NAVY SEAL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The bulk of the content in this FAQ comes from our readers: you. Submissions sent to us over three years via Email, phone, fax, and even the U.S. mail are sifted by the Scout Team to find the most, you guessed it, frequently asked questions. The best and most common find their way here.
Do you encourage participation in commercial Navy SEAL training camps? Naval Special Warfare is aware that there are SEAL training camps available in the commercial sector, some of which promote themselves as beneficial for candidates who are preparing for SEAL training. While there are many different ways to prepare physically and mentally for the rigors of training, there is no affiliation between Naval Special Warfare and any of the SEAL training camps or SEAL preparation programs available commercially. None of these commercial programs are pre-requisites for SEAL or SWCC training and NONE are endorsed by Naval Special Warfare or the U.S. Navy.
How many Navy SEALS are there? There are about 2,500 active duty Navy SEALs.
How many SEAL Teams are there? There are nine active duty SEAL Teams - four on both the East and West Coast and one SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team. There are also two Reserve SEAL Teams made up of SEALs who have served on active duty and want to continue their service in the teams after they leave active duty.
What's an average day like for a Navy SEAL? There is no typical "day at the office" for a Navy SEAL. SEALs constantly learn, improve and refine skills working with their teammates. Their office transcends not only the elements of the Sea, Air, and Land, but also international boundaries, the extremes of geography and the spectrum of conflict. A SEAL's day usually includes physical training to ensure he is kept at a peak fitness level as well as whatever training or operations that are required of his particular unit.
Do Navy SEALs have to kill people? The "Navy SEALs train for war and fight to win. The execution of a SEAL's duties is swift and violent when required yet guided by the principles that he serves to defend."
How long does it take to train a Navy SEAL? Training of a Navy SEAL takes at least a year and a half from boot camp until the time he is ready to go to a SEAL Team. Once at a SEAL Team, he usually has an additional year or more of training prior to his first deployment. Even then, a SEAL's training is not complete he continues to hone and enhance his skills throughout his career.
When were SEAL Teams started? Responding to President John F. Kennedy's desire for the services to develop an unconventional warfare capability, the U.S. Navy established SEAL Teams One and Two in January of 1962. Read more on their history.
Is there an officer program for Navy SEALs? Yes. Men who are interested in becoming Navy SEAL Officers must be commissioned through one of three sources - the U.S. Naval Academy, Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps or Officer Candidate School. For information on how to become a SEAL through one of these programs, visit our page on how to become a SEAL Officer and the application steps involved.
How many people make it through BUD/S? Each year, about 1,000 men start SEAL training. Although training success rates vary per class, usually about 200-250 men succeed each year. Candidates who have Physical Screening Test scores below 800 are three times more likely to succeed than those men who only meet the minimum requirements. To see the Physical Screening Test score requirements, visit our page on Navy SEAL enlisted general requirements.
If I want to join the Navy to become a Navy SEAL what is my first step? If you aren't in the military or if you are in a military branch other than the Navy, talk to your local Navy recruiter. Go to the Enlisted SEAL application steps.
If you are in the Navy, talk to your Command Career Counselor, leading petty officer or leading chief petty officer. You can also call a Naval Special Warfare Recruiting Directorate at ( 888 ) USN-SEAL ( 888-876-7325 ).
Do I have to be in the Navy to be eligible for Navy SEAL training? Yes. To become a SEAL, you must join the U.S. Navy or already be serving in the Navy.
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for Navy SEAL training? Yes. You must be a U.S. citizen. You are not eligible if your citizenship is pending or if you have dual citizenship.
Do I have to have a security clearance to become a Navy SEAL? All SEAL candidates must be eligible for a Secret-level security clearance.
What are the basic requirements of becoming a Navy SEAL operator? Here are the basic requirements, and you can get details by going to the General Requirements link. Go to the enlisted SEAL general requirements.
- U.S. citizen
- 17 - 28 years old
- Pass the Physical Screening Test
- Pass the dive medical physical
- Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery with the required scores
- Be eligible for a Secret-level security clearance
What are the eyesight requirements? Uncorrected vision no worse than 20/40 in best eye and 20/70 in worst eye, correctable to 20/25 or better. Color blindness is disqualifying.
Are members of other military branches eligible for Navy SEAL training? No. If you want to join Naval Special Warfare you must serve out the remainder of your active duty contract and reenlist in the U.S. Navy. You are then eligible for a Navy SEAL or SWCC contract. However, before separating from your current branch of service, you should contact a local Navy recruiter to find out if the Navy is accepting people with prior service into Naval Special Warfare programs.
Is the Navy SEAL program open to women? No
Can I apply to become a SEAL if I am a Navy Reservist? No.
What if my Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery ( ASVAB ) score is not high enough? If you are not in the Navy, you will have to work with your recruiter to study for and re-take the ASVAB. If you are a Fleet candidate, Navy College offers ASVAB preparation courses you can take while you arrange a re-test with your career counselor. You may be eligible for a waiver if you are a particularly strong candidate and your score is close to the minimum.
