Course spotlight: Duke of Edinburgh’s Award offshore expedition

Sea Cadets offers the unique opportunity of achieving your Gold DofE with an offshore voyage. Mark Middleton, Deputy Head Offshore Training, tells us more

Cadets on board one of our yachts

How is the yachting element of the expedition different?  

Previously, offshore voyages could only be used to fulfil the ‘residential’ requirements for the Gold DofE Award, or as evidence to add to your DofE log. Using our yachts as a base for running an expedition is a new concept for us. Providing DofE expeditions within Sea Cadets can be challenging for units or areas. So by offering designated voyages for completing an offshore expedition, it will really help some cadets to achieve their Gold Award. 

What does it involve?

Cadets will be responsible for the daily operations of the yachts, so they need to be able to navigate a vessel safely and at the level of RYA Day Skipper Theory. The expedition voyage is split into two phases. The practice phase gets the cadets working together, safely manoeuvring from one port to the next, while planning the expedition – which includes all those things which will be needed by the crew (rations, watch routines, port bookings, weather checks and passage plans). In the second phase, cadets carry out the expedition – running a voyage to achieve an agreed aim, while allowing all cadets to take part. Staff take a step back and are only onboard for safety and assessment. 

A two-week expedition at sea is challenging but rewarding

Why should cadets do it? 

I feel that all cadets should aspire to the DofE Awards. It is a great achievement, recognised by universities and employers. With an offshore DofE expedition, you will have a very different experience than on a usual week offshore, or on a land-based expedition. A two-week voyage is physically demanding, but has advantages for those who might not be physically able to access wild areas or carry a big rucksack. Ultimately the voyage should be fun, enjoyable and memorable – everything that Sea Cadets aims to deliver! 

Where can cadets find out more? 

The 2024 sailing programme will be released soon on the Sea Cadets Portal and the T&A. If you are interested in completing your Gold DofE offshore, discuss it with your Training Officer or DofE lead, so you can complete the pre-requisites for the 2024 expeditions. 

What are cadets saying about their offshore DofE expedition?

POC Philippa:
“I am passionate about navigation, so having the opportunity to be in charge of the yacht gave me a lot of confidence, and being trusted to plan the routes and passages really boosted my self-esteem. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to gain this career-enhancing qualification.”

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