Celebrities have security teams and bodyguards for lots of reasons. Some need safety from fans, others from stalkers, and some from other celebrities. Plus, everyone knows that walking around with a team of bodyguards makes you look pretty important. It definitely makes you look rich! While some celebs have bodyguards just for certain events, others are flanked at all times. Let’s take a look at the specially secured celebrities that are always with a bodyguard.
Understandably, mega star Lady Gaga needs security at all times. The popstar has millions of Little Monsters, and some people that are seriously obsessed with her. For this reason, Gaga is always seen with security when she’s out and about.
Some celebrity bodyguards end up with followings of their own. Pete van der Veen worked for Lady Gaga for years, and even featured on one of her tracks. The Dutch bodyguard is also a bodybuilder, and even once won a beauty contest.
Actors from major franchises are in particular need of extra security. Daniel Radcliffe played the boy who lived for over a decade, gaining him lots of fans all over the world. One of his bodyguards is named Sam (pictured) and he’s apparently “never more than an arm’s length away” from the star.
Sam has to plan out how he’ll get Daniel Radcliffe to the bathroom without screaming fans mobbing the actor. He has been described as like one of Radcliffe’s older brothers.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z
Apparently, when Blue Ivy Carter was dropped at preschool by a security motorcade and three bodyguards, the other parents complained. But what else would super stars Bey and Jay do? The couple have been attacked by fans several times, leading them to tighten up their operation.
Famously, one of the Carters’ bodyguards is Julius DeBoer (pictured). This bodyguard is one of the few people in the world that knows what went down in that elevator. DeBoer pulled Solange off Jay-Z in the well-publicized incident.
When Cardi B stepped out with her bodyguard, the internet collectively swiveled its head. The rather attractive looking bodyguard is named Price, and now has his own Instagram following. Multiple articles popped up discussing the suave looking security guard, with fans even telling rapper Offset to watch his back.
Apparently the fashionable bodyguard has a son, and has made supportive posts featuring Cardi and Kulture. The only thing is, we’re not sure this bodyguard would keep people away…
Look, rapper 50 Cent—or Curtis James Jackson III—has been shot nine times. If you had been shot nine times, wouldn’t you hire security to follow you at all times? We sure would. The star was attacked in 2000, allegedly by a man that had worked as Mike Tyson’s bodyguard. During the shooting, the star’s son and grandmother were present.
It took 50 Cent five months to recover from the attack. It’s thought that the shooting was revenge for the rapper’s song “Ghetto Qur’an.”
It’s no surprise that supermodel Bella Hadid hires her own security team. After all, a strange man picked up her sister Gigi at Milan Fashion Week—that would be enough to convince us to hire a bodyguard! Bella always travels with security, and one of her guards, Simon Newton has been praised for his fashion forward looks.
However, Bella has stepped in to reprimand her security. On one occasion, they pushed a female paparazzi, prompting the model to say, “Do not! Can you please? Don’t touch her.”
Famously, Kim Kardashian was held in an armed robbery in a hotel in Paris. At the time, the star’s bodyguard, Pascal Duvier (pictured), was in a club with Kar-Jenner siblings Kourtney and Kendall. Just days before, Duvier had stopped Vitalli Sediuk from assaulting Kim, and she tweeted calling him “a G.”
Pascal Duvier was in the German army, and first worked for Kanye West. The experienced bodyguard has also worked for the Black Eyed Peas, Nick Jonas and Frank Ocean. After the robbery, Kim stepped up security.
Famously, singer Whitney Houston starred in The Bodyguard, a movie about a superstar and her relationship with her bodyguard. Indeed, the film was partly based on Houston’s bodyguard, David Roberts, a Welsh former police officer.
Tragically, David Roberts worked for Whitney Houston between 1988-1995 but was fired for expressing concerns about her wellbeing. Since the singer’s passing, Roberts has commented that she might be alive if his concerns hadn’t been ignored. He has said, “It was part of my duty […] to protect them from themselves.”
Action star Tom Cruise only wants top level bodyguards around him. At one point, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise were protected by bodyguard Sean Ringgold. However, in 2009 Ringgold started his own successful acting career.
Tom Cruise has also been protected by Mark “Billy” Billingham, who now stars in UK military reality TV series SAS: Who Dares Wins. The former sniper and SWAT officer has also worked for Brangelina, Kate Moss, Hulk Hogan, Michael Caine, and Russell Crowe.
Drake’s entourage aren’t to be messed with. In fact, the rapper’s security team have been connected to several violent incidents. There are videos of the bodyguards yelling at people, and being physically aggressive. A former sever at a West Hollywood restaurant claims Drake’s bodyguards beat him up.
On another occasion, Drake and his entourage were involved in a massive fight with Chris Brown and his crew. Then, in 2017, the star’s team bullied drivers in Toronto so Drake’s motorcade could pass.
