The Marine Corps Water Survival School (MCWSS) serves to train Marines and sailors to perform duties as Marine Corps instructors of water survival (MCIWS). MCWSS also acts as the center for resolution of all water survival training issues and the management of the water survival training program.

In April 2011, the Marine Corps revised its Water Survival Training Program to better prepare Marines for life-threatening situations in the water. The new swim qualification now requires Marines to conduct water survival bearing more gear and clothing than before. For Marines who aren’t quite as amphibious, adding gear and clothing only makes water survival more difficult. Here are some tips to help Marines around the Corps succeed in the water, based on the S.A.F.E. principle.


Using slow easy movements allows your body to remain calm longer and use less energy. If you were to use fast, choppy movements, it would more than likely splash water in your face and many Marines are not comfortable with that. This often causes panic.


Your body has a natural point of buoyancy. Use this point to your benefit when conducting survival training. If you know where your natural buoyancy point is in the water, then being able to swim and tread water will be easier simply because different techniques work better than others.


When you fill your lungs all the way up with air, they become a set of natural floaties. Keeping your lungs full will add to your natural buoyancy level. To keep your lungs full, use a technique called explosive breathing. This involves a deep inhale, followed by a quick exhale. The goal is to keep air in your lungs as long as possible.


Staying as relaxed as possible will allow slow, easy movements, as well as aid your natural buoyancy.

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Featured photo courtesy of Marine Corps Times