Are you a mariner? Are you about to have your first ship-based deployment and you are curious about what awaits you? Do you want some information about what to expect when you have boarded the ship? If you are bothered about all the questions above then you are in the right place. Grab a cup of popcorn, sit tight and read through this article because in this article I’ll be telling what life is like on a Navy ship.
Boarding the ship
Upon boarding the ship, one of the things you may likely realize is that the ship is a dark place and that is mostly because the ship is can sometimes be poorly lit. Being in the dark for a long time will make you lose a sense of time and may result in making feel down emotionally, that’s why it’s important to get some sun when you can. Depending on the ship you’ll be on, there are usually several spots around the ship that have openings where you can receive sunlight – if you go at the right time. Life on the ship can get boring most times, weird, you’ll feel cramped, and it does smell.
The gym on the ship
On the ship, you are bound to be mentally stressed, hence, hitting the gym regularly is necessary if you want to relieve yourself of the stress that comes with living on a Navy ship. You can choose to run on the treadmill, do pushups, do yoga, and just about anything – the goal is to move your body because you’ll need it when you’ll be required to climb the ladderwell. What if I’m being deployed to a smaller ship that doesn’t have fully equipped gyms, how do I go about doing PT (Physical Training)? That shouldn’t be a problem, in such a case you’ll have to apply everything you learnt at boot camp, that’s where your body and gravity come into play.
Food on the ship
Don’t get on the ship thinking you’ll enjoy meals like the ones prepared by your wife at home. In reality, the food on the ship isn’t the least bit appealing. The food you’ll get to eat on ship won’t be able to win a cooking competition but it’ll keep you alive at the very least. Added to the poor feeding habit, you might get sick sometimes and this time, it may not be because of the food but because of how cramped the quarters you’ll be living in are, and we all know that it’s easier for viruses to spread in such areas so you should be on the lookout for that. On the ship, sleep is essential. Why? Because you don’t get enough time to sleep, you’ll always have something to do every hour of the day so nighttime is usually precious to every mariner. If you can’t sleep properly at night, it’ll affect your performance during the day which could end up reducing your pay that’s why it’s important that when you are preparing to board the ship, you make fleet sheets part of your packing list to help you sleep better. Also, chow time is a great time to converse with more people other than the people in your work centre.
If you have never spent time on a ship before, then you may likely develop seasickness. If you do, don’t worry about it too much, with time your body will adjust to the constant equilibrium changes and as my friends would put it, “at that point, you’ll develop your sea legs.”
Note that space on the ship is very limited. You’ll have a locker where you can store all your valuables and a seabag to keep less valuable items. You’ll get to sleep on racks that are usually stacked together (it could get up to 3 or 4 high on top of each other). Before boarding the ship, carry some non-perishable that can get through a few months on the ship (1 or 2 months will do just fine), add protein bars, dried fruits, nuts, etc.
The internet connection on the ship will be quite different from what you are usually used to, so don’t be surprised if you are not able to binge-watch your favourite shows on Netflix. A better way to go about it would be to download lots of movies and keep them saved on your laptop. Carry backup chargers for all your electronics because if yours should get spoilt while you have already boarded the boat, it’ll be quite difficult to get a new one. There are times where you’ll experience reduced communications and during those times, you won’t be able to check your Twitter feeds or read your Emails and it could last a few weeks or days depending on how long the operational security will last so do well to carry along with you some books you can read during those times or cards you can play with your friends.