Women-Attend-Marine-Boot-Camp-At-Parris-Island-South-Carolina-Swimming is one of those things that is often misunderstood by many future Marines. You do not have to be a “swimmer” to be able to pass swim week during boot camp or as a Marine. Passing swim week isn’t so much about being a proficient swimmer. It is more about being confident in the water and being able to move from point A to point B in a pool and this includes in the deeper water and while wearing boots and some gear.

You are not taught how to swim during boot camp, but the instructors will help you and show you the basics so you can pass your swim qual. You are not forced into the water or underwater or any crazy crap like that. Like anything in the USMC including boot camp, your safety is their number one concern which is why certified USMC swim experts are there watching very closely as you enter the pool. And you will be given a period of instruction prior to entering the pool.

If you can swim now at any level or can jump in a pool or ocean and float around without freaking out, you will pass your swim qual. If you do not know how to swim and can learn now, then it only makes sense to learn. If you have a fear of swimming, then what can I tell you. The only way to conquer your fear of the water is to get into the water.

You do not need to know how to do the backstroke or butterfly or any crazy crap like that. This is a very basic water survival course and it is not preparing you to be an Olympic class swimmer. At the very least you want to know how to “doggy paddle” in the water and you want to know how to use your legs to move you around in the water. << That is what you want to know. As long as you are somewhat confident in the water, you will pass your swim qual regardless of your swim level.

The following info is from the Marine Corps website (2013) : “In an Olympic-sized pool, recruits are required to complete the course of qualification, which includes a 25-meter swim in both the shallow and deep water, four minutes of treading water, utilizing a waterproof pack to swim 25 meters and perform a 10-second gear strip while submerged. All of this is done while wearing a full combat utility uniform and a pair of combat boots.” <<< That is what you need to do during boot camp to pass the lowest level of your swim qualification. *** It is unclear whether recruits still have to jump off a platform and maneuver to safety during swim qual.  The USMC did not mention the platform jump in their official statement, but new Marines are saying that they had to do the platform jump.


37 responses

  1. Anonymous

    i cant swim can i still join the marines

    August 15, 2014 at 09:33

    • You do not need to know how to swim in order to enlist into the Marine Corps. And don’t forget, you can always start learning how to swim now.

      August 16, 2014 at 14:05

    • Anonymous

      I need help learning how to swim

      February 3, 2015 at 17:45

    • Anonymous

      If I come to boot camp not knowing how to swim what will happen

      February 3, 2015 at 17:46

      • They will help you pass your swim qual.

        February 3, 2015 at 19:44

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think it’s possible for you to fail boot camp

        April 5, 2016 at 12:38

  2. Anonymous

    if i come and dont how to swim can i learn the basic so i dont drown.

    August 29, 2014 at 14:31

    • I guess you’re gonna be forced to learn, right?

      September 3, 2014 at 14:08

  3. Anonymous

    if i fail boot camp what happens

    September 20, 2014 at 14:10

    • You go home and live the rest of your life.

      September 21, 2014 at 18:27

  4. Andrew

    I’m DEP’d in, but swimming is kind of a concern for me because Im not very proficient at it. I’ve been practicing somewhat, but is there any advice you can give me so I don’t lose my cool while I’m at basic?
    Much appreciated.

    October 30, 2014 at 23:13

    • First off it’s called boot camp or recruit training in the USMC and never basic. And like the writing states: You don’t need to be proficient in swimming to pass and they teach you how to pass, so don’t worry about it.

      November 2, 2014 at 10:38

  5. Roger

    Let say u show up to bootcamp without knowing how to swim, will they teach u or not?

    November 19, 2014 at 01:54

    • They show you what you need to know to pass the swim qual. They are not going to teach you how to swim. It is USMC boot camp and not the YMCA.

      November 19, 2014 at 12:28

  6. Anonymous

    will they help learn how to swim and my other question how many other days of swimming are there


    January 12, 2015 at 16:27

    • They help you pass the swim qual and they don’t have time to teach you how to swim. You only do swim stuff for 1-2 days.

      January 13, 2015 at 08:11

  7. Anonymous

    What if I don’t pass or it it hard not to pass even if u don’t know how to swim

    January 16, 2015 at 20:04

    • If you don’t pass, you are given more then once chance to try again. If you keep on failing it, you wont graduate boot camp since it is a requirement. It isn’t hard to pass even if you don’t know how to swim.

