30+ Facts About Submarine Life That You Might Not Be Aware Of

Published on 05/14/2021
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30+ Facts About Submarine Life That You Might Not Be Aware Of

30+ Facts About Submarine Life That You Might Not Be Aware Of

Do you have any idea what it’s like to live on a submarine? It sounds like a lot of fun, but it also sounds like a lot of nerves at times. Furthermore, it does not appear to be the cleanest of environments. To give you a better understanding of submarine life — if you ever want to join the underwater team — we’ve compiled this list of facts about submarine life. Continue to scroll!

A Much-Needed Switch

The submarine force used to work 18-hour days, with sailors standing watch for six hours and having 12 hours off for other duties and sleep. However, thanks to the efforts of a few junior officers, the watches were changed to eight hours with 16 hours off.

A Much Needed Switch

A Much Needed Switch

This switch, according to the officers, had an immediate positive impact. Not only have people’s performances improved, but the switch has also improved morale on the boat.

There’s No “I” in Team

Stealing should be prohibited everywhere, but you’re probably wondering why we’re emphasizing theft here. Those who steal on a submarine, it turns out, face serious consequences.

There's No "I" In Team

There’s No “I” In Team

The thief will be apprehended in some way. They’ll be kicked off the boat at the next port if this happens. Not only that, but this type of incident can result in demotions and rank drops, which is unsurprising. Given that these individuals are supposed to work as a team, these consequences make sense.

Sharing Bunks

“Sharing is caring,” we’ve all heard it said. If you live on a submarine, however, that sentiment is slightly different. Submarines do not have individual bunks for each passenger. In this case, two to three people are usually crammed into the same bunk.

Sharing Bunks

Sharing Bunks

How do you do it? When one person’s shift ends, another passenger sleeping in the bunk is awakened. This occurs so frequently that submariners coined the term “hot racking” to describe the warm spot on the bed that someone else leaves after sleeping there for six hours.

The Dolphin Pin

Isn’t it true that dolphins are the cutest? Did you know that dolphins have a high level of honor? Submariners, on the other hand, are well aware of this. While living on board a submarine, officers must work extremely hard to earn the highest honor from their commanders.

The Dolphin Pin

The Dolphin Pin

As a marine, the only way to earn the dolphin pin is to learn how to operate the submarine and use it as a weapon. After that, you’d have to take a test and pass it with flying colors.

They Call Beds “Coffins”

If you think about it, living aboard a submarine, which is essentially an underwater metal tube, can be quite eerie. With that in mind, it only fits that officers refer to their bunk beds as “coffins.” Yes, you read that correctly.

They Call Beds "Coffins"

They Call Beds “Coffins”

Although it’s an intriguing moniker, we’re not sure we’d feel at ease laying down in a cemetery. Of course, we’re joking, but it’s an intriguing nickname for the bunkers nonetheless.

Skillful Snoozers

Submarine officers and marines learn and train themselves to sleep anywhere — to the point where you can have a full-fledged conversation with someone who is sleeping, and they will not wake up.

Skillful Snoozers

Skillful Snoozers

However, if you call their name once in a lower tone, they’ll wake up in no time. If only we possessed that ability. Anywhere and everywhere, we’d take a nap or get some shut-eye!

Submerged for Weeks or Months

Submarines rarely see daylight or nightfall because they operate underwater or at the bottom of the ocean. When you’re inside an operating submarine, it’s easy to lose track of time, especially when you consider that these boats can stay submerged for weeks or even months at a time.

Submerged For Weeks Or Months

Submerged For Weeks Or Months

Still, don’t worry if you ever find yourself on a submarine — you’ll have access to a clock! To put it another way, figuring out what time it is without looking at a clock will be extremely difficult.

Gym for the Peace

Let’s be honest: living aboard a submarine for months on end can drive anyone insane. As a result, commanders and officers do their best to keep their crew happy and provide outlets to relax and release pent-up energy.

Gym For The Peace

Gym For The Peace

Given the limited space, it may come as a surprise that many subs include a small workout area or gym. This helps the crew to stay on their game, keep them motivated, and relieve stress.

Lower Levels of Oxygen

Submarines maintain deficient oxygen levels, which, while necessary for safety, can have serious consequences. Lower oxygen levels, for example, make it more difficult for your body to heal after an injury.

Lower Levels Of Oxygen

Lower Levels Of Oxygen

While this isn’t usually a problem, if you cut yourself while working on a submarine, you won’t be happy. Lower oxygen can cause your energy levels to drop and contribute to mood swings, in addition to your wound constantly oozing because it can’t heal properly.

Sleeping With Nukes

At first glance, cramped living quarters may not appear to be such a bad thing. In fact, some people may find these cramped quarters appealing — until they realize they’re sharing space with massively destructive weapons.

