Naval operations as at today embrace a wide area of maritime activities. The main areas of the Sri Lanka Navy's naval operations are as follows

Offshore Patrol Vessels are deployed in the high seas to carry out surveillance on illegal transfer of war like materials using merchant vessels & activities of EEZ.

Fast Attack Craft are small surface combatants of about 25 m in length and around 50 tons displacement armed with rapid fire weapons. New generation is capable of producing speeds over 45 knots. These units so far proved to be the most effective weapon used against the terrorist Sea Tiger activities.

Owing to the terrorist activities carried out using suicide cadres against naval units berthed at Trincomalee, Kankesanturai and Karainagar and many attempts against merchant ships off Kankesanturai and in Colombo Harbour, it had become essential to protect these harbours round the clock.The Sri Lanka Navy is the designated authority for implementing International Ships and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code in Sri Lanka.

Inshore Patrol Craft are small 14 m vessels which are capable of operating inshore as well as for beaching. They are capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Special Boat Squadron consists of elite naval troops trained for clandestine and special operations.

Since early 90's the SLN got involved in land operations assisting the Army on amphibious operations liberating land areas from terrorist control.

The SLN also assist the Army in ground combat duties. For this purpose North Central Command was established and Naval Patrolman battalions were raised to take up this task.