Enjoy a peek behind the curtain of the SWCC program. These guys are an integral part of our program in the regular Teams and ST6. This piece was written by a former SWCC who is now active on another program and he wishes to remain Anonymous. 

-Glen Doherty, NSWC Editor

Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman (SWCC)

You’ve seen it in many movies, posters and books. The guys on the fast boat racing down the river with Gatling Type Super Guns on all sides, crewman kitted up and painted and ready for a fight.

See what happens when the caption mistakenly reads “SEAL TEAMS.” An onrush of posts, messages and outcry from wannabe’s, gamer’s and airsoft commando’s crying out that these are “Boat Guys” not “SEALS”! Then followed on with mostly negative connotations making the assumption that all Boat Guys are quitters. They could not make it through BUD/S so they opted for the easiest way to join the NSW community.

Okay, that is not what happens and it might seem true to a point for some. Every candidate that tries out for an NSW crew position must complete the required PT Test. It’s the same requirements for both SEAL and SWCC and both have the same ASVAB requirement.

Even before that each NSW candidate must request to do so via a “package.” Evaluation reports with high marks are required, nobody wants a shitbag.

SWCC Training Missions
SWCC Training Missions

During the long and grueling training there are some students who transfer from BUD/S to SWCC, but there are certain criteria to do so.

First, no D.O.R’s, discipline and some medical drops can transfer and the BUD/S student must be a Hell Week survivor, no white shirts.

The transfer student must submit his request in writing and it must be approved – there is no guarantee that his request will be approved. Upon approval the student reports for training the next day ready to learn how to navigate, communicate and shoot Boat Guy Style.

“Oh yea, well Boat Guys are fake SEAL’s because they don’t go through Hell Week!” Well they don’t. Hell Week has a very specific agenda, not to mention the tradition involved.

Hell Week answers the question that SEAL’s want to know: Will this guy quit when the shit hits the fan? Can he still function when tired, hungry and miserable? Can he still swim in freezing water? Can he still complete the mission? If he can then he is allowed to continue training.

Boat Guys do not go through BUD/S Hell Week but they do undergo a “baptism” period of training. There is lack of rest, plenty of wet, constant cold and misery just to name a few fun facts.

Whereas Hell Week participants under go fun activities such as log PT, timed runs, whistle drills and IBS races, Boat Guys undergo mission type scenarios over and over and over again along with the occasional timed runs, ocean swims, etc.

Please do not be fooled in the episode of “Making the Cut” involving the SWCC guys, there is much more to that.

The separation in NSW between SEAL’s and SWCC is the mission. SEAL’s area of operation involves everything above and below the waterline and past the hinterland. Boat Guys area of operation is the waterline and stops at the hinterland. There is a love/hate relationship within the NSW Community between Boat Guys and SEAL’s and it is my hope that this series on SOFREP will give more clairvoyance into the SWCC community.


Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL, was killed with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya on Sep. 11, 2012.