Friday, April 13, 2018

A to Z Challenge - L is for Life Aboard a Navy Ship

The larger ships (such as aircraft carriers) are small cities, with more than 5,000 sailors aboard.  There are cooks; medical personnel; communication and computer specialists; finance, administrative, and law clerks; and pretty much every single Navy job.

Some ratings (jobs) spend more time deployed at sea than others. For example, aircrew and aircraft maintenance, sonar technicians, boatswain mates, and more.

Most Sailors are assigned to ships or submarines for three year periods, followed by three years of shore duty. That does not mean they will be deployed to sea for the entire three years they are assigned to a ship or submarine. The ships and subs also spend a significant amount of time docked at their home port for regular maintenance for both machine and crew.

Most ships deploy to sea duty for 6-9 months at a time. Then they return to their home port for 4-5 months (during which time there will be several 1-2 week training cruises).  Because of the nature of the work, the living conditions, and the limited space for onboard supplies, submarines typically have shorter deployments (typically 3-6 months).  One great thing about coming back home to port is you will always be near the beach!

Not that long ago, all junior enlisted unmarried sailors who were assigned to a ship lived on the ship even when that ship was in home port for months at a time.

That meant that a junior enlisted unmarried sailor would have a locker and a rack (bed) of a few dozen square feet to himself, and not much else.

And in most cases, sailors had to share their quarters (not their rack!) with a roommate.

More recently, the Navy built junior enlisted barracks on many of its bases, reducing the number of junior sailors who live aboard ships.

Meals are eaten on the mess deck – an area shared by Sailors on board that also doubles as a place to relax outside of meal hours.  During "off" hours when you're not on watch or doing your other job responsibilities, you have free time to work out, watch movies, study for qualifications, take online classes, and other pursuits.

Blogs and videos:

What's next for M?
M is for Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).  What is MEPS?  Why do you go there?  What do you do there?  Which branch of the military uses it?  Come back tomorrow and find out!


  1. My daughter spent several tours aboard a cruiser (USS Bunker Hill). work is 24/7 when you're at sea, even if there's a day off!

    Loving your posts!

    1. Yep, it's hard to "get away" from work when you live at your place of employment and there's no opportunity to "get away". Please thank your daughter for her service.

  2. It just amazes me how big some of these ships are - like floating cities. I don't think I would enjoy living in such cramped quarters.

    1. Even the big carriers seem cramped below decks. I can't imagine being on a submarine for 3-6 months!

  3. You would really need to have a certain personality to be able to cope with this kind of life. I suspect it would drive me crazy!

    Aussie Children’s Writers - M Is For Elyne Mitchell

    1. The recruiters tried to get my son to be on a sub, but he wanted a job with "outside" time.

  4. The Hub spent time on navy ships (when they were transporting his armoured vehicle). It's put him off wanting to go on a holiday cruise (although a family reunion on one next year has forced his hand *grin*)