Would Seals typically have any Cave Diving experience?

I’m using the term Seals broadly for various navies around the world.

I know Seals are trained for underwater warfare. That would include diving.

But, are they typically certified as deep sea divers or cave divers?

Aren’t those special skills that require constant training? It’s my understanding that deep sea divers avoid cave diving. It’s so completely different from their experiences. Both styles have different risks.

American Seals seem to fight more on land these days.

I ask because the Thai Seals played a important role in the soccer team cave rescue. I was a little surprised they jad that training.

I’ve kinda wondered the same thing. Perhaps they have some training in wreck diving (sunken ships). That’s sorta like cave diving I suppose.

Well they are obviously tainted in diving.

Even absent cave training, what they do have is extraordinary physical and mental stamina. They would be able to work much harder and longer than a trained civilian cave diver. What’s more they’re unlikely to panic and will be able to complete the mission in extremely adverse and changing conditions.

ETA: so they’d be able to receive a crash course and then adapt to succeed.

Did you mean to say “trained”?


The reason why it was two British guys, John Volanthen and Richard “Rick” Stanton who found the kids in the first place is because these guys do it for fun. Swimming in total darkness through tight spaces, with no possibility of contact with the outside world is pretty specialised stuff. There would be no reason to train military personnel to do it.

From what few anecdotes I have heard in the diving world military divers, including SEALs, are not generally trained for cave diving though they may received mission specific training for diving in overhead environments, primary wrecks.

There are several specialty skills that I would expect an aspiring recreational diver to master prior to proceeding with cave training. Open Water, Advanced Open Water, and Nitrox training are essential. Buoyancy control, Deep Diver, and Advanced Nitrox are up next. Finally you are ready for Wreck Diver training which is the first overhead environment diving course in the recreational training environment.

Then proceeding towards cave setting the Rescue Diver training is strongly encouraged, though this IS NOT cave rescue training - far from it. Semi-closed and fully closed rebreather training is recommended, but not strictly required. Normoxic trimix and Advanced Deep Diver training prepare a diver to use a twinset and sidemount cylinders and is essential before starting cave training.

All of this would normally occur over several years of diving, with a diver gaining experience between each course.

And now that you have the prerequisites out of the way and have 500 or more dives in your log book you are ready to begin Cavern Diving and finally Cave Diver training.

And the harsh reality is that these boys had to jump to the last step due to the urgency of the situation. The fact that the boys and coach made it out safely is simply astonishing to anyone with dive experience. Cave systems often have this sign posted underwater at the edge of the cavern zone for good reason.

Iggy, great post.

My Wife and I are both PADI open water certified. I’ve only have about 20 dives with my Wife having fewer. We have decided to stop diving. When you only do it every few years, we just didn’t feel like we where staying current enough to be as safe as we should. New gear, and rental stuff that we didn’t feel familiar with.

It was a fun adventure.

PBS NewsHour today interviewed a New York Times reporter John Ismay who is a former military diver (presumably for the United States military), He stated he is not aware of any military divers anywhere who are trained for cave diving. Video is 56+ minutes, but link is cued to relevant part at about 43:30 mark.

That coming from a former military diver who was a trained U.S Navy EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) Officer. A guy trained to be on the military’s bomb disposal squad says cave diving is too dangerous for the military to actively train to do it. :eek: