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Old 05-22-2014, 08:42 PM   #1
etorres313
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Default How is life being on sub duty?

Just signed on as an SECF hoping to be an ET after all is said and done. Im a bit nervous about life on a sub so looking for some info amd help in relation to sub life. How is communication when it comes family? How are deployements? In terms of length and actually going to other ports and being able to explore? Do you have better opportunities when it comes to seeing and experiencing than on ships?

Any info would help having trouble finding current relevant information. Thanks
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Old 05-23-2014, 07:36 AM   #2
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I'm curious as well, not to many submariners on here though.. :/
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:43 AM   #3
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Yes i know nor out there at all in the internet world. Im stuck between staying with my original rate as SECF or taking an earlier ship date for AECF what i originally wanted. If sub life isnt so bad compared to ship life ill just stay with it but if not ill be hoping for a early ship as an AECF
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:41 PM   #4
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Well... there's this - 6 Things Movies Don't Show You About Life on a Submarine. Obviously written for comedy value, so take it as you will...
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Old 05-24-2014, 10:17 PM   #5
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There is a post on here with a link to a cspan video as well, I can't find it because I'm on my phone but it was cool because it shows the interior of a sub in detail.
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Old 06-28-2017, 08:48 PM   #6
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It's been a few years since I was last on a boat and I know things have changed a bit, but I'll try to shed some light on this topic. It's a pretty broad question.

First, if you smoke, you might want to quit. Right as I was transferring to shore duty for the last time, they completely banned smoking on subs, vaping included. Not sure if they've taken the step to ban all tobacco use yet, but I wouldn't be surprised.

If you're looking to be able to communicate with the outside world, you might want to re-think volunteering for subs. They have e mail, but it is unreliable at best. The boat has to be in a situation where they can transmit to send and receive e-mail, so if you're on a mission "vital to national security" you can forget about e mail for a few weeks.

Sleep. Sleep is a luxury aboard a submarine. One of the first things I heard when I got to my first boat was "You'll sleep when you're dead, NUB!" There's a reason Sailors can pretty much sleep on command. It's because you have to take every opportunity you can to catch some z's. I don't know if they have fully implemented it yet, but there were some boats that were experimenting with a regular 24 hour day instead of the traditional 18 hour underway day. With the 18 hour day, you are on watch for 6 hours, the next 6 hours is for performing maintenance, training, working on qualifications, and maybe even relaxing a little. The next 6 hours are supposed to be for sleep, but consider yourself lucky to get 4 down.

Qualifications. If you are not fully qualified, quals will be your life until you are. You are not allowed to do anything except work toward getting qualified when you are not on watch. Not only do you have your ships quals (getting your Dolphins) to work on, you will have all of your quals for your job. Once you get qualified, your life gets better.

Drills. Drills are ran constantly to ensure the crew is prepared to fight any casualty that may occur. (fire, flooding, propulsion plant casualties, etc.). Sometimes there are scheduled drill periods, sometimes not. One thing is for sure. When the real thing happens you will be thankful for all of the drills because the training kicks in and you pretty much go on auto-pilot. Real casualties are usually over almost as quickly as they happen because the crews are that well trained. Every fire I've seen on a submarine has been put out by a guy in his underwear and shower shoes. (Because he was the one doing laundry when the dryer caught on fire.)

Off crew (for SSBN/SSGN). Off crew on my last SSBN was a world apart from my first SSBN. Off crew used to be a good deal with most Fridays off and short workdays the rest of the week, but not so much anymore. Now The days are packed with training, simulators, command PT, and other things that make for a full week. Nukes get the privilege of waiting for the officers to finish their simulator training at 5:00 PM to have engineering Department training at 6:00. The bright side of the whole thing is that at least the boat is at sea and you're not on it.

Deployments. Fast boats will typically work in a 2 year cycle for deployments. That is a 6 month deployment with 18 months until the next deployment. That is by no means implying that you will not go to sea in those 18 months. You will generally have 2 major maintenance periods during those 18 months sandwiched between local operations for training, VIP rides, inspections, etc. SSBN/SSGN's have their patrol cycle. A crew will take the boat, do an approximately one month maintenance period, go on patrol for 2-3 months, come home, and turn the boat back over to the other crew. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Those are some general highlights on sub life. If you want specifics feel free to ask.
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