April, 12

Spanish Naval Military Academies: A Guide for Aspiring Sailors

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Speaking of the Spanish Naval Military Academies, it is important to note that Spain has a rich and proud naval history, dating back to the Age of Exploration and the Spanish Armada. The Spanish Navy has played a vital role in defending the nation’s interests and sovereignty and participating in international missions and humanitarian operations. To train the future officers of the Spanish Navy, two prestigious institutions offer rigorous and comprehensive education: the Marín Naval Academy and the Marín Submarine Academy. This blog post will explore these two academies and learn about their history, training, facilities, admission process, and career opportunities. Here is a table of contents to guide your reading:

The Spanish Naval Military Academies

There are two major Naval Military Academies in Spain today. Here is an overview of each of them and their official links and links to read more about them.

1. Marín Naval Academy (Marín) – Navy

The Marín Naval Academy (Spanish: Escuela Naval Militar, ENM) is Spain’s oldest and most renowned naval academy. It is located in the town of Marín, Pontevedra, in north-western Spain, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.


The academy was established in 1717 as the Royal Company of Maritime Guards (Spanish: Real Compañía de Guardias Marinas) in Cádiz by José Patiño, a prominent naval minister. The academy aimed to provide a scientific and practical education for the naval officers previously trained by the Jesuits. The academy moved to San Fernando in 1769 and then to its present location in Marín in 1943. Throughout its history, the academy has produced many distinguished naval officers, such as Jorge Juan, Blas de Lezo, Cosme Damián Churruca, and Miguel Grau.


The academy offers a five-year training program that combines academic, military, and leadership development. The academic curriculum covers mathematics, physics, engineering, navigation, maritime law, and languages. The military training includes physical fitness, weapons handling, survival skills, and naval tactics. Leadership development focuses on instilling the values of honor, courage, discipline, and loyalty and fostering teamwork and communication skills. The academy also provides opportunities for practical training on board ships, simulators, and naval bases.


The academy has a modern and well-equipped infrastructure that supports the training and welfare of the cadets. The academy has a library, a museum, a chapel, a sports complex, a medical center, and a cafeteria. The academy also has several unique facilities, such as a planetarium, a hydrographic laboratory, a wind tunnel, and a naval engineering workshop. The academy owns several ships, such as the Juan Sebastián de Elcano, a four-masted schooner serving as a training ship, and the Galatea, a former royal yacht now a museum ship.

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Admission process

The admission process for the academy is highly competitive and selective. The applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a Spanish citizen
  • Be between 18 and 22 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Pass a physical and medical examination
  • Pass a psychological and aptitude test
  • Pass an English language test
  • Pass a personal interview

The applicants must also submit their academic transcripts, a curriculum vitae, and a motivation letter. The admission process takes place once a year, usually between May and July. The number of places available varies depending on the needs of the Navy, but it is usually around 100.

Career Opportunities

The academy graduates are commissioned as ensigns (Spanish: alféreces de navío) in the Spanish Navy. They can choose to specialize in one of the following branches: surface warfare, submarine warfare, naval aviation, marine infantry, or naval engineering. The graduates can also pursue further studies or research at the Naval Postgraduate School or the Naval War College. The graduates can expect to have a rewarding and challenging career in the Navy, serving on board ships, submarines, aircraft, or marine units and in staff or command positions.

2. Marín Submarine Academy (Marín) – Submarine

The Marín Submarine Academy (Spanish: Escuela de Submarinos, ESUB) is a specialized academy that trains the officers and sailors of the Spanish Submarine Force. It is located on the same campus as the Marín Naval Academy but has its facilities and staff.


The Submarine Academy is the only institution in Spain that offers a submarine-focused training program. The academy is also one of the few in the world that trains both officers and sailors in the same place. The academy aims to provide a high-quality and intensive education that prepares the submariners for their profession’s demanding and secretive nature.


The academy focuses on teaching the specific skills and knowledge required for operating and maintaining submarines. The curriculum covers submarine design, propulsion, weapons, sensors, communications, navigation, and warfare. The academy also emphasizes the development of physical and mental endurance and the ability to cope with stress, isolation, and emergencies. The academy uses theoretical and practical training methods, such as lectures, exercises, drills, and simulations. The academy also conducts training sessions on board real submarines, such as the S-80 class, the newest and most advanced submarines in the Spanish Navy.

Challenges and rewards

A career in submarine warfare is not for everyone. It requires a high level of dedication, discipline, and professionalism. The submariners must endure long periods submerged under water, in cramped and noisy conditions, with limited contact with the outside world. The submariners also have to face the constant threat of enemy detection, attack, or malfunction. However, a career in submarine warfare also offers many rewards. The submariners are part of an elite, close-knit community with strong camaraderie and pride. The submariners also have the opportunity to operate some of the world’s most sophisticated and powerful machines and participate in strategic and covert missions vital to Spain’s national security and interests.