      January 20, 2015 at 08:21

  8. Franklin

    I’m hoping to enlist under field 18xx, which includes AAV Crewmember, where I’d have to be a class 2 swimmer, which, to my understanding, includes some sort of rescue swim. Do you know how much harder this qualification is compared to the basic qualifications? Thanks!

    February 5, 2015 at 14:32

    • None of the swim stuff is advanced or technically hard. How hard something is will depend on you. If you can swim, then passing either level is not going to be hard as in you thinking you advanced super olympic type swimming.

      February 19, 2015 at 21:28

  9. Anonymous

    Help I need help preparing for the swim qual

    February 9, 2015 at 16:14

  10. Anonymous

    if ni just jump in the water without know how to swim what will happen will i drown or will guys let me try first the fail me

    March 19, 2015 at 16:35

    • Please read the article posted and the other comments. You do not just jump in the water, especially if you can’t swim. Safety is their number one concern and they will walk you through your swim qual.

      March 20, 2015 at 10:57

  11. Kye

    Im sorry this is a different topic question but if i dropout of. highschool to get my highschool diploma from a nightschool will i still be eligible to join the marines thanks

    July 8, 2015 at 22:20

    • Read through our website and you’ll find your answer.

      July 9, 2015 at 19:03

  12. Cris

    How hard is it to get swim qual II? It’s a requirement in order to get the mos I want, but not sure how difficult it’ll be for me especially since i’m a barely decent swimmer.

    August 30, 2015 at 14:24

    • Cris

      Nevermind. Just read the other guys comment with the same question on mos 18xx. Woops my bad. But do you happen to know some of the requirements for sim qual II?

      August 30, 2015 at 14:28

      • No i do not.

        September 1, 2015 at 18:15

    • Yea, this page gives you your answer.

      September 1, 2015 at 18:14

      • Brandon

        How can i stengthen my treading skills. Despite my lung capacity i can tread a solid 2 minutes before it gets uneasy. I know breathing techniques and keeping myself relaxed but its emberassing and quite strange how my physical stamina and shape allow me half the tread time i am going for.

        November 9, 2015 at 21:41

      • You’d need to speak to someone who knows about what you are asking.

        November 10, 2015 at 10:06

  13. Brandon

    Hey there, great website for some tips on swim qualification. Picked up alot of tips from this and a few buddies of mine stationed in camp pendleton. I just have one question inparticular. Im an intermediate swimmer. Can do most swimming without any struggle. Practiced at my local park/ pool wearing sandals and my cousins combat clothing to simulate what these tests will be like and its relatively easy with some challenge with stamina. The only problem is that i have yet to perfect my water treading. Ive been taking deep breaths quickly, exhaling quickly and repeating aswell as minorly whisking my legs in the water slowly using my arms to keep my body relaxed and steadily breathing. But the furthest ive made it pretending as if my life depended on it was a 2:17. And ive heard many reports that you infact do have to float for atleast 4 minutes and it just baffles me. Im in great shape but i still cannot keep my stamina and body from aching after a certain period of floating. I even tried to slowly swim in a small circle while treading to keep my mind off of it, but it was not much improvement. Thanks and i hope to get some good advice.

    November 9, 2015 at 21:19

    • You are over thinking this swim stuff. If you can swim now at any level, you will easily pass the swim qual.

      November 10, 2015 at 10:05

  14. Brandon

    Well thats a bit reassuring to hear. I like the website and thanks for the quick tip.

    November 11, 2015 at 06:40

  15. lisa96

    Its ridiculous how people kept asking the same questions over and over when all of the answers were already provided. Anyways, I don’t know how to swim underwater, but will be learning before I join. Thanks for the info!

    November 11, 2015 at 17:54

  16. Okay this is jerome from jamaica and i am comin to join the marine corp like it or not i cannot swim but will eventually after i leave the camp…however am not afraid of the water or anything BUT wen an paddling n storking and pullin the water i am not moving and another thing no mater how much air i take in my lungs i cannot float i cud fill my lungs till my face blue i am just a solid metal any solution for that any answers? Suggestions anything

    November 26, 2015 at 03:48

    • You need to speak to a swimming instructor because i have no idea about your question.

      November 30, 2015 at 17:47

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