training, lights out means go to sleep.

What do Navy recruits eat at boot camp? ›

Most military chow halls today include an extensive salad bar, a station for full meals such as fried chicken, seafood, Mexican food and pastas, along with a snack line that includes hamburgers, hot dogs, chili, fries and other junk-food items. Plus, you're allowed to consume sodas and dessert!

Is it easy to fail bootcamp? ›

Yes, it is possible to fail basic training. You could go through the trouble of leaving your home, job, family and friends and come back a failure. In fact, this happens to about 15% of recruits who join the military every year. Too many recruits I speak to think that it is impossible to fail basic training.

Which military branch is the easiest? ›

At the background clearance check stage, the easiest military branch to join is the Army or Navy. At the ASVAB stage, the easiest military branch to join is the Army or Air Force. At the basic training stage, the easiest military branch to join is the Air Force.

Is it harder to be in the Army or Navy? ›

The maximum you can score on these tests is 99, but there are distinct minimum score thresholds for each military branch. The Army requires at least 31, the Navy 35, the Marine Corps 35, and the Air Force 31. Hence, by this token, the easiest branch of the military to get into is the Army or Air Force.

What is the first week of Navy boot camp like? ›

Week 1: In-Processing

You'll receive complete dental and medical exams, and if you need a haircut, you'll get one. The first week also will be filled with conditioning, swimming, marching, drilling and, most importantly, attending Navy classes.

What do I need to know before going to Navy boot camp? ›

Prepare for Navy Basic Training Well in Advance
  • Know the Sailor's Creed.
  • Understand General Orders.
  • Get a good grasp of ranks.
  • Find a copy of The Bluejacket's Manual to study.
  • Spend quality time with your friends and family.
Mar 18, 2022

How do you physically prepare for Navy boot camp? ›

How to prepare for the Navy boot camp fitness test
  1. Give yourself time. Give yourself enough time to prepare for the test, at least six to eight weeks. ...
  2. Train for the 1.5-mile run. ...
  3. Check your diet. ...
  4. Strive for more than the minimum. ...
  5. Eat lighter day of. ...
  6. Get support. ...
  7. Do your research. ...
  8. Use the Navy app.
Feb 4, 2020

How many people don t make it through Navy bootcamp? ›

The Navy, Army, and Marines have recruits drop out at roughly the same rate as each other, between 11 and 14 percent annually.

How fast do you have to run 1.5 miles in the Navy? ›

Males must complete at least 42 push-ups, and complete the 1.5-mile run in 13.5 minutes or less. Females must complete 17 push-ups and finish the 1.5-mile run in 15.5 minutes or less. As sailors age, the number of required push-ups continues to decreases for each age group.

Can you quit the Navy after boot camp? ›

There is no way to simply quit the military once you are on active duty. You are contractually, and perhaps morally, obligated to see your commitment through. However, you could be discharged from duty early if you are physically or psychologically unable to perform your duties.

How many pushups do you do in Navy boot camp? ›

Push-ups: You must complete at least 50 push-ups in two minutes. Sit-ups: You must complete at least 50 sit-ups in two minutes. Pull-ups: You must complete at least six pull-ups without touching the ground or letting go of the bar. 1.5-mile run: The maximum time allowed is 12 minutes.

Do you have to be strong for boot camp? ›

Boot camp exercises usually involve ballistic, rapid movements that can be too challenging to those who aren't already in shape. But if you have a strong foundation of strength and aerobic training, you're probably ready for boot camp.

What disqualifies you from Navy? ›

If you have been convicted of a felony as an adult or a juvenile for offenses involving violence, domestic violence, illegal drugs, or sexual misconduct, you will be disqualified from serving in the Navy.

Can I join the Navy if I don't know how do you swim? ›

Knowing how to swim is especially important to the United States Navy. It is one of the few military branches that make it mandatory for recruits to complete a Navy Swim Test prior to enlistment. Therefore, swimming is just as important in the U.S. Navy as being able to run a mile or do push-ups.

Is Navy boot camp exactly 8 weeks? ›

Navy boot camp consists of ten weeks of training on the western shore of Lake Michigan.

What is the hardest job to get in the Navy? ›

Navy Special Warfare

Pre-screening, selection and then training to become a Navy SEAL are among the most comprehensive and difficult in the military. The washout rate at the Navy's Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training course is also high.