Sleeping With Nukes

Sleeping With Nukes

You’d better get used to being around ballistic missiles, torpedoes, and even nuclear warheads for months at a time, even though it’s an unsettling thought.

Free Time in the Mess

Submarines, as previously stated, have limited space, which limits what the crew can do during their designated free time. As a result, the mess hall is where most crew members prefer to hang out.

Free Time In The Mess

Free Time In The Mess

Suppose you’re going somewhere that you’re not totally familiar with, so you stop and ask someone for directions. Well, aboard submarines, you can’t really do this.

Electronics Will Guide You Home

Imagine the following scenario: You’re on the road, heading somewhere you’ve never been before, and you pull over to ask for directions. But, of course, you’d never find yourself aboard a submarine doing something like this.

Electronics Will Guide You Home

Electronics Will Guide You Home

As we all know, submarines glide through the water, navigating solely through electronics and sophisticated machines. To put it another way, electronic machines are a part of your life.

Months on End

You may be enamored with submarine life and intend to become a top-tier expert submarine, but be aware that you will be making a significant commitment. Because you won’t be staying in a submarine for a few days, we’re saying this.

Months On End

Months On End

You’ll instead spend at least 90 days in the submarine. While this is the bare minimum for most tours, it is frequently extended to the point where you could spend nearly six months on the submarine!

No News Is Good News

Despite popular belief, life aboard a submarine is not always filled with high-octane action and bloody battles. On the contrary, life on a boat is (for the most part) rather routine.

No News Is Good News

No News Is Good News

The crew members have the same schedule every day, which, while monotonous at times, is actually a good thing! You might wonder why. If there’s commotion aboard a submarine, the entire world may be in jeopardy.

Minimal Bathrooms

Get this if you’re currently complaining about the size of your new apartment’s bathroom. Submarines have a limited amount of space due to a large amount of equipment and machinery they contain.

Minimal Bathrooms

Minimal Bathrooms

The size of the bathrooms aboard submarines is quite small, as you can see in this photo, and can make anyone feel crowded while doing their business. Imagine that, plus a bunch of crew members, and you’ve got complete chaos. Sharing a bathroom with a large group for a few months does not sound like a pleasant experience.

Don’t Overpack

You’ve probably already realized how small a submarine’s interior is at this point in the list. Now you’re going to have to share that space with a crew of up to 100 people. That’s insane!

Don't Overpack

Don’t Overpack

When it comes to storing your personal items, keep in mind that you are sharing your space with other people and store your items in a way that won’t generate clutter.

Training for the Submarine Life

It’s not going to happen overnight just because you want to be a submarine. In fact, becoming a submarine crew member requires a lot of training and is a difficult process.

Training For The Submarine Life

Training For The Submarine Life

According to a former Navy crew member, you spend the first few months studying nonstop for 10 hours a day before marching back and forth. Then, according to them, they “cram four to six years of college-level information into a six-month period.”

No Communication With the Outer World

When boarding a submarine, you should be prepared and understand that communication with your loved ones will be different than it was previously. No mail carrier will go deep into the ocean to pick up your mail and deliver it to your loved ones, and vice versa (obviously). When the submarine surfaces, you can only deliver or receive mail.

No Communication With The Outer World

No Communication With The Outer World

Even so, the submarine emits a signal that reveals the submarine’s location, which the crew does not want to know. So, keep in mind that communicating with the outside world while on a submarine isn’t always easy.

Laid Back Grooming Options

Although the most powerful military branches are typically composed of clean-cut soldiers with little to no facial hair and buzz cuts, those who live aboard submarines follow a different set of rules.

Laid Back Grooming Options

Laid Back Grooming Options

These rules are a little more relaxed, which makes sense given that these men have been trapped in a metal tube for months. But, having said that, it’s understandable that they don’t want to shave every day!

Searching Leaks

Do you know what the crew members do once their boat or submarine has completely submerged? First, of course, they search for leaks. What is the reasoning behind this? In any case, if the boat has any leaks, their lives are in grave danger.

Searching Leaks

Searching Leaks

Even if there’s a large leak or hole, they must cover or repair it in a short period of time — and they must do so quickly. Their lives are literally on the line…

Cramped Hallways

This information has been shared several times to demonstrate how limited space submarines are. However, here’s another example! The majority of the areas inside these boats are completely cramped due to the smaller space capacity. This affects the hallways as well.

Cramped Hallways

Cramped Hallways

The hallways are actually so narrow that only one person can pass through at a time. To put it another way, two members can’t even walk down the same hallway at the same time.

Smaller Showers

Do you recall how we talked about the size of the bathrooms on submarines? This time, we’re talking about the entire shower situation. Many types of machinery and equipment, as we all know, take up the majority of the space.

Smaller Showers

Smaller Showers

They’ll have to be resourceful when it comes to installing a shower. Showers on submarines are usually — you guessed it — cramped as a result of this.

