South African Sea Cadets

By | October 23, 2017

South African Sea Cadets

The motto “Honour and Skill” of the South African Sea Cadets is proudly displayed under their badge. These words embody the core values of the corps which are Integrity, Excellence and Service and are instilled in the Sea Cadets via their training and interaction with competent instructors. These three words embody the cardinal points of a Sea Cadet’s Compass of Life and include: honesty, morality, loyalty, responsibility, discipline, accountability, self-respect and obedience.


The Sea Cadets also teach the necessary knowledge and provides practical skills underwritten by accredited courses necessary for those who wish to follow a career at sea within the maritime industry.

The Sea Cadet in South Africa movement traces its origins back to the first South African Training Ship (TS) located on Woodstock beach Cape Town. TS Woltemade was opened on 08 June 1905. The movement spread throughout South Africa and currently there are 15 Training Ships; 9 are active and developing those values and skills required to ensure that the maritime industry is provided with recruits who have a passion for the sea.

The Sea Cadets are led and managed by experienced officers. Left to right: Cdr (SCC) Philip Miller (Area Officer Western Cape/Chief Executive Officer/ ex Commanding Officer TS Woltemade), SLt (SCC) Michael March (ex Commanding Officer TS Woltemade), Capt (SCC) Rupert Toms (ex Senior Officer Sea Cadets), Capt (SAN) Peter Smith (ex Officer Commanding TS Woltemade)

Who are the Sea Cadets?

Sea Cadets are school-going boys and girls from Grade 6 to Grade 12 who enjoy having “Serious Fun” whilst learning leadership, self-discipline and maritime-orientated skills as a voluntary extra-mural activity. Any youngster irrespective of race, gender, or religion is welcome.

Where and when does the training take place?

The land-based Training Ships located around the country provide a safe space with competent instructors at which training can take place. Training takes place on Fridays or Saturdays or Sundays depending on the training ship involved, with leadership camps scheduled during the school holidays. The highlight of the year is the annual camp hosted by the SA Navy in Simon’s Town.

What is the Training Philosophy of the Sea Cadets?

“Action Centred Learning” allied to a practical “Outcome Based Competency Assessment” is the approach which the Instructors follow. This ensures that Sea Cadets are able not only skilled to “Do” but also to know “Why” they do it and how to “Use” available resources.

Sea Cadets from TS Woltemade smartly turned out on their parade ground

Sea Cadets from TS Woltemade march past proudly displaying their Colour

Sea Cadets undergoing practical seamanship training by making eye and back splices

Sea Cadets undergoing survival at sea training whilst on an annual year-end camp at the SA Navy’s Seamanship School at SAS SIMONSBERG

What do Sea Cadets learn?

Sea Cadets are taught and assessed on practical skills including:

  • Seamanship
  • Communications
  • Engineering
  • Catering
  • First Aid
  • Survival at sea
  • Fire Fighting
  • Restricted Maritime Radio
  • Welding

Several of the courses are certified and accredited via national bodies providing the Sea Cadets with the necessary certification towards their chosen career.

Whilst undergoing the training they also develop their leadership, team building and self-discipline under the watchful eye of experienced Instructors.

Who provides the training?

Each Training Ship is staffed by competent volunteers, many of whom are themselves ex Sea Cadets or parents of Cadets, and others who have followed careers within the maritime industry, South African Navy or have the skills that are needed to be imparted practically.

Sea Cadets from TS Woltemade rigging a dingy to sail on the vlei

Sea Cadets practicing “pulling” which forges teamwork

Who supports the Sea Cadets?

The South African Sea Cadet Association is a:

  • Non-Profit Company (Company Registration Number: 2025/026649/08)
  • Non-Profit Organisation (057-289-NPO)
  • Public Benefit Organisation [including Section 18A status] (9753846147/930039234)

It is staffed by volunteers who have a passion for things nautical. They are supported by local communities, parents, the maritime industry, LOTTO and the SA Navy.

Opportunities are also provided by the maritime industry and SA Navy for Sea Cadets to experience life at sea.

Chief Petty Officer Visagie, South African Naval Reserve, assists a Sea Cadet from TS Woltemade with his ropework

Sea Cadets from TS Woltemade demonstrate their silent precision drill at the annual Cape Town Tatoo

CPO Visagie from the South African Naval Reserve gives Sea Cadet Quartermaster and radio procedure instruction

Sea Cadets rebuild a boat under the watchful eyes of their adult instructors

Funding is raised via the Sea Cadets annual fees and camp fees as well as via bequeaths pledges and donations. Funding is required in order to support Sea Cadets whose families may not be in a position to fully fund their activities.

Should you wish to contribute either funding or materially to the South Africa Sea Cadets please contact the National Treasurer, Mr Deon Lincoln on
082 821 9361 or or P.O. Box 7681, Newton Park, Port Elizabeth, 6055.

Leading Seaman Tony De Beer, South African Naval Reserve, instructs Sea Cadets on the workings of an outboard engine

Sea Cadets close up their field gun for action

Professional Chef and ex-seafarer Keith Arendse in the Galley with some Sea Cadet trainee chefs

Sea Cadets from TS Woltemade proudly display their STCW95 Fire Fighting certificates

Anyone wishing to join or assist in Sea Cadet training should contact the Commanding Officer of the Unit within their area for more details.

Training Ship Location Founded
TS Woltemade Cape Town 1905
TS Immortelle Johannesburg 1916
TS Springs Springs 1916
TS Tiburon Durban 1916
TS iNyathi  East London 1922
TS Lanherne  Port Elizabeth 1935
TS Bounty Vereeniging 1949
TS Arethusa Hartebeespoort Dam 1955
TS Quteniqua Mossel Bay 1985
TS Fearless Centurion 1987
TS Knysna Knysna 1989
TS Prince Alfred Port Alfred 1993
TS iNkwazi Richards Bay 1994
TS Eagle George 1997
TS Kromme St Francis Bay 2002
Senior Officer Sea Cadets

United Kingdom Sea Cadet of the year (2nd from right) visits TS Woltemade

TS Woltemade display stall at the annual World Maritime Day conference

Ship’s Company of TS Woltemade – December2014

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