Things are changing at a rapid pace in the Navy, and the Special Warfare Boat Operator rating (SB) is no exception.

Just as with the Special Warfare Operator rating (SO), the requirements that must be met to even be considered for training as a Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC) in the SB rating are higher than those of other Navy ratings. Besides being a United States citizen between the ages of 18 and 30 (waivers are possible for both limits) with a High School diploma or GED, candidates are also required to meet the SWCC Physical Screening Test’s (PST) minimum performance requirements, which include (among other) things swimming 500 yards in under 13 minutes being able to perform at least 42 push-ups in less than two minutes.

And for quite a long time, there was one other requirement that considerably narrowed the field of candidates: Only men were eligible for the program. Female Sailors or interested recruits were instead guided into other ratings, such as Navy Diver (ND) or Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD).

But in 2013, the Department of Defense announced it would lift its exemption of women in combat roles—including in Naval ratings such as Special Warfare Operator or Special Warfare Boat Operator that are legendary for their rigorous physical training regimens and dangerous deployments. That decision went into effect in 2016, and the good news for women Sailors seeking to serve in the SO or SB ratings is that their gender no longer impedes them in any way.

The new policy, however, maintains the minimum performance levels of the PST that SWCC applicants must achieve. And what some Sailors might not be aware of is that, when it comes to qualifying for training to become a Special Warfare Boat Operator, just achieving the minimum doesn’t even come close to making the grade.

Take pull-ups, for instance. The SWCC PST minimum is six with no time limit involved. But in 2014, the typical active-duty SEAL or SWCC candidate who wound up being chosen for admission into training did twenty-two pull-ups, or nearly four times the minimum. That doesn’t mean that “22 is the new 6,” because each class of competing candidates is scored on a curve. But it does mean that, whether you’re a man or a woman seeking a career in the SB rating, making the first cut is hardly any guarantee you’ll make the ones that come after it.

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