Becoming a Navy Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC) is no easy task. The SWCC selection pipeline is designed to weed out the weak and to create a training environment that simulates the stressful conditions that are experienced in real-world situations. If an individual is not physically and mentally prepared, they have very little chance to be standing at graduation day. The attrition rate is about 70-80%.

The SWCC training pipeline is divided into four major portions: Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Prep; NSW Basic Orientation; Basic Crewman Training (BCT); and Crewman Qualification Training (CQT).

NSW Prep takes place in Great Lakes, Illinois. Individuals with SWCC contracts report directly to NSW Prep after graduating from Navy “Boot Camp.” Sailors that were already in the Navy and were rewarded an SWCC contract are also required to report to NSW Prep to begin the SWCC training pipeline. NSW Prep is a two-month course designed to prepare SWCC and SEAL candidates for the rigorous training they will encounter once they arrive in Coronado, CA. At the end of the two-month prep course, candidates have to pass physical tests in swimming, pushups, sit up, pullups, and a four-mile timed run. If candidates fail to meet the minimum set requirement in any of these tests, they are removed from the SWCC program.

NSW Basic Orientation is a three-week course designed to give candidates a thorough introduction to the type of training they will be subjected to and to adjust them to its demanding schedule. During these three weeks, students are introduced to the obstacle course, soft sand runs, open water swimming, drown-proofing, water rescue, and basic navigational skills. Make no mistake, the orientation course is not designed to be easy. Many candidates will quit before the first three weeks are over.