Bigger Kitchens

The galley, or kitchen, onboard a submarine is where all of the food is prepared. Given how space is limited on submarines, you might be surprised to learn that these galleys are quite large.

Bigger Kitchens

Bigger Kitchens

Don’t get too worked up — these kitchens are not that huge, but they’re a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the ship.

Three Meals a Day

We can’t discuss submarine kitchens without mentioning the food served on board! For the duration of the submarine patrol — which could last weeks or even months without resupply — modern American submarines feed their crew members three meals per day. And, from what I’ve seen, the food doesn’t appear to be half bad!

Three Meals A Day

Three Meals A Day

The cook aboard the ballistic missile submarine USS Lousiana is seasoning a tray of fish fillets in the top photo. On the same submarine, another cook is preparing pizza in the bottom photo.

Watch Duties

The crew members are not assigned to watch duties at random. If anything, they establish a sort of hierarchy to plan the schedule for the coming months.

Watch Duties

Watch Duties

Watch duty is mandatory for everyone, but the time and location vary depending on the rank of the personnel. It also depends on the type of specialized training received by each of these individuals. As a result, one’s level of responsibility rises in tandem with one rank.

Officer’s Watch

We’ve already talked about watch duties and how responsibilities are distributed among crew members. Still, now we’d like to get a little more specific about who does what during watch duties.

Officer’s Watch

Officer’s Watch

The deck officer, for example, is in charge of the conning tower, which is a raised platform on the submarine from which the officer can communicate with the vessel. To put it another way, the officer can direct the ship’s movements by issuing orders to those in charge of the ship’s engine, rudder, lines, and ground tackle.

The Command Launch

You’re probably wondering how the crew members manage to fit so many weapons into such a small space. But, of course, that’s essentially what the command launch is for — to store all of those different kinds of weapons.

The Command Launch

The Command Launch

Like any other area onboard a Navy or Marine vessel, the control room has its own set of requirements. For example, just because there’s room for weapons doesn’t mean they’re unrestricted. In addition, certain design elements, such as specific lighting solutions, are required because of the limited space.

Trident Missiles

Now that we’ve learned where the weaponry on these submarines is located, it’s time to learn more about the weapons themselves. For example, Trident missiles, which are submarine-launched ballistic missiles with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, are carried by some submarines.

Trident Missiles

Trident Missiles

To put it another way, if your submarine is carrying one, be extra cautious. But, on the other hand, knowing that you are protected by something so powerful can make you feel at ease!

Board Games

Let’s take a break from war and gore and talk about something lighter and more enjoyable. Did you know that sailors and crew members have a variety of recreational options?

Board Games

Board Games

Come on; they deserve to have some fun, too, especially since they’re submerged for weeks or months at a time! In any case, members pass the time by playing cards and board games in their spare time. Isn’t this a lot like summer camp?

Ability to Sail Anywhere

Submarines are owned by almost every country on the planet. However, not all of the aforementioned countries are allowed to travel wherever they want. From all of these countries, the United States has the ability to travel the globe with its submarine without being detected.

Ability To Sail Anywhere

Ability To Sail Anywhere

They have the ability to strike for long periods of time, making them more powerful than the rest of the world. As you can see, it’s not easy work, but it plays an important role.

45° Angle

Are you aware of the angle at which the entire ship ascends and descends? Any guesses on what it is? If you guessed 180°, we’re sorry to tell you that you’re incorrect.

45° Angle

45° Angle

When a submarine changes depth, the entire submarine angles upwards/downwards nearly 45°, forcing the crew to brace themselves as it moves. With that in mind, imagine how crew members aboard the submarine must feel as they ascend and descend into the water.

Rocking the Curtains

Inside the submarine, life can be difficult, especially when you’re gone for weeks or months at a time. But, while you will miss home and your loved ones at times, your fellow crew members will become your family — and family is always there for you, through thick and thin.

Rocking The Curtains

Rocking The Curtains

Given the amount of time you spend together, it’s difficult not to become close. So, while you may get homesick from time to time, the bonds you form with your fellow crew members will be unbreakable.

Turn the Lights Down Low

There are a few things to consider before embarking on your submarine voyage. First, they start by checking for leaks (as previously mentioned), then finish the tasks that have been assigned to them, and finally turn off all of the lights.

Turn The Lights Down Low

Turn The Lights Down Low

You’re not doing anything out of the ordinary, repetitive, or ritualistic. One must take extra measures in anticipation of things going overboard to prevent this.

The Neptune Captain

People who live on submarines are always looking for ways to have fun and stay enthused despite their monotonous daily routine. So the crew members organize a dress-up game in which they create their own outfits and dress up as women.

The Neptune Captain

The Neptune Captain

You may be correct in assuming that the captain will not be interested in participating, but you should reconsider. A striking aspect of the Captain is that he frequently dresses up as Neptune.

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