How to Get Ready for Navy Dive School


Candidates who are accepted in the Navy Diver program attend Recruit Training and a Diver Preparation Course before going on to Second Class Dive School at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center. In dive school, students learn all about underwater mechanics, salvage operations and dive medicine, physics and planning while engaging in rigorous physical exercises. If you plan to become a Navy diver, start preparing at least six months in advance through various cardiovascular and anaerobic routines.

Meet the Basic Requirements

  • Navy divers must meet more stringent requirements than basic soldiers. Candidates must be under the age of 30 and must successfully pass the required diver's physical exam. All candidates take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test prior to joining the military, which helps to determine the most suitable occupational specialty for each soldier. Navy Dive School requires candidates to receive a minimum score of 51 in mechanical comprehension and a combined score of at least 103 in arithmetic reasoning and paragraph comprehension.

Focus on Fitness

  • The physical exam to become a Navy diver requires candidates to perform a minimum of 50 push-ups in 10 minutes, 50 sit-ups in two minutes and six pull-ups in two minutes. The requirements increase once candidates go to dive school. The best way to prepare for strenuous repetitive motions is by practicing the routine four or five times each week. In addition to push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups, you may want to do squats, crunches and lunges to round out your exercise.

Build Your Endurance

  • The physical screening test allows 12 minutes and 30 seconds for candidates to swim 500 yards and the same amount of time to run 1.5 miles. Typically, successful candidates are most comfortable in the water and excel in high stress situations. In dive school, each week gets harder than the last and you're judged upon completion of 4-mile runs, 2-mile swims and obstacle courses. To get ready, swim between 1,000 and 2,000 meters, and run 1 or 2 miles at a fast pace, three or four times each week.

Remember Your Reasons

  • Not everyone makes it through Navy dive school, but it's not always because they fail physically. For example, the fourth week of training is often referred to as "Hell Week" because divers run over 200 miles, participate in extensive physical training and sleep the bare minimum. "Hell Week" is meant to promote teamwork and assess each candidate's willpower. Those who make full commitments to their goals and don't see failure as an option tend to have a better chance at completing dive school.


  • Photo Credit Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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