Which branch gets deployed first? ›

The Marine Corps is often first on the ground in combat situations.

What is the most common job in the Navy? ›

The top three occupations in the U. S. Navy Industry Group are Military, rank not specified, Military enlisted tactical operations & air/weapons specialists & crew members, Firstline enlisted military supervisors, Military officer special & tactical operations leaders, and Aircraft mechanics & service technicians.

What is the hardest part of basic training? ›

Army Basic Training Red Phase

Red phase is the starting phase and is typically considered the hardest part of training. The entire phase, which is 3 weeks long, is devoted to constant calisthenic exercise and you will be spending much of your time in the push-up position.

What branch gets deployed the least? ›

What branch is least likely to deploy? Next to the Coast Guard, Air Force members are among the least likely to see combat. Deployments in the Air Force are not as common as the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, and they are generally shorter in duration.

Which branch is least likely to combat? ›

The Coast Guard is the least likely to see combat, as they are a part of Homeland Security and play a different role in protecting the United States. Every military branch has a different organizational structure. Within that structure, some units and troops focus on training for combat.

Who pays more Navy or Air Force? ›

Conclusion. Which military branch pays the most? The United States Air Force, Navy, Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Space Force are all equal in terms of basic pay. The basic military pay you earn is determined by military rank and years of service.

Which military branch has the least basic training? ›

Air Force basic training is eight weeks, plus one week of in-processing, called zero week. Until recently, Air Force basic training was only six weeks, the shortest basic training of any of the military branches.

What is the shortest military boot camp? ›

USCG Recruit Training, or “forming”, is the shortest of any military branch. All in all, it takes approximately 7.5 weeks to finish Coast Guard boot camp, including in-processing.

How long does Navy boot camp keep you awake? ›

The RDCs (Recruit Division Commander) tell recruits that they won't be sleeping that night. Prepare now to stay awake a full 24-36 hours. As daylight dies and darkness approaches, the division will gather and the RDCs will attempt to prepare recruits' for what will happen throughout the course of the next twelve hours.

What happens in week 4 of Navy boot camp? ›

Week four consists of “hands-on” and classroom training. Recruits learn laws of armed conflict, money management, basic seamanship, shipboard communication, naval policies, and Navy ship and aircraft identification. Recruits begin to learn what is expected as a member of the armed services.

How long is the Navy nap? ›

On the legitimacy of the 8-minute nap, he says “sleeping with your legs elevated can help improve sleep onset and quality as it allows blood to flow more easily throughout the body. This is the sleep science behind the 8-minute Navy Seal nap, but that's not the only thing that makes this nap potentially effective.”

What to expect at Navy basic training? ›

You'll take your first academic test during this week. Then comes the confidence course, where you will work with a team to simulate a shipboard emergency. Together, you'll pass through small passages in full gear, toss life rings and put on firefighting equipment. Now your hands-on training takes center stage.

How do you fall asleep in the Navy? ›

The military method
  1. Relax your entire face, including the muscles inside your mouth.
  2. Drop your shoulders to release the tension and let your hands drop to the side of your body.
  3. Exhale, relaxing your chest.
  4. Relax your legs, thighs, and calves.
  5. Clear your mind for 10 seconds by imagining a relaxing scene.

What happens during P days in the Navy? ›

During P-days, recruits will be taught the basics of watch standing, given information to memorize, and will learn to organize your gear and life. P Days conclude with a commissioning ceremony in which the recruit's division receives its guidon (divisional flag displaying division number).

How long do you sleep in Navy boot camp? ›

Sleep During Training

Typically, that five hours is split up into multiple episodes of sleep, usually lasting less than two hours each. U.S. Military Academy cadets sleep fewer than five hours during the week and are woken up several times during the night for training.

Is there a lot of running in Navy boot camp? ›

You will run at least 4 miles on most days, and you may run as many as 10 miles during some runs. This training is designed to prepare you for the first physical screening test, which requires you to run 4 miles in 31 minutes or less.

Is it hard being in the Navy? ›

That means that long hours and hard work come with the job. This could mean 12+ hour shifts, being on-call all of the time, or spending months at sea. Anyone joining the Navy should expect to put in long hours, especially as they train to learn new skills and when on deployments.


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