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Visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) is the term for maritime boarding actions and tactics, designed to capture enemy vessels, to combat terrorism, piracy and smuggling, and to conduct customs, safety and other inspections, as employed by modern navies, marine and maritime services, military and police forces.

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United States Navy training

US Navy SEALs demonstrate VBSS techniques for the 2004 Joint Civilian Orientation Conference.

United States Navy training begins with NLW (non-lethal-weapons) training and handling including withstanding OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) "pepper spray" and then moves on to SRF-B (Security Reaction Force-Basic) to SRF-A (Security Reaction Force-Advanced) then VBSS. The initial training continuum includes three courses lasting a total of eight weeks, with some team members receiving additional follow-on training. Skills taught in the VBSS CQB (Close Quarters Battle) courses include tactical movement and shooting, defensive tactics, abseiling/rappelling, searching and other team skills. Some units are going as far as to training in helicopter fast-roping, and HVBSS (Helo, Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure)

Regular sailors in the Navy are eligible depending on ship command structure. The majority of US Naval ships that deploy VBSS trained teams are primarily smaller ships such as DDGs, FFGs, etc. VBSS teams primarily seize drugs and arms trafficking, deterring piracy, and most recently have been noted in the waters off of Somalia and the Middle East.

A US Navy VBSS Team from the USS Gary

USN VBSS teams are generally armed with Mk 18 or M4 carbines as well as Mossberg 500 shotguns and Beretta M9 pistols. The level of body armor tends to be law enforcement kevlar with ballistic plate inserts and a generic tactical vest.

United States Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard is another service that commonly responds to VBSS scenarios. Law enforcement boarding teams from cutters and stations are generally armed with SIG P229 pistols, Remington M870P shotguns, and M16 rifles. Additionaly, the Coast Guard has a number of specialized units within it's Deployable Operations Group which have advanced boarding capabilties.

See also

External links

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