Swimming skills could count toward Marines’ promotions in the future.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller recently told Marines in Spain that he is considering either making swimming skills a requirement or including them in Marines’ cutting scores, Military.com reported. It is important for Marines to be able to swim well in case they fall overboard or are in an aircraft that crashes into water, he said.

So far, Neller has not yet decided whether Marines’ swimming abilities will become a factor in their promotions, said his spokesman, Lt. Col. Eric Dent.

“Right now, the commandant is asking: What would it take to reinvigorate our efforts to be better -- across the force -- in our swimming skills?” Dent told Marine Corps Times. “There is not a plan to implement at present, but he has discussed the idea that swimming proficiency play into a Marine’s cutting score, much like a PFT, CFT, and marksmanship qualification. Again, this is a discussion at this point, not a defined path.”

Although Marines learn water survival skills as recruits, Neller feels the Marine Corps needs to emphasize swimming later in Marines’ careers because the Corps is amphibious force, Dent said.

Currently, Marine recruits must receive a combat water survival basic qualification to graduate from boot camp. Tasks include stripping off all gear while fully submerged, treading water, jumping off a 10-foot tower to simulate abandoning ship and swimming 25 meters while wearing a waterproof pack.

Including swimming skills as part of Marines’ cutting scores would province an incentive for Marines to become stronger swimmers, Neller told Military.com. His advice to Marines who are not good swimmers: “You’ve got to get your butt in the pool.”

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