Singapore's naval divers special: What it takes to pass

Nine-week modified BMT

National service enlistees who pass the vocational assessment for the Naval Diving Unit do a nine-week modified Basic Military Training.

Aside from meeting physical training standards, they must also be able to swim 50m in their camouflage uniform, tread water for five minutes, and make an improvised flotation device using their trousers.


Combat Diver Course

Those who pass proceed to the 20-week Combat Diver Course.

Here, trainees must clear increasingly demanding physical fitness standards, sit written tests on dive theory, and pass practical water-based tests such as drown-proofing, pool competency and survival skills.

Five 'vetoes'

Trainees cannot graduate as combat divers unless they pass five key tests called "vetoes". To fail any of these tests means dropping out. They have to:

1. Swim 2km in 50 minutes

2. Run 6km in 27 minutes

3. Complete the Diver Fitness Test: Swim 500m in 12 minutes, rest 10 minutes; do 52 push-ups in two minutes, rest two minutes; do 60 sit-ups in two minutes, rest two minutes; do nine chin-ups in two minutes, rest 10 minutes; run 2.4km in 12 minutes.

4. Complete the Sea Circuit: backstroke swim, climb a rope, walk a balancing beam, climb the jump tower, jump off a 5m tower, backstroke swim, and run, for a total distance of 750m. Repeat three times in 18 minutes. Trainees complete this in an average of 16 minutes.

5. Meet more demanding standards in their Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) than other SAF servicemen. Like commandos, they must get maximum marks at every IPPT station, which means a 22-year-old must perform 40 sit-ups, jump over 242cm in the standing broad jump, pull 12 chin-ups, complete the shuttle run in under 10.2 seconds, and finish the 2.4km run in under nine minutes and 15 seconds.

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