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NOAA Corps


Officer Candidate Requirements

The following personal gear should be brought with you when reporting to the Basic Officer Training Class (BOTC).

All Officer Candidates

  • 2 white towels, 2 white washcloths
  • Shower shoes flip flops; (black or navy blue)
  • Running shoes in any color, properly fitted
  • Solid black cross-trainers (all black sneakers; these are in addition to running shoes and are not optional)
  • 6 pairs white athletic socks (ankle, mid, or full)
  • 6 pairs of black boot socks
  • 6 pairs of black dress socks
  • 6 white crew-neck undershirts (male); v-neck for female
  • 6 pairs conservative underwear (preferably white or flesh-colored)
  • 1 dark blue swimsuit (conservative in nature, trunks for males, competition style 1-piece for females)
  • Bathrobe (white and conservative in nature) – length must reach below knees
  • 2 standard sized locks (key, lock, or combination)
  • Folding pocket knife (sheath/fixed blade knives are not permitted; belt holster recommended)
  • Small flashlight with red lens
  • White Plastic Hangers (10-12)

Females Only

  • 6 bras (white or flesh tone)
  • Hair pins/barrettes/elastic bands (plain, black, dark blue, brown or similar to your hair color only)

Optional Items to Bring to BOTC

  • Wristwatch, conservative (blue or black)
  • Small clock/radio
  • Miscellaneous toiletries
  • Vitamins & supplements
  • One 8" X 10" inch frame (or smaller) for pictures
  • Personal medications (all medication will be checked in at the CGA clinic)
  • Camera/camcorder
  • Thermal underwear
  • Swim googles
  • Civilian attire*

*Civilian clothing will not be permitted during the junior phase of the program. Storage space is limited, do not bring more than one small suit case of civilian clothing. Appearance counts; you will not be allowed to depart if your attire does not meet the spirit of our professional standards.

U.S. Coast Guard Academy Book Store Items required for All Officer Candidates 

  • 5 subject notebook (2)
  • Small memo pad
  • 10 pack pens (1 blue/1 black)
  • Ruler
  • Masking tape
  • Sewing kit
  • Reflective belt
  • Cotton balls
  • Black shoe polish
  • Laundry bag
  • Laundry soap
  • NOAA gym bag
  • Blister Kit
  • Foul weather parka
  • Foul weather parka liner
  • Black sharpie
  • Canteen

There is a one-time OCS laundry facility usage charge of $98.00. This charge covers the cost of laundry facilities and maintenance. This will be paid on the first day during check in. The approximate total at the Bookstore will be $650.00 and can be paid with cash, Visa, or MasterCard. 

Personal Appearance

Proper business attire is appropriate when reporting to BOTC In-processing. A suit or sport coat, tie, and slacks for men, and comparable business attire for women is appropriate. Bring sufficient business attire for two days of administration processing at the hotel and check-in day at the United States Coast Guard Academy for BOTC.

The prescribed uniform of the day will be worn at all times once issued. When on liberty or leave, appropriated civilian attire for officers may be worn once authorized.

Hair must be kept neat, clean, trimmed, and groomed at all times. Extreme, faddish, or multicolored hairstyles are not acceptable.

Hair on males must be tapered to a close trim around the ears and neck. Hair may not touch the ears or collar, or extend below the eyebrows when uniform headgear is removed. Sideburns may not exceed below the earlobes or be flared or extreme in style. Fully developed, neatly trimmed mustaches are permitted, provided they do not curl upwards at the ends or extend below the lower lip. Beards are not permitted. New officers will be directed to obtain a haircut at the academy barber shop if their hair does not meet with NOAA Corps grooming standards.

Hair on females must be styled or arranged so that it does not fall below the lower edge of the collar when in uniform and permits the proper wearing of uniform headgear.

Females may wear earrings, but not more than one earring per ear. Prescribed, 6mm gold colored balls are available for wear with uniforms. One necklace may be worn, but it may not be visible. One wristwatch and/or one bracelet may be worn. Ankle bracelets are not authorized. NOAA Corps Uniform Directives Chapter 12, Part 2, do not permit men to wear earrings or other body piercings.

There will be occasions when special articles of clothing for non-classroom activities (small boat and waterfront activities, athletic activities, pool sessions, etc.) will be required. See personal gear for the list of what is required and recommended. If you already have the required and recommended gear, bring it; if not, it can be purchased locally. 