Specifically, you will not receive a waiver if your Mechanical Comprehension ( MC ) score is more than five points below the minimum. If your overall ASVAB score is a few points low and you are not in the Navy, you will need to work with your Navy recruiter to seek a waiver through Navy Recruiting Command.
Waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis. They will look at the applicant's Physical Screening Test scores and the strength of the overall application package to make the determination. If you are already in the Navy, submit your transfer package. It will be evaluated by the SEAL detailer who will make a recommendation to the NSW Enlisted Community Manager who will make the determination.
What's the max ASVAB score waiver? Overall score waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis; however, if your Mechanical Comprehension ( MC ) score is more than five points below the minimum, you will not be granted a waiver.
Can I receive a waiver if I am over 28? Waivers for men ages 29 and 30 are available for highly qualified candidates. Men with prior enlisted service who are seeking to become SEAL Officers can request waivers to age 33.
Can I get a vision waiver? Due to the nature of the work done by Navy SEALs, vision requirements are not waiverable.
Is there a color-blindness waiver? There is no waiver for color-blindness for Navy SEAL candidates.
Do I need to purchase special equipment before attending BUD/S? No. BUD/S students are supplied with everything they need. However, you may find it useful to become accustomed to swimming with fins.
Do I need to learn to SCUBA dive before attending BUD/S? No. The Second Phase of BUD/S teaches all the necessary SCUBA techniques. However, if you have time before you enter training, you may find SCUBA useful to prepare you for the underwater portions of BUD/S training.
Do I need special uniforms to attend BUD/S? No.
Can you recommend a pre-BUD/S workout regimen? Yes. You're encouraged to download and use the Naval Special Warfare Physical Training Guide. ( PDF ) Developed by the Naval Special Warfare Center's Director of Fitness. This 26 week guide was designed to help you succeed the rigors of BUD/S.
Will the Navy relocate my family while I'm at BUD/S? Yes. After you complete the fourth week of First Phase training, known as Hell Week, BUD/S will process orders authorizing candidates to move their family to San Diego at Navy expense.
What happens if I don't complete BUD/S training? You will be reclassified to another Navy rate and given orders to an assignment within that rating. You may reapply to BUD/S after a two-year fleet assignment.
What boots are issued at BUD/S? Currently, Bates 924 series boots are issued.
IN FLEET TRANSFER QUESTIONS
Do I need to have a command approved Special Request Chit to apply for the SEAL program? No, but it is highly recommended. The Special Request Chit is used to inform your chain of command of your intentions. The submission of a Special Request Chit is a command, not a Navy, requirement. Please check with your Command Career Counselor for your command's policy. For more information about the Special Request Chit, review the Navy Personnel Manual: Special Request/Authorization NAVPERS 1336/3 ( Rev. 9-75 ) SIN 106-LF-063-8633.
Do I have to reenlist before I transfer to Naval Special Warfare for BUD/S if my End of Active Obligated Service falls within 6 months of the date I am supposed to transfer? No, but you have to extend to train and then obligate to serve 51 months upon completion of training.
If I am already in the Navy and I am going to attend BUD/S, am I eligible for a SEAL Challenge Contract bonus? No.
Will I lose my Basic Allowance for Housing and Basic Allowance for Subsistence while I am at BUD/S? You will receive Permanent Change of Station orders when you transfer to BUD/S. No one at BUD/S is authorized BAS as they are assigned meal cards. Single enlisted Sailors who transfer from outside the greater San Diego area are not authorized BAH. They will be assigned to the barracks.
Single students transferring to BUD/S from the San Diego area who have lease agreements can request to have BAH continued upon their arrival at BUD/S. Married students will continue to receive BAH whether their family is here or not.
CONTACTING SOMEONE ABOUT THE SEALS
Where is the Naval Special Warfare Recruiting Directorate? The Recruiting Directorate has East and West Coast offices.
West Coast - San Diego, California
SEAL + SWCC Scout Team
2000 Trident Way, Building #613
San Diego, California 92155
T: 888.876.7325 ( 888.USN.SEAL )
East Coast - Little Creek, Virginia
SEAL + SWCC Scout Team
1820 Helicopter Road
NAB Pool Building #3856 ( Naval Special Warfare Group 2 Combat Training Tank )
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23529
T: 757.763.3005 or ( 888.USN.SEAL )
How can I get more information about a career in Naval Special Warfare? Explore our website, contact one of our offices at the numbers above, or Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also talk to your local Navy recruiter.
If I have a particular question; can I talk to a Navy SEAL? Yes. A SEAL will answer you if you post to any of the following:
P 888.876.7325 ( 888.USN.SEAL )
CONTACT THE SEAL + SWCC SCOUT TEAM
P 888.USN.SEAL / 888.876.7325
A 2446 Trident Way, Building 613
San Diego, CA 92155