How Deep Do Navy Seals Dive? (Gear And Technique)


The United States Navy Sea, Air, and Lands teams, or in another name, the Navy SEALs, are the US Navy’s chief special operations force and a command component of the Naval Special Warfare. But have you ever wondered How Deep Do Navy Seals Dive?

The standard answer to this question is only as deep as they need to. Sometimes navy seals may be deployed from submerged submarines to insert into a combat zone for a mission. This commonly occurs in relatively shallow waters. However, your body cannot completely acclimate to the extreme stresses such as the extra weight of atmospheres of pressure deep in the water puts on your body.

How deep do navy seals dive? Navy SEALS usually do not need to be extremely deep in their water for their work. But depending on the diving training extensiveness, they’re likely to be certified for diving 100-130 feet or even deeper with lots of technical certifications following.

This article will highlight how deep do navy seals dive.

What Does The Navy SEAL Do?

The SEALs team performs a wide range of functions. Among the main ones include conducting a small unit special operations mission in the jungle, maritime, mountainous, arctic, desert, and urban environment. They can also be ordered to eliminate or to capture some high-level terrorists worldwide. They are given the role of gathering crucial intelligence behind enemy lines.

How Deep Do Navy Seals Dive? (Deep & Here’s How)

Other duties include, but are not limited to, conductions, extractions, and insertions by air, land, or sea to accomplish covert, special warfare operations, counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, counter-narcotics operations, direct action, counter-proliferation, among others.

The Navy SEALs Diving Gear

The Navy SEALs team of the United States commonly use three types of gear to aid in underwater breathing. These include the closed circuit containing 100% oxygen (LAR V Draeger), the open circuit with compressed air, and the closed-circuit with mixed gas (MK 15, MK 16). Some special operation forces in the US with amphibious capabilities also make use of these systems.

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SCUBA (Open Circuit)

The open-circuit system is also referred to as the SCUBA, which in full stands for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. This system is commonly used among the SEALs and other special operating units based in the US. The entire system consists of cylinders filled with compressed air and usually worn on the divers’ back.

Typically, there are two aluminum cylinders, with each of them holding 80 cubic feet worth of oxygen. And that is why you may have heard them being referred to as the ‘Twin 80s’. This particular system is also referred to as an open circuit since the diver’s exhaled air is released back into the water.

Other seal divers that are the Delivery Vehicle Team, also employ breathing systems with an open circuit design and fed from the air tanks inside the swimmer deliver vehicles. Besides the weight and size of the air tanks, the other downside of the open circuit systems is the infamous bubbles trail released into the water that is visible to infrared and the naked eye.

Closed-Circuit Mixed Gas Rebreather

The MK 16, MK 15, and the LAR V Draeger work to recycle the diver’s expelled breath while they filter it for CO2. This closed-circuit system is no exception. The difference is seen in the fact that the Draeger uses pure oxygen. The MK 16 and MK 15 work to dilute the supply of oxygen with a different gas- usually air, but it may sometimes use Heliox or Timux as the dilutant.

The mixture is to maintain a present PPO2 level (partial pressure of oxygen). This allows operations to be carried out at greater depths compared to those recorded by the Draeger. For instance, there has been a recording of depths up to 1800 feet.

LAR V Draeger Rebreather

This breathing system is also referred to as the MK 25. It is an example of a closed-circuit SCUBA device. The LAR V Draeger runs on 100% oxygen, and the expelled breath gets recycled into its closed-circuit system with the filtering out of CO2.

That results in completing, eliminating the bubbles trail, and ultimately making the LAR V Draeger rebreather system ideal for clandestine amphibious operations. However, this system is designed for depths up to 70 feet maximum and can therefore not operate as deep as the SCUBA systems with an open-circuit design.

Moreover, this unit features a front-worn configuration and is relatively small, making it well suited for operations in the shallow waters. Unlike the LAR V Draeger, the MK 16 is not recommended for covert use in the shallow waters as they are too bulky.

