The United States Coast Guard Academy's Swab Summer is a seven-week initiation through which all Cadets are required to pass. It is the Academy's boot camp. Swab Summer is a unique nickname for the program at the Coast Guard comparable to Cadet Basic Training (Beast Barracks) at the United States Military Academy and Plebe Summer at the United States Naval Academy.
The program is intended to emphasize the principles of fellowship, teamwork, seamanship and military life. It also introduces Cadets to the Coast Guard core values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty. During the summer, Swabs are both physically and mentally tested. They will run obstacle courses, complete ropes course challenges, and of course do numerous pushups. However, Swabs will also have to be able to learn indoctrination and Coast Guard History extremely quickly, all under the watchful eye of their cadre. Swab Summer is run by 2nd class Cadets (Cadets entering their Junior year) who themselves had just experienced Swab Summer two years prior. These cadre are personally trained on how to lead a boot camp by the Cape May Company Commanders (The men and women who run Coast Guard Enlisted Boot Camp), and are tested themselves during the 100 Week Program to see if they are ready to train the incoming Swabs. At the end of the six weeks, Cadets also spend a week sailing aboard the Academy's cutter USCGC Eagle, the only tall ship in America's active forces.
- United States Coast Guard. The United States Coast Guard Academy Viewbook. New London, CT (2006)
One important aspect of Swab Summer is the PEP program. PEP stands for Personal Enhancement Platoon and any swab that is not performing up to the standard, with significant documentation provided by Cadre members will make a recommendation to their respective company officer to send the individual to PEP. Any swab that is determined worthy of going to PEP will have a Cadre member assigned to the swab from another company. The Cadre member who is assigned to the PEP swab will be informed of the individual's personal problems and areas of focus. The focus of PEP has evolved through the years and now has a specific rifle-based physical demand regimen the PEP Cadre is charged with administering. The PEP Cadre should break the swab down and slowly build them back up throughout the duration of PEP. PEP is held every Wednesday and Saturday during swab Summer and any swab that goes through PEP twice, and shows little or no improvement, is recommended to not only be placed on Suitability for Service, but must also meet with their company officer and chief. The focus of the meeting is to inform the swab that unless they show signs of improvement that they will be recommended for disenrollment. PEP is usually a life changing experience and gives individual swabs the motivation that they previously lacked to get through Swab Summer.