The Beckham Family
David Beckham has said that he would love to walk down the street with his family, but they’re simply too famous. Instead, Becks picks his kids up from school in a bulletproof Rolls Royce and two cars full of security guards. One of the Beckham’s longtime bodyguards is Bobby Rich (pictured).
If Brooklyn Beckham pops out for ice-cream, you’ll see Bobby Rich somewhere beside him. The bodyguard represented Great Britain in judo and has a black belt in Brazilian ju-jitsu. He is also a personal trainer!
How absurd is this photograph of Justin Bieber on a date with his bodyguard? Though Biebs is undeniably mobbed by fans everywhere he goes, this seems a little excessive. However, we bet his date felt nice and protected.
Now, Justin Bieber’s head of security is Michael Arana, and he organizes the rest of the team. The Beliebers are organized when it comes to supporting their man, and fan page “Bieber Bodyguards” supports the star and “the men who keep him safe.”
After the Paris robbery on Kim Kardashian, both Kim and Kanye stepped up their security (as did the rest of the Kar-Jenner family). While Kanye West used to walk alone or with just one guard, now he’s surrounded at all times and travels in a bulletproof car.
One of Kanye’s bodyguards was former police officer turned exotic dancer Savage Steve. After the pair parted ways, the bodyguard claimed Kanye was the “neediest” celebrity he’d ever worked with. We buy that!
Socialite Paris Hilton has always played the role of rich girl well. Of course, she is actually a rich girl, but for years the heiress has played up the idea of herself as an out-of-touch blonde. As part of her ever-so-Paris persona, the star likes to surround herself with handsome bodyguards.
When Paris was proposed to by Chris Zylka, she hired 24/7 security to protect her and the 22 carat multi-million dollar ring. As it turns out, the relationship didn’t last, but we bet that ring stayed safe!
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Remember Mark “Billy” Billingham, the former sniper who protected Tom Cruise? Well here he is again. Mark Billingham worked for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, becoming very close with the family. Actually, Billingham has claimed that he basically “fathered” the couple’s six children.
Apparently Brangelina has fingerprint scanning locks at their homes and a cybersecurity team to monitor their kids online. Billingham was the couple’s head of security and has commented that “the military set me up perfectly for what I did with them.”
When the internet caught sight of Kylie Jenner’s bodyguard, they took to Twitter to show their support. Actually, some fans became so obsessed with Tim Chung (pictured) that they decided he was actually the father of the reality star’s baby, Stormi.
While he no longer works for the family, Tim Chung was the bodyguard for Kylie, Kourtney, Kim and Kanye too. Apparently, Chung is also in the LAPD, and works as a professional model. This guy is seriously well-rounded!
It’s now known that popstar Britney Spears has been under a controlling and abusive conservatorship for years. Because of her situation, it’s likely that Britney’s father hires her security guards.
Since Britney’s explosive testimony about her conservatorship, various former staff members have come forward. One of the star’s former bodyguards, Fernando Flores (pictured), has confirmed the singer’s testimony that Jamie Spears controls and abuses her. Reports used to claim that Spears was uncooperative with staff, but now that all makes much more sense.
Action star Bruce Willis has always had bodyguards, and often develops friendships with them. Willis met former bodyguard Michael Clarke Duncan when he was cast as Bear in Armageddon. The pair became friends and Willis influenced Duncan to land the role of John Coffey in The Green Mile.
Before that, Michael Clarke Duncan was a bodyguard for Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Notorious B.I.G. He had always wanted to act, and stopped being a bodyguard when Biggie was murdered.
If you were as a big a sitcom star as Jennifer Aniston, you’d never be caught without a bodyguard. Seriously—think of how many people must scream quotations and catchphrases at her every single day! “We were on a break!” “It’s a metaphor Daddy!” “I’m gonna’ go get one of those job things!”
Jen is usually seen with three male bodyguards at all time. With this level of security, the A-Lister can feel safe and secure while out and about.
Here’s another celebrity that’s been in an absolutely huge franchise. Though actress Kristen Stewart is known to be very private, she still needs to hire bodyguards to maintain her privacy. Twilight fans aren’t exactly lowkey…we’re just saying.
One of Kristen Stewart’s bodyguards ended up with his own following and became known as “The Original Hot Bodyguard.” This same handsome bodyguard also protected actresses Emilia Clarke and Nina Dobrev. According to Stewart, he was a good sport about all of the media attention he received.
Celebrities need bodyguards regardless of their own size and shape. Once you’re world famous, there’s no way of predicting the ways people might try to harm you. It’s grim, but it’s true.
English actor Tom Hardy is often seen with his bodyguard “Big John” (pictured). The star’s bodyguard has been spotted carrying a folding knife, and carries high power flashlights to shine in the eyes of potential attackers. With Big John involved, we don’t think anyone will bother targeting Tom Hardy.
