how to join the special boat service in 2024

The Special Boat Service is one of the most respected and feared units of all the military fighting forces. Only the best get to become a member of this elite fighting force, and this unique resource will provide you with an insight into life within the SBS and their selection procedure. This guide is packed full of insider tips and advice to ensure you succeed during the Armed Forces selection process.

The Special Boat Service is the sister force of the Special Air Service. Previously called the Special Boat Squadron it is predominantly made up of elite Royal Marines Commandos. The SBS, along with the SAS, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment and the SFSG form a major part of the UK’s Special Forces. The selection process for joining the Special Boat Service is extremely tough.

Learn how to join the Special Boat Service with the ultimate guide to pursuing a career in the Armed Forces.

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the special boat service selection process

The selection process for entry into the SBS, along with the SAS, is undoubtedly the toughest of any of the worldwide Special Forces. What makes it so tough is the fact that it tests both one’s physical and mental stamina over a prolonged period of time. Many other selection processes for different armed forces units are shorter and less rigorous. The reason for the intense difficulty of the process is because it is imperative that the SBS get the right men for the job.

There is no room for error during any of their missions and it requires a special type of person to be able to hold down that level of responsibility. The SBS, until more recently, only recruited from the Royal Marines. Now it is open to any member of the UK Military Fighting Forces including the Royal Engineers, the Royal Artillery and the RAF Regiment.

The SBS soldier is both physically and mentally tough. They are certainly not robots or supermen, but instead extremely fit, highly skilled and totally focused on the task in hand. You will never see an SBS soldier bragging in the pubs about the fact that he belongs to the service, nor will you see him fighting with anyone in the streets when the pubs close. They are highly professional and very guarded about the role that they play.

The average SBS member is not 6ft tall with a weight of 16 stone, but is more likely to be around 5ft 8 inches and of a build, appearance and stature of somebody who would quite easily blend into a crowd of people and go unnoticed. Underneath this disguised exterior however, is an immensely fit and skilled person. Ask any SBS soldier and all of them will tell you that they found the selection process difficult. Not one of them will ever say it was easy, because it simply isn’t.

It takes a unique individual to join the Armed Forces, and with the help of our guide, you can learn whether or not you have what it takes to join the Special Boat service.


  • Flame-retardant nomex suits;
  • Flame-retardant balaclavas;
  • Inflatable life jackets;
  • SF10 respirator;
  • Kevlar helmets.


  • Mp5 a3 9mm sub machine gun;
  • Sig sauer p226 9mm pistol;
  • Knife;
  • Flash bang / stun grenades.

special forces briefing course (sfbc)

Selection starts back at a candidate’s own regiment, where he must request through his Commanding Officer that he would like to be put forward for selection. The initial phase of selection is for the candidate to attend a Special Forces Briefing Course (SFBC).

The SFBC is run twice a year, over a weekend period. The course is designed to give those candidates who wish to go through selection the chance to taste what life in Special Forces is all about. It also gives the SBS the chance to see if they like you. The weekend SFBC course usually starts on a Friday evening when candidates arrive at the Special Air Service base, Sterling Lines, in Hereford.

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  • How to pass the SBS selection process;
  • Secret information about the SBS and their role;
  • Essential ‘insider’ information about SBS selection;
  • Learn how to join the Special Boat Service including a step-by-step selection process;
  • Loads of vital SBS information.



  • Introduction to the Special Boat Service;
  • Badges and insignia;
  • Weapons used by the SBS;
  • Equipment used by the SBS;
  • Introduction to the selection process;
  • Special Forces Briefing Course (SFBC);
  • The SBS selection process;
  • Further information on the SBS selection process;
  • Fitness preparation;
  • Get to know the Brecon Beacons;
  • Map reading competence;
  • Be prepared for the elements;
  • Your clothing and personal hygiene;
  • Be physically and mentally prepared.


  • The selection stages and the routes to take;
  • Learn to live with your bergen;
  • Be prepared for escape & evasion and tactical questioning;
  • Understand the weather;
  • Phase 1 – Endurance Week 1;
  • Battle Fitness Test;
  • Phase 2 – Endurance Week 2;
  • Map Revision;
  • Swimming Test;
  • Orienteering;
  • Further information on orienteering;
  • Physical exercise sessions;
  • The Fan Dance;
  • Phase 1 – Week 2;
  • Phase 1 – Week 3.


Due to their skills, abilities and methods used to successfully combat terrorism, the SBS are also suited to boarding potentially hostile drug-running cargo ships on the seas. The SBS, on such missions will often work alongside HMS customs officials and also the Metropolitan Police firearms Unit. During such missions the Special Boat Service will use the same techniques and wear the same gear as they do for the Maritime Counter-terrorism role. To date, wisely, upon finding their vessels swarming with heavily-armed, black-clad SBS operators, smugglers have all given up without resistance.

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How To Join the Special Boat Service Download

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✓ Secret information about the SBS and their role;
✓ Essential ‘insider’ information about SBS selection;
✓ 120 pages of vital SBS information.
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