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The British Special Air Service Boat Troops

sas boat troops

Boat Troop Operators are those who infiltrate territory using water insertion techniques such as diving and small boats.

Operators are trained in diving using open and closed circuit breathing systems, navigational skills, approaching the shores or vessels underway and the delivery of naval mines, which is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to destroy ships or submarines.

Upon learning proficiency skills in diving, Operators move on to learning methods of surface infiltration. The Klepper canoe, also known as a folding boat or kayak, is one of the main forms of transportation for the Boat Troops. Designed during World War II, these folding boats were used by many military units. Other equipment used by Boat Troops are the German Klepper, which has been in service since the 1960’s, the Gemini inflatable which is was primarily used for sending small groups of soldiers onto a shore undetected, and the Rigid Raider, which is a larger fiberglass hulled patrol boat used to carry additional personnel and cargo onto shore.

Entry to water is taught as operators are skilled to enter into a body of water from a rotary wing aircraft by parachute drop or by jumping out of a helicopter; the helicopter hovers approximately 50 feet above the water in order for personnel to jump. Operator airborne entry into water holds significant high risk to equipment as weapons and other equipment must be sealed in order to prevent damage.

Finally, the Boat Troops learn the techniques of deployment from a submarine. Submarine egress bears extreme high risk to the troops, specifically the effect of pressure at depth which can cause nitrogen narcosis and oxygen toxicity. Other risks include the cold, which can cause hypothermia and the possibility of failure to the mechanical breathing aids used while underwater.


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