The dive duration using this rebreather system is dependent on the rate of oxygen consumption, water temperature, and depth. The LAR V Draeger systems are common among the Navy SEALs, Division recon, USMC Force recon; special forces dive teams, and other SOF units.

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What Does The Naval Enlisted Classification Code NEC State On Diving?

There are different divers classes with specific jobs in the Naval Special Operations and the Naval Special Warfare. The navy SEALs, in particular, are engaged in missions that require underwater explosives, diving, and traveling submerged as a swimmer for long distances on a SCUBA system or within a mini-submarine.

The SEALs rarely dive vertically deep in the ocean, but they travel horizontally for miles maintaining a depth of about 15 to 20 feet under the water. However, for the navy’s EOD side (Explosives Ordinance Disposal), the members dive into disarming explosives- torpedoes, missiles, mines, etc. These women and men dive with special SCUBA gear made with non-metallic materials to not set off the explosives underwater at shallow or deep depths.

The entire navy diving team are salvage divers. They use hardhat-surface-supplied air and open-circuit systems to dive deep underwater and weld ships, build structures, fix equipment, locate nuclear weapons, and even find lost equipment like planes.

Do Navy SEALs Dive To 1200 m?

Firstly, even the US Navy submarines are unable to dive that deep. One thousand two hundred meters that are 3937 feet- almost ¾ a mile deep is too deep as the human body organs will not handle the pressure of the extra layers of the atmosphere. Even with the right gear, that depth is too deep for a Navy SEAL diver to come back safely.

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How Deep Can a Navy SEAL Diver With a Rebreather?

The rebreather (LAR V Draeger) allows divers to dive to a maximum depth of 70 m. The open-circuit breathing systems can enable the navy seal to go further in-depth, but not too much. These rebreathers are relatively small in size with a front-worn configuration, making them well suited for shallow water operations.

What Do The Navy SEALs Have To Endure While Diving?

Being a Navy SEAL is not a walk in the park. It is a calamitous beatdown that involves thorough mental, physical, and emotional training. And when they are out in one of the diving operations, these divers have to endure many hardships.

Coldwater

More often than not, the water is always chilly. The water temperatures usually range between 70 degrees during summer and 50 degrees during winter. Wet suits may help with the cold, but they come with their problems.

Chafing

This is one of the most dreaded evils during training and even during actual operations. The common friction points are near the armpit, under the arms when you wear the wet suit. This friction may occur during the entire time you are swimming, which maybe hours.

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Boredom

Few activities are thrilling, and one can derive fun from, especially for extended hours. You can find your happy place and make friends with the rest of the team members.

Sharks

Though very unlikely, there is a slight possibility of sharks, especially on the coast of California. This is a threat during the BUD/S training that involves a tedious 5 1/2 – mile swim.

Sea-sickness

This may be one of the problems faced b some Navy SEAL members in their early training stages. They have to deal with nausea and vomiting caused by the rolling swells of the Pacific Ocean.

Current

The Pacific Ocean, as with other large water bodies, is never placid most of the time. The water in the ocean flows north, south, and back depending on the time of day, among other factors. The currents can significantly slow you down during a swim.

Finning

The fins come in handy to make it relatively easy, on balance. However, when you swim with them for long distances, they eventually tire your leg muscles. But on the bright side, it is a workout, i.e., without the extended hours.

Cramping

Cramping is inevitable regardless of the amount of water you may try to ingest before a swim. You can only hope not to suffer from debilitating cramps while you swim.

Hunger

This is mainly experienced during the training period. With the four-hour 5-1/2-mile swim, you could have lost multiple thousands of calories.

Conclusion

The Navy SEALs are great at what they do. They perform many functions being a component of the Naval special warfare command. These special operations forces do a lot of diving in great depths underwater as the operational demands. The navy SEALs commonly do not need to be in extremely deep water for their work. As we conclude, we hope that you have found this article beneficial and that we have answered the question; How Deep Do Navy Seals Dive? (Deep & Here’s How).

John

Hi, I’m John who owns multiple different boats and i love all kinds of water activities. From boating to fishing, from scuba diving to windsurfing, from water tubing to snow tubing.

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