Life for an O Boats Crew As It Use To Be Circa 1960-80

Author unknown and published in situ

1.Other than hands and teeth you did not wash. Up to 12 week patrols
2.You never undressed, except footwear, to turn in your bunk or any other time
3.You never ever had more than 5.5 hours un-interrupted sleep
4.All your kit has to fit into 50cm X40cmX40cm locker or under your mattress
5.You “will” smell of diesel plus body odours
6.In general divided into three watches when dived. 2 hour watches 8am to 8 pm then 3 hour watches back to 8am. Four watches on the surface paasage routine.
7.All rates kept watches except the Steward, two chefs,CERA and Coxswain
8.No air conditioning in hot climates
9.Little heating in cold climates
10.When surface running, a 30 knot wind, of the outside ambient temperature, will pass down the tower thru the control room and engine room. You could of course go on watch in the sound room in T shirt and jeans then surface in North Atlantic in winter and get stuck on the helm with no chance to get warm clothing until all settles down.
11.In harbour when charging the batteries the same wind will pass from the accommodation hatch to the engine room.
12.No shaving except last night of the patrol
13.In wet or rough weather on the surface vast quantities of water come into the control room some to be caught by the Elephants Trunk and Bird Bath the rest you mop up.
14.There is no place or opportunity to dry anything
15.If a visitor or very junior member of the crew you may have to sleep with a Mk 48 torpedo, sacks of vegetables, full gash bags and sundry other gear.
16.At what ever time you surface you will have to get up to assist in ditching gash
17.You will never be left inboard unless sick which means a pierhead jump for some other poor numphty, or the boat is day running out of Slackers
18.Once the fifty odd crates of beer are used up by the 68 man crew, no beer.
19.Multi choice at meals, no bunhouse galley, 1. Take it, 2 Leave it, 3 Wear it
20.When snorting the air pressure inside the boat will vary from 21 inches to 30 inches normal is about 30 inches your ear drums soon become flexible and will pop in your sleep. (mine still do when I fly)
21.Your bedding will be a khaki nylon sleeping bag and pillow.
22.Foulweather and water proof clothing will be blue plastic/nylon, gortex had not been invented. Reasonably dry but sweat like a pig.
23.Heads, three traps with doors, do not shut if going deep or you will be in there until you come shallow..

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