Financial Information

You can expect to spend approximately $3600.00 at BOTC on uniforms and supplies. The following list does not include personal items or costs associated with liberty (which may be granted in the later part of the program). Plan accordingly to cover miscellaneous expenses and meals while traveling. ATM's are available at the Academy. Visa and MasterCard are accepted at the Exchange, Book Store and Uniform Shop. Your pay will be directly deposited into your checking or savings account by electronic funds transfer. Be sure to bring a voided personal check or your bank account information, to include your banking institution's ABA Routing Number, which will be required to sign up for Direct Deposit. Please note that you may not receive pay until week four due to paperwork processing time.

Your uniform costs will be approximately $2000.00. This amount must be paid in full at the time of purchase. This is only an estimate for planning purposes. You will also be required to pay a one-time fee of $98.00 for laundry facilities at the Academy.

Uniform Purchase Requirements: Miscellaneous
SEABAG 1 $22.20 $22.20
Uniform Purchase Requirements: Outerwear
JACKET, BLACK 1 $89.00 $89.00
ALL WEATHER COAT 1 $79.85 $79.85
WATCH CAP 1 $3.60 $3.60
BLACK GLOVES 1 $17.70 $17.70
WHITE GLOVES 1 $4.25 $4.25
Uniform Purchase Requirements: Footwear
SHOES, WHITE DRESS 1 $80.00 $80.00
SUPERBOOT II 1 $104.55 $104.55
Uniform Purchase Requirements: Insignia & Accoutrement
Uniform Purchase Requirements: Total Price
$1860.44 $1888.90

Meals at the Academy will be paid for biweekly. Meals will cost $11.85 per day, and will be paid to the Class Yeoman. Much of this cost is defrayed by your Basic Allowance for Subsistence.

After your first pay day, you will donate $300.00 to the Class Morale and Support Fund to pay for various class specific morale items and events.

Administrative Processes

There are a number of administrative processes that must be completed soon after your arrival. Please bring the following documents and information with you to BOTC:

  • NOAA travel authorization
  • Original or certified (notarized) copy of your Birth Certificate. If not born in the United States, original Certificate of Citizenship or original Certificate of Naturalization
  • Current or most recently issued United States passport
  • Current driver's License
  • Original Social Security Card (not laminated)
  • Two passport-size photographs (with uniform regulation grooming represented)
  • Checkbook or credit card
  • Original vaccination record (You will be vaccinated against a variety of diseases soon after your arrival if you cannot prove currency of immunization protection.)
  • Current life insurance policy information (company name, company address, and policy number)
  • Checking account information (account number and routing code)


Be sure to bring all documentation related to your NOAA Corps commissioning with you to New London.

If you want to preview some of the subjects of study or wish to give yourself a head start, you can review the following literature. Do not purchase these books if you do not already own them; they will be provided for you during training. The following books can be obtained through your local library if you wish to check them out.

  • American Practical Navigator (Bowditch), Volume I, Defense Mapping Agency/Topographic Center
  • Navigation Rules - International-Inland*, (USCG), COMDTINST M166672.2B, August 1990
  • Farwell's Rules of the Nautical Road*, Naval Institute Press
  • Knight's Modern Seamanship, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company
  • American Merchant Seaman's Manual, Cornell Maritime Press

*Use only 1999 (or newer) editions of Navigation Rules (72 COLREGS) and Farwell's Rules of the Nautical Road. Other texts by a variety of authors are available.

As you review these references do not attempt to memorize or learn the material contained therein, as much of what is presented is not part of the NOAA BOTC program, but all is useful to the maritime profession. Focus your effort on becoming familiar with the language, terms, and concepts.

Physical Preparation

BOTC will physically and mentally challenge your body and your mind. It is military boot camp style training, and will mirror the USCG Officer Candidate School program in order to make you the best officer you can be.

In order to prepare you for the physical requirements, some general fitness conditioning workouts are available in the Physical Fitness Test Standards

These are guidelines only in order to help you physically prepare should you be selected for a commission in the NOAA Corps.

Remember: be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

We look forward to meeting you and for the opportunity to start you on a challenging and rewarding career. If you have any questions regarding the 19-week BOTC program, please contact NOAA Corps Recruiting at 800-299-6622 

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Reviewed: February 3, 2020. Contact us with page issues.

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