Navy SEAL training--do they really drown them?

A coworker told me that Navy SEAL trainees are actually drowned, then revived, as part of their training. Her source: a former coworker (who quit working there before I started) whose daughter is dating a SEAL.

Well, so she would know, right?

I could not believe this. In my lexicon, drowned in water means dead (as opposed to drowning your sorrows, which does not much to eliminate said sorrows permanently). If you can resuscitate a person then you say they nearly drowned. So I went to Google and ultimately ended up on this site, where it gives the following physical evolution (hey, that’s what it says–my mind tries to make that “evaluation”) where the first three items are:

It’s that last that gives me pause, or maybe it’s the phrasing. Pass, you don’t drown, fail = ??? The others, not so much. Underwater swim, you come up for air before the 50-meter mark, you fail; knot tying, pretty self-explanatory. But could somebody please explain what’s involved in drown-proofing, or a drown-proofing test?

Drown-proofing does not include drowning the person, although that’s a pretty amusing concept. HowStuffWorks has a useful description of what it involves.

The vast majority of people who say they are/were Navy SEALS (or Army Rangers, Green Berets, SAS, Spetnatz, etc.) aren’t/weren’t.

I think the drown-proofing test is where you have to enter the water fully clothed, then remove your shoes (and probably tie them together by their laces and put them about your neck), then remove your trousers and convert them into a flotation device.

I think that those are some of the basic requirements to apply to BUDS…probably gets much worse once you’re actually in the program.

Back in college one my friends was a Navy veteran who knew a bunch of SEALS from his line of work (antiterrorist stuff), IIRC he said that “drown proofing” means being able to bob up and down in deep water with your hands tied behind your back. He said that the basic technique was to hold your breath, kick up to the surface while exhaling, grab a breath at the surface and repeat.

Ah, here’s an explanation:

A couple of points. Drowning results in death. If you didn’t die, you didn’t drown. You may come back from a near drowning, but not a drowning.

Second point. Drown proofing does not involve drowning. Drown proofing is a low energy technique for treading water so you can stay afloat for many hours without drowning, hence the name. If someone passes the drown proofing test, it means they have mastered that skill. If they fail, it just means they need more training, so if they are in a life threatening situation, they won’t drown.

Navy Seals typically don’t talk about their training or even the fact that they are Seals. To anyone. They are constrained from talking about any aspect by their DOD clearances.

One usually hears this tripe from wannabes.

My coworker is not a Seal wannabe, and I believe the young lady who is the coworker’s former coworker’s daughter is in fact dating a legitimate Navy seal (anyway he’s really in the Navy*).

I am relieved to hear about this drown proofing. It just means floating? I’m pretty sure we didn’t call it “drown proofing” back when I took lifesaving but that was several decades ago and I could have forgotten. (And I’ll bet that “tread water for 45 minutes” test would be way easier for me to pass today–hell, I probably could do it with my hands tied behind my back.)

*Or at least the mother has convinced my coworker of this

My favorite story from a purported Navy Seal was was the time he was delivered to a black ops mission by being shot out of a Submarine’s torpedo tube. :dubious:

Do you have a cite for this? I have seen a very detailed documentary (Discovery Channel? TLC?) on SEAL training. Why would individual SEALs be proscribed from discussing ANY aspect of their training, while cameras were allowed to record the entire thing?

We did drown-proofing in Coast Guard boot camp. As Fear Itself points out, it’s to stay afloat for extended periods of time using very little energy. Although, we didn’t have to do it with our hands bound behind our backs. That would have been a challenge.

Anyway, it’s a neat technique and it works well.

A sailor trying to impress a young girl with feats of daring-do? Who would’ve thought…

Sorry. Forgot what forum I was in.

You too? I have a friend that told someone that while he was in the marines, he would go from ship to ship by being shot out of torpedo bays. He is prone to lying, but the girl he told this was gullible too, so he may have just been messing with her.

I know the Marines have some pretty nasty water training during boot camp. The last time my ex bf and I were at a hotel in a swimming pool, he decided to show me just what the training was like (of course, he was probably exaggerating to make himself sound more bad ass):

I’ve heard similar accounts from various other marines, although I’m sure my ex was being overly dramatic.

Sorry, I wasn’t completely clear. I didn’t mean to imply they aren’t allowed to talk about it, they just tend not to. So many of their assignments are Covered by high level clearances, its just easier to not talk about it at all.
I saw the same Discovery Channel feature. You only saw close shots of the faces of the ones that washed out.
I have no internet site, just my father and three brothers who were carreer Navy. One brother was a Seal the other two washed out.

If you have a DOD clearance, it’s strongly recommended that you minimize talk about a lot of things that would be unclassified, such as even the fact that you have DOD clearance. The idea being you may make yourself a target if the wrong person suspects you might be in a position of national trust.

Besides, I’m sure that documentary crew were working with a security officer making sure they filmed only what they wanted them to see. There are some pretty strict regulations about filming at a military installation.

BTW, it’s been my experience working with many military and former military that the less someone has seen, the more they talk.

That’s nothing. When I was in Nam (or as we like to say, The Nam), they would fire me out of a modified battleship gun.

With all due respect, I call b.s. to a degree on this one. While it may be difficult to get exact numbers, there may well be a way to determine how many real live humans have served in the areas you named in the quote above.

It’s a bit like the Woodstock Syndrome. Everybody of a certain age was at Woodstock Arts and Music Festival in White Lake, New York in August of 1969. ( For those unawares, Woodstock was over 50 miles from the village of Woodstock, NY ). Uh huh. Quite a few folks who claim attendance were many hundreds of miles out.

OTOH, it is accepted that a very conservative estimate of attendeeds came to about 400,000 people attending the festival.

Having said that, I simply cannot believe that many of the people who claim to be ex Special Services of any kind are not. I have read the article online about people who have started websites that basically prove or disprove claims of service. An admirable pursuit. And furthermore, since General Westmoreland and many others have discussed such military events as Vietnam in exhausting detail, I am hard pressed to believe that nobody ever talks about anything ever. It’s not the way the world works. The way the world does work is that if you sign or take an oath of secrecy, it is expected on both moral and legal levels that you will not abandon that oath. That I respect.

I was never a SEAL, I was in the Seabees, but I worked with SEALs in the Navy often enough to learn to tell if someone is lying about having been one. In the 10 years since I got out of the service I have met at least 10 people who have told me they were SEALs that quite obviously were not.

Very true. I have my wings tattoed on my forearm, and used to carry my Ranger coin with me almost all the time. I used to be in the habit of rolling the coin across my knuckles when I was bored.

I eventually stopped because I got sick of being told “oh you should talk to so and so, he was a [SEAL, Ranger, Delta, SF]” only to then talk to the person in question and find out that the closest they ever got to Spec Ops was washing out of jump school or something.

If you want to call someone out - ask them their class number (from BUD/S, Ranger, Q course etc) It’s ingrained in all of us. At the very least, they’ll look at you like you have two heads - as I guarantee they won’t even know the formatting of the number. For example, my class was 6-90, i.e. sixth training class in the calendar year 1990.

But if you know their class number, you can find their picture here.

I would assume there’s web resources for BUD/S and such along similar lines.