Whitstable Sea Cadets, Training Ship Vigilant

Whitstable Sea Cadets are a youth charity offering children opportunities outside of school with a nautical theme.


CommunityAd Exclusive - Whitstable Sea Cadets, Training Ship VigilantWe were formed in the Crimean War in 1854. Orphans sleeping on the backstreets of England’s sea port towns banded together to provide places for sailors to pass on nautical skills to young people to prepare them for future. The first Naval lads brigade (as it was known) was formed right here in Whitstable, based around a drum and fife band.

Fast forward 169 years and we are still here, although not in our original building. Now known as the Sea Cadets, we are a charity paired with the Marine Society. 400 units are spread across the UK including the Channel Islands and Malta. Our headquarters are in Lambeth, London.

True to our roots we provide opportunities and training to young people to create model citizens and provide life skill outside of school, obviously with a nautical twist. Some famous ex-cadets include Sean Connery, Paul O’Grady and historian Dan Snow.

We cater for two age groups of young person, 10-12 is our junior section and 12-18 is our senior cadet section. The activities that we can offer are primarily water born. These are rowing, sailing and powerboating. We also have the availably for cadets to go on a residential trip on-board two power driven vessels training ships, John Jerwood and Jack Petchy. They can also crew the tall sailing ship TS Royalist or the Sailing Yachts.

Other activities available are seamanship, rope work skills, communications, nautical navigation, marine engineering, cooking and stewarding. There is also outdoor adventure training and opportunities to play in the band. Vocational qualifications can be achieved, for example the Duke of Edinburgh award and BTECs. Training and activities can be done on the Monday or Wednesday evenings or over weekend at various establishments all over the country.

Cadets are issued two uniforms, the very same as the Royal Navy wear. Though we must stress here that we’re not a recruiting agency for the Royal Navy, but we support the maritime industry via the Marine Society.

Not only are young people welcome but adult volunteers are also welcome, whether it’s a uniformed instructor, unit assistant or on the management committee. Sea Cadets provides volunteers the training required to get involved in the charity and can offer professionally recognised qualifications. You don’t have to be ex-armed forces or an ex-cadet, volunteers are from all walks of life which provides excellent knowledge for young people.

The morning of 15th October was East Kent Sea Cadet’s annual Trafalgar Day parade. A tradition inherited from the Royal Navy remembering the Battle of Trafalgar. It was held in Whitstable, starting at the Harbour and processing to St Alphege Church.


Whitstable Sea Cadet unit is located along Island Wall, next to Bonners Alley, meeting on a Monday and Wednesday evening from 7pm till 9pm. Find out more about us on our Facebook page @TSVigilant.

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