SBS Badge

Special Boat Service (Reserve)

The Special Boat Service (Reserve) offers a unique experience and the opportunity for selected individuals to serve in a challenging, dynamic environment.

Special Boat Service (Reserve)

The SBS(R) is based on the South coast of England but recruits nationwide. It holds responsibility for its own global Area of Operations as well as providing support to the Regular SBS on operations and exercises.

Successful candidates will need to display a high degree of commitment and fitness. The selection process is arduous and on completion successful applicants will be taught to be proficient in the use of in-service small boats and the Maritime environment. 

Applicants must be either a serving member of UK Reserve Forces or Regular Forces in the last 24 months of Service. You must have served at least two years in the Armed Forces, as either a Reserve or a Regular. Ex-Regulars no longer serving will need to join a Reserve unit before applying.

Applicants must be no older than 43 years 364 days on the Selection Induction Weekend (SIW).

Defence Instruction Notice ‘2021DIN07-064’ provides more detail. This can only be viewed via MODNet.

Enquiries are by email only, ideally through your Chain of Command.

Email: [email protected]



Selection is run twice a year, and is both physically and mentally challenging:

  • Selection Induction Weekend (SIW) – The SIW consists of several summative assessments, both physical and cognitive to ensure that candidates are of a suitable standard to attempt selection and commence the pathway to serve in UKSF Reserve. 
  • Training Delivery (TD) – TD is a progressively arduous course of drill nights and weekends over several months, requiring a candidate to demonstrate mental and physical robustness. It is designed to prepare applicants for the rigours of the Briefing Assessment Course and Aptitude phase.
  • Briefing Assessment Couse (BAC) – The BAC is an arduous 5-day assessment phase that briefs on the qualities and standards required for service within UK Special Forces Reserve and conducts an initial assessment of candidates’ suitability for continued progression on the selection pathway. 
  • Aptitude Phase - Aptitude is a 3-week stage consisting of a series of progressive marches against the clock, culminating with a testing endurance march over arduous terrain. The purpose of Aptitude is twofold; it allows a candidate to demonstrate their physical and mental resilience under arduous conditions, while providing the Directing Staff an insight to the applicant’s motivation for wanting to serve in UK Special Forces Reserve.
  • Standard Operating Procedures and Tactics Course (SOPTAC)- On passing Aptitude, applicants will undertake a further six months training, which will require the candidate to be mobilised. This is an intensive period of instruction and assessment on Special Forces tactics, techniques, and procedures. Military skills form a major part of the SOPTAC programme. This is progressive, with the emphasis on individuals assimilating new skills, while under physical and mental pressure. On successful completion of the SOPTAC, applicants will be badged as SBS(R) soldiers and progress to Continuation Training.
  • Continuation Training – Immediately following the completion of SOPTAC course, soldiers will enter a 3-4 month period of mobilisation, including but not restricted to; a communications course, a Survive, Escape, Resist and Evade (SERE) course, driver training, range packages, Medical training and further specific to role training. On completion of this period, soldiers will be eligible to be mobilised and deployed on operations. 



Training and skill development will be continuous throughout an SBS(R) soldier’s career, reflecting the requirement to maintain a high level of proficiency in a diverse range of skills. Throughout your Reserve career you will learn new skills and knowledge that will reinforce your earlier military training. These will include generalist SF skills such as Static Line Square Parachutist as well as specialist skills such as SF Medic, Language Specialist or Demolitionist. 


Unit history