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2011 Career Sea Pay

Enlisted Sailors and Marines

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Updated January 17, 2011

Sailors and Marines performing duty at sea are entitled to a special monthly pay, known as "Career Sea Pay."

Military Sea Pay hasn't changed in several years. It last changed for Navy and Marine Corps personnel in 2001, Army soldiers in 2002, and Air Force folks in 1988.

Sea duty, for the purpose of entitlement to career sea pay, is service performed by a member under orders issued by competent authority:

    (1) While permanently assigned for duty to a ship, ship-based staff, or ship-based aviation unit and serving in a ship whose primary mission is accomplished underway. If the member is temporarily assigned to duties ashore, sea duty continues for the first 30 consecutive days from the beginning of the temporary duty. In other words, if a member is permanently assigned to a ship, but performs duty ashore for 60 days, the first 30 of those days would still count as sea duty, for the purposes of receiving sea duty pay.

    (2) While temporarily assigned for duty to a vessel, ship-based staff, or ship-based aviation unit and serving on a ship whose primary mission is accomplished underway.

    (3) While permanently or temporarily assigned for duty to a vessel or ship-based staff and serving on a ship with a primary mission accomplished in port, but only during that period while the ship is away from its home port. A ship is considered away from its home port whenever it is at sea, or in a port located more than 50 miles away from the home port.

    (4) While serving as a member of the off crew of a two-crewed submarine.

In addition to the amounts shown in the chart below, personnel in the paygrades of E-4 through E-9 receive a separate payment of $100 per month, known as Premium Career Sea Pay anytime they have been serving at sea for longer than 36 consequtive months.

Prior to this reform (which was made in 2001), E-4 through E-9 personnel did not receive Premium Career Sea Pay as a separate payment, because the amount was already included in the Career Sea Pay Chart. This has now changed, and Premium Career Sea Pay is a separate payment.

However, E-5 through E-9 personnel with more than 8 years of sea duty do not receive Premium Career Sea Pay as a separate payment, because the amount (the extra $100 per month) is already embedded in the chart shown below.

Sea Pay is subject to state and federal income taxes, unless earned in a desigated tax-free combat zone.

For detailed information about Career Sea Pay, see Department of Defense (DOD) Pay Regulation, Volume 7A (Active Duty & Reserve Pay), Chapter 18 -- Special Pay - Sea Duty.

Enlisted Sailors and Marines

Paygrade Years of Sea Duty
<1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 18+
E-9 135 135 160 305 320 350 350 375 490 500 500 510 520 550 575 620 620
E-8 135 135 160 305 320 350 350 375 490 500 500 510 520 550 575 600 620
E-7 135 135 160 305 320 350 350 375 490 500 500 510 520 550 575 600 600
E-6 135 135 160 280 300 315 325 350 450 465 465 465 480 495 510 525 550
E-5 70 80 160 280 300 315 325 350 450 450 450 450 450 450 450 450 450
E-4 70 80 160 280 290 290 290 290 390 390 390 390 390 390 390 390 390
E-3 50 60 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
E-2 50 60 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75
E-1 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50

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