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Selection process

The selection process for the Submarine Academy is more rigorous and demanding than the one for the Naval Academy. The applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a graduate of the Marín Naval Academy or have a degree in engineering or science
  • Be under 30 years old
  • Have a high level of physical and mental fitness
  • Pass a submarine aptitude test
  • Pass a submarine medical examination
  • Pass a submarine psychological evaluation
  • Pass a submarine interview

The selection process occurs twice a year, usually in January and July. The number of places available depends on the vacancies in the Submarine Force, but it is usually very limited. The applicants who pass the selection process are admitted to the Submarine Academy, where they undergo a one-year training program.

Comparison and Contrast

The Marín Naval Academy and the Marín Submarine Academy are both prestigious and respected institutions that train the officers of the Spanish Navy. However, they also have significant differences in their training programs, facilities, and career paths. Here are some of the main points of comparison and contrast between the two academies:

  • The Naval Academy offers a general and comprehensive training program that covers all aspects of naval warfare, while the Submarine Academy offers a specialized and intensive training program that focuses on submarine warfare.
  • The Naval Academy has a larger and more diverse student body, with around 500 cadets from different branches and backgrounds, while the Submarine Academy has a smaller and more homogeneous student body, with around 50 students from the Submarine Force.
  • The Naval Academy has a longer and more flexible training program, lasting five years and allowing the cadets to choose their specialization in the last year, while the Submarine Academy has a shorter and more rigid training program, lasting one year and requiring the students to commit to the Submarine Force from the start.
  • The Naval Academy has a wider and more varied range of facilities, including ships, simulators, and laboratories, while the Submarine Academy has a more specific and limited range of facilities, mainly consisting of submarine simulators and submarines.
  • The Naval Academy graduates have more options and opportunities for their career paths, as they can serve in different branches and units of the Navy, as well as pursue further studies or research, while the Submarine Academy graduates have more restricted and committed career paths, as they have to serve in the Submarine Force for at least 10 years, and have fewer chances to continue their education or switch to other fields.

Two Paths, One Goal: Serving Spain at Sea

Spain’s proud naval tradition is upheld by two premier institutions: the Marín Naval Academy and the Marín Submarine Academy. Despite their differences in focus and training, both academies share the noble objective of nurturing exceptional leaders. These leaders are destined to safeguard the strength and security of the Spanish Navy, ensuring it remains formidable and resilient in the face of maritime challenges.

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Marín Naval Academy: Charting the Course on the Surface

The Marín Naval Academy is renowned for its comprehensive program that prepares cadets for command roles on surface vessels. Here, students undergo rigorous training that sharpens their nautical skills and enhances their leadership and strategic thinking abilities. The curriculum is designed to equip future officers with the knowledge and expertise required to navigate the complexities of the modern naval environment. Graduates from the academy step into the world as highly skilled, adaptable, and dedicated officers, ready to lead their crews with honor and distinction.

Marín Submarine Academy: Exploring the Depths

On the other hand, the Marín Submarine Academy offers a unique and specialized path for those captivated by the mysteries of the deep sea. This academy focuses on the intricacies of submarine operations, providing an in-depth education on underwater warfare and tactics. Cadets learn to master the art of stealth, precision, and endurance, essential qualities for the challenging life beneath the waves. The training at the Marín Submarine Academy molds individuals into experts of the submarine domain, prepared to protect Spain’s interests in the most secretive and strategic manners.

A Career of Adventure and Leadership at Sea

For those aspiring to a career in the Spanish Navy, both academies present a unique opportunity to pursue a path that best matches their aspirations and strengths. Whether it’s leading the charge on the open ocean or conducting covert operations underwater, cadets are promised a challenging yet rewarding journey. This journey offers a life of service to the nation and an adventurous career filled with leadership opportunities. Graduates emerge as well-rounded officers equipped with the skills and determination to face the ever-evolving challenges of the maritime world.

Choosing between the Marín Naval Academy and the Marín Submarine Academy depends on one’s interests and career goals. Regardless of the choice, both paths lead to a fulfilling life dedicated to service, adventure, and leadership at sea, all in the name of protecting and serving Spain.


The Spanish Naval Military Academies are two of the country’s most prestigious and respected institutions. They provide a rigorous and comprehensive education for the future officers of the Spanish Navy, who will serve and protect the nation’s interests and sovereignty. The Marín Naval Academy and the Marín Submarine Academy have different histories, training programs, facilities, admission processes, and career opportunities, but they share the same values and goals: to produce competent, professional, and honorable naval officers.

To learn more about these academies, visit their official websites: Marín Naval Academy and Marín Submarine Academy. If you are passionate about the sea and want to pursue a naval career, you can apply to these academies and join the elite and proud community of the Spanish Navy.

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