Fun facts about Singapore’s Naval Diving Unit

Happy 50th birthday to the Naval Diving Unit!

Nur Sabrina

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Published: 9 December 2021, 1:45 PM

Singapore’s Naval Diving Unit (NDU), a special forces formation within the Republic of Singapore Navy, just turned 50 years old.

To keep our waters safe, the elite unit is capable of eliminating potential underwater threats and carrying out a variety of security and search operations.

For their 50th anniversary, PIONEER released a short interview in a Facebook post on Dec 8,  featuring two members of the NDU.

NDU50: Deep Dive with Frogmen

Why do naval divers shout "#Hooyah"? Why are they called frogmen? As the Naval Diving Unit prepares to commemorate its 50th birthday, we take a deep dive with 1SG Gabriel and CPL Piravindheva to find out more about this elite unit. #NothingStandsInOurWay P.S. A little 🐸 told us there's going to be a special live stream of the #NDU50 parade on Republic of Singapore Navy tomorrow afternoon! Don't miss it 😉 👉🏻 Get in on the action with PIONEER on Telegram!

Posted by PIONEER on Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Here are four things we learnt about the NDU.

1. Why do the divers scream ‘Hooyah’?

Originating from the navy seals from the United States of America (USA), the term Hooyah is used as a battle cry. 

It reminds the divers of their shared values and identity and is also a form of encouragement the divers give to each other when things get tough. 

2. Why are divers called ‘frogmen’?

Frogs live on both land and water, adaptable to both environments.

Similar to frogs, divers have to be able to adapt to land and water conditions.

3. How bad can the visibility get underwater and how do divers overcome them?

The water may not always be clear. At times, the divers can’t see their hands even when it’s right in front of them.

Lucky for them, their equipment, like the sonar, doesn’t rely on visibility. 


The divers take on numerous roles in the protection of the nation. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE NAVY


To get over the visibility issues, regular naval diver Sergeant Gabriel Lau explained: “Generally, plaster it to your face, whatever it is, your hand or equipment… you should be able to squeeze out something to see.”

4. How challenging is the training?

Naval divers are bound to face unexpected challenges, and are even trained on what to do when they run out of air, or when their air source is being taken away underwater. 

They also carry out breath holding exercises during drown-proofing training, where their hands and legs are tied up and they are tasked to retrieve an item from the bottom of the pool.


The training prepares divers to face harsh water conditions and unforeseen obstacles, crucial for survival in open water. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE NAVY


The divers also go through an intensive ‘Hell Week’ with little sleep to build endurance and it is also an opportunity to get closer to their batchmates. 

Remembering how fatigued they were over Hell Week, Corporal Piravindheva said: “During cold treatment, some of my friends just took it in, sat in the cold part, then just slept.” 

For all the efforts and struggles our divers go through, we thank them for their service and all that they have done to keep us safe.

Happy 50th birthday NDU!

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