Navy SEAL frequently asked questions


  • By U.S. Navy SEAL + SWCC Scout Team
    Posted June 18, 2015


The bulk of the content in this FAQ comes from our readers: you. Submissions sent to us over the 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 training and NONE are endorsed by Naval Special Warfare or the United States Navy.

Is SEAL training open to men and women?


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.

Navy SEAL benefits?

In addition to SEAL leadership traits, SEALs receive a salary, medical and life insurance, education funding, travel and supply discounts, and more. These Navy SEAL benefits allow each SEAL to contribute to their community, family and country.

  1. Starting pay of up to $60,000
  2. Bonuses for becoming qualified and for re-enlisting
  3. Possible repayment of college loans
  4. Extra pay for diving, parachuting and demolitions
  5. 30 days vacation per year
  6. Medical and dental benefits
  7. Retirement after 20 years
  8. Tax free pay in combat zones
  9. Tax free allowances for housing and food
  10. Access to military facilities

Qualified SEALs can choose from hundreds of training courses that develop an operator's knowledge base and technical skills. The following are just some of the training available to SEAL operators during their career:

  1. Combat medic training
  2. Sniper school
  3. Language training
  4. Parachuting jumpmaster qualification
  5. Dive supervisor qualification
  6. Personal defense
  7. Advanced marksmanship training
  8. Intelligence analysis
  9. Communications
  10. Military performance driving

Where are Navy SEAL duty stations?

On any given day, Navy SEALs are deployed in more than 30 countries around the world. The Navy's SEAL teams are based in:

  1. Coronado, California; Home of the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Command, the command that provides vision, leadership, doctrinal guidance, resources and oversight to all Navy SEALs. Coronado is also home to the Naval Special Warfare Center, which runs the SEAL training curriculum, as well as NSW Group 1, which oversees SEAL Teams 1, 3, 5 and 7.

    NSW Group 3, which commands NSW undersea forces, is also in Coronado, as is NSW Group 11, which controls all NSW Reservists. One of NSW Group 11's SEAL Teams, Reserve SEAL Team 17, is also there.

  2. Virginia Beach, Virginia; Home to Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Group 2 and its SEAL Teams 2, 4, 8 and 10. SEAL Team Eighteen, a Reserve unit, and NSW Group 4 are also located at Virginia Beach. NSW Group 4 is responsible for all of NSW's special boat teams.

  3. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Home of the Navy's only SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team. The command conducts underwater delivery and insertion of SEALs using flooded mini-submarines.

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 they are kept at a peak fitness level as well as whatever training or operations that are required of their particular unit.

Do Navy SEALs have to kill people?

Sometimes. Navy SEALs train for war and fight to win. The execution of their duties is swift and violent when required.

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 they are ready to go to a SEAL Team. Once at a SEAL Team, they usually have an additional year or more of training prior to their first deployment. Even then, a SEAL's training is not complete, they continue to hone and enhance their skills throughout their 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.

Is there an officer program for Navy SEALs?

Yes. SEAL candidates 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, go to our page on how to become a SEAL Officer.

How many SEAL candidates make it through BUD/S?

Each year about 1,000 SEAL candidates start SEAL training. Although training success rates vary per class, usually about 200-250 SEAL candidates succeed each year. Candidates who have Physical Screening Test scores below 827 are three times more likely to succeed at BUD/S than those who only meet the minimum requirements. Go to Navy SEAL general requirements to find out what's involved in becoming a SEAL.

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're in a military branch other than the Navy, talk to your local Navy recruiter. If you are in the Navy, talk to your Command Career Counselor, Leading Petty Officer (LPO) or Leading Chief Petty Officer (LCPO). You can also call the SEAL + SWCC Scout Team.

What if my Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) score is not high enough?

If you are not in the Navy, you'll have to work with your Navy 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 ASVAB score is close to the minimum.

Specifically, you will not receive a waiver if your Mechanical Comprehension (MC) score is less than the minimum. If your line score is less than the minimum 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 Naval Special Warfare Enlisted Community Manager who will make the determination.

If I am currently in the Navy, can I get a waiver if my Year Group is currently closed for the Special Operator (SO) rating?

Yes. However, these types of waivers are extremely rare. Speak with the SEAL Enlisted Community Manager to find out if what Year Groups are currently open. The SEAL Enlisted Community Manager will only consider applicants in closed Year Groups who possess a very unique and desired skill (e.g., speak Arabic, Russian, etc.; FMF Corpsman; Prior Special Operations Forces (SOF) service, etc.).

What's the max ASVAB score waiver?

Overall score waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis, however, your Mechanical Comprehension (MC) score cannot be waived. Multiple line item scores may be waived up to three points per item. For instance, a two line-item requirement may be waived up to six points.

Can I receive a waiver if I am over 28?

Yes. Waivers are available for highly qualified candidates. However, they are very rare. Those with prior enlisted service who are seeking to become SEAL Officers can request waivers to age 33.

Can I get a visual acuity waiver?

No. Due to the nature of the work done by Navy SEALs, visual acuity requirements are not waiverable.

Is there a color-blindness waiver?

Yes, under very limited circumstances. Talk with your Navy recruiter.

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?


What boots are issued at BUD/S?

Currently, Bates 922 series boots are issued

Can you recommend a pre-BUD/S workout regimen?

Yes. You're encouraged to use the Naval Special Warfare Physical Training Guide. The PTG is a 26 week training guide designed by the Naval Special Warfare Center. The PTG is an invaluable tool 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..

Do I need to have a command approved Special Request Chit to apply for the SEAL program?

No, but it is highly recommended. The NAVPERS 1336-3 Special Request CHIT (SRC) is used to inform your chain of command of your intentions. The submission of a Special Request Chit is a command requirement but not a Navy one.

Please check with your Command Career Counselor for your command's policy. For more information about the Special Request Chit, review your 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 the Naval Special Warfare Center for BUD/S? Even 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?


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 Basic Allowance for Subsistence as they are assigned meal cards. Single enlisted Sailors who transfer from outside the greater San Diego area are not authorized Basic Allowance for Housing (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.

The Navy SEAL + SWCC Scout Team is the authoritative voice for Naval Special Warfare training and heritage. It is our mission to explain the training and selection process, requirements, standards, and accomplishments peculiar to Naval Special Warfare.

Where is the SEAL + SWCC Scout Team?

The SEAL + SWCC Scout Team is in:

  1. Coronado, California
  2. Virginia Beach, Virginia


West Coast SEAL + SWCC Scout Team

SEAL + SWCC Scout Team
Naval Amphibious Base Coronado
2446 Trident Way, Building #401
San Diego, CA 92155

Open Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, closed for federal holidays.



East Coast SEAL + SWCC Scout Team

SEAL + SWCC Scout Team
Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek (JEB Little Creek)
1820 Gator Boulevard
Virginia Beach, VA 23459
NAB Pool Building #3856

Open Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, closed for federal holidays.

Some people are under the misunderstanding that SEAL mentors are some kind of personal trainer or counselor that is ready to help anyone who wants to be a SEAL before they've even seen a Navy recruiter. Not true. They may provide some advice, but they are not legally obligated to train anyone who is not in the Navy's Delayed Entry Program or at least past the initial eligibility tests with a recruiter.

Mentors are contracted by Navy Recruiting Command to assist recruiters with physically developing potential enlisted SEAL candidates. They teach proper methods of working out to achieve maximum results on the Physical Screening Test. Once they are satisfied that a candidate exceeds requirements, they forward their endorsement to Recruiting Command and the candidate is considered for selection.