The Naval Academy's fleet of Yard Patrol Craft (YP's) is used to provide Midshipmen with hands-on training in seamanship, navigation, naval tactics, communications, naval phraseology and standard procedures. The training provided onboard the YPs is an initial step towards achievement of the Officer of the Deck Qualification and ultimately, Command at Sea upon arrival in the Fleet.
Right now the YP Squadron consists of four different crews or "Pennants". Each Pennant has a staff of Midshipmen assigned to it, these Midshipmen are responsible for conducting the operations of the Squadron onboard their respective craft. The staff of a Pennant generally consists of the following:
- Commanding Officer - The Commanding Officer is the most experienced Midshipman aboard a YP and is the Midshipman overall responsible for the safety and conduct of the crew and vessel that they are in charge of. The Commanding Officer has demonstrated they are highly proficient not only in the arts of Seamanship and Navigation, but that they are capable of leading, training, and motivating their crew. Commanding Officers are also entitled to wear a Gold Star on the left side of all uniforms to signify their achievement.
- Executive Officer - The Executive Officer assists the Commanding Officer in executing the operations of the Squadron. The Executive Officer is an experienced Midshipman and is essential to the smooth operation of a particular Pennant. Executive Officers are also those Midshipmen that have shown great promise in eventually becoming Commanding Officers.
- Navigator - The Navigator advises the Commanding and executive Officers on all matters pertaining to the safe and efficient voyage of the crew. They are primarily responsible for the preparation of all charts and the execution of the accurate and precise navigation of the craft.
- Safety Officer - The Safety Officer is a technically experienced midshipman capable of standing OOD and moderating the watch team on the bridge of the YP. The safety officer is an assistant to the Commanding Officer and Executive Officer.