The SkywalkerSwartz Blog

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Frequently Asked Questions about Submarines

Having returned from a ride on the ALABAMA, I thought I'd post answers to questions folks have been asking me:

Do you have any windows?
Nope. NR-1, the Navy's research submarine, has a window, but that's about it.

But don't you want to see the fish?
Well, seeing as sunlight only penetrates down a few dozen feet, you wouldn't be able to see them without a powerful light anyway. However, I did get to see about two dozen dolphins jumping around just outside of San Diego through the periscope!

Is the nuclear power plant like The Simpsons?
Exactly. I spend 100% of my day eating jelly doughnuts and saying "Doh!"

Don't you get claustophobic?
Despite the fact that our "racks" (beds) are called "coffins," no. It's very much like having to stay inside for days at a time with the windowshades drawn.

Do you get email?
Yes, depending on the ship's schedule, we can both send and receive email. This is an improvement from the Cold War days when sailors would get only short, telegram-like "family-grams" every month or so.

What's it like?
Probably the hardest thing to get used to is the schedule. Pretty much everybody is in one of three "watch sections," which rotate every 6 hours. Thus, you are up for 12 hours (6 of which is watch), sleep for 6, up for 12, sleep for 6...always getting up at a different time (due to the 18-hour vice 24-hour day).

For more FAQs, see the excellent Boomersailors page.



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