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Special Boat Service (SBS)

Less well-known than their army counterparts, the Special Boat Service is the UK's naval special forces unit. SBS operators tend to come from the Royal Marine Commandos although the SBS is tri-service. The SBS is part of UKSF, along with the SAS, SRR and SFSG.

SBS commandos pictured with HMT400 vehicles, Afghanistan
(click for fullsize image)
more SBS photos
 SBS Boats
SBS boats
A look at the variety of boats used by the SBS
more info: SBS boats
 SBS Video
SBS combat video
Footage of the SBS in combat in Afghanistan, 2001
(click image to watch video)
more info: more UKSF videos
 Special Forces Boat Operators
Specially-qualified Royal Marines coxwains who support the SBS
more info: SFBOs

The SBS has around 100-200 operators, divided into 4 squadrons : C,X M and Z

more info: SBS organisation

SBS History

The SBS was formed during World War 2 and has evolved from a small commando unit to the fully-fledged special forces organisation it is today.

read about: SBS history


A look at the rivalry and differences between the 2 special forces units.

more info: SBS vs SAS

SBS Selection

SBS candidates undergo a grueling selection process.

more info : SBS selection process

SBS Skills & Training

SBS operators are also learning new skills and improving on skills already aquired..

more info : SBS skills

SBS Operations

Since 9/11, the Special Boat Service has been deployed against Al Qaeda in the global war on terror, often working side by side with their SAS colleagues. In Afghanistan, one SBS patrol got drawn into one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the war as they helped to squash an uprising of captured Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners at a medieval fort.

During the allied invasion of Iraq in 2003, SBS teams, working with US Navy Seals, secured and scouted the beaches on the Al Faw Peninsula, paving the way for amphibious landings. Other SBS teams secured the southern oil fields. One Land Rover column of around 60 SBS men, operating in the North, were ambushed by Iraqi forces and had to fight their way out of trouble.

The SBS is were heavily engaged in Afghanistan, where they targetted Taliban leadership in a series of successful operations.

more info: SBS operations

SBS Roles

As a maritime special forces unit, the SBS has some specialised roles.

more info: roles of the SBS

SBS Weapons

The SBS use/have used some specialised weapons.

read more on: SBS weapons

SBS Boats

The SBS employ all manner of surface and underwater vessels.

more info: SBS Boats

related book :
Black Water

Don Camsell's fantastic first-hand account of his life in the SBS is required reading for anyone interested in the Special Forces.

A superb read for anyone interested in the SBS.

Supporting Elements

Signals Support

The SBS have signals support in the form of the SBS Signals Squadron

Special Forces Boat Operators

These specially-trained Royal Marines coxwains pilot various boats in support of SBS operations.

more info: SFBOs

First Into Action
Duncan Falconer

A rare autobiographical account of life in the SBS and 'The Det'. One of the best Special Forces memoirs you can read.

more info: First Into Action
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