There are lots of online pictures of popstar and billionaire Rihanna riding on the shoulders or backs of her bodyguards. In fact, when she’s at concerts and needs a better view, her security team come in very handy.
At one stage, one of the Barbadian singer’s bodyguards was involved in a physical altercation outside a club in London. Apparently, the bodyguard punched a photographer who wouldn’t move back from the star’s vehicle. On another occasion, a bodyguard slammed the car door in Rihanna’s face!
When actress Katie Holmes was married to action star Tom Cruise, the couple shared a security team. It’s no surprise that the rather intense Cruise wanted to make sure his wife and daughter were safe at all times.
However, after the couple broke up, Katie Holmes had other reasons to need her own security detail. The actress was scared of her ex’s Scientology links, and her father ended up firing every staffer with a connection to Cruise. Now, the star is always flanked by guards.
You’d be right to notice that this picture doesn’t really look like the others on this list (except perhaps for the snap of Bruce Willis and Michael Clarke Duncan). Here we have actor Ezra Miller with his bodyguard, Gu Rubee.
Gu Rubee is a flamboyant dresser and describes himself on Facebook as a “Yogi, Martial Artist, Trainer, Spiritual Advisor, Bodyguard & MUCH MORE!” Personally, we’d like to hang out with Ezra Miller and Gu Rubee—they look like they’d have a good time.
Jennifer Lawrence’s bodyguard Greg Lenz (pictured) is another person that ended up going viral. The handsome former model was snapped carrying J Law’s chihuahua, and that’s basically enough for the internet to make 1000 fan pages. Apperently Greg Lenz worked for the actress for some time, and can be spotted in the background of photos from the Hunger Games sets.
Greg Lenz isn’t the only handsome bodyguard to spotted with J Law. Justin Riblet also went viral when he was seen with the star at LAX.
Shakira knows that when it comes to keeping herself safe, there’s nothing like a big brother. That’s why, in addition to various guards, the pint-sized singer has also enlisted the help of her older half-brother, Tonino Mebarak.
While Mebarak is now based in Miami, Florida, he is often spotted next to his pop star sister. The former watch dealer has often been photographed guarding his younger sister when paparazzi or fans get too close.
Jennifer Lopez is not known for her subtlety – whether it’s her designer wardrobe or pricey jewels, the pop diva and actress knows how to travel in style. Her most important accessory?
The throng of bodyguards and assistants that seem to accompany the star wherever she goes. In September of 2021, Lopez was faced with an overly aggressive fan. While her boyfriend, Ben Affleck, was able to hold the fan off, her team of bodyguards soon stepped in to help.
Just like the pop star herself, Madonna’s bodyguards seem to make the news also. In the early 90s, the star dated James Albright, her former bodyguard.
In 2013, it was revealed that she sent her bodyguard to chaperone one of her daughter Lourdes’ dates with actor Timothée Chalamet. Given that Madonna is one of the biggest stars on the planet, it’s no surprise that she has an unusually close relationship with the people she hires to protect her.
Cheryl Cole may not be familiar to most Americans, but she is one of the biggest pop stars in the U.K. Cole is known for being a member of the band Girls Aloud, and for being a judge on the U.K. version of The X-Factor.
Cole also made headlines when it emerged that she skipped out on paying her security guard, Craig Balkam, when she starred on the American version of The X-Factor. These days, the pop princess is being protected by Irish bodyguard, Patrick O’Brien.
Even though Christina Aguilera is one of the biggest pop stars in the world, she is actually quite tiny. The singer is only slightly over five feet tall and looks even smaller when compared to her massive bodyguards.
In 2003, the “Genie in a Bottle” singer made headlines when her bodyguard was involved in a physical altercation with a paparazzi photographer in Los Angeles. These days, the singer and her bodyguards have chosen to keep a low profile.
Johnny Depp is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, but lately, his personal life has been gaining more attention than his acting. The actor has frequently been in the headlines for his tumultuous relationship with ex-wife Amber Heard.
Even the actor’s bodyguards were dragged into his legal battles. The actor also made the news when in 2018, it emerged that the actor was being sued by two former bodyguards for unpaid wages and for “unsafe” working conditions.
Being a celebrity bodyguard can come with many perks including a relationship with a supermodel! In 2012, model Heidi Klum began dating her South African bodyguard Martin Kirsten.
While Kirsten had worked with the supermodel for several years, their relationship didn’t become romantic until after she separated from the singer Seal. The two dated for over a year, and it was reported that the model frequently gave the security guard money and even a house in his home country of South Africa.
Former Black Eyed Peas member and singer, Fergie, decided to turn to celebrity bodyguard Pascal Duvier for all of her security needs. The bodyguard to the stars became famous when it was reported that Kim Kardashian had fired him after her infamous Paris robbery scare.
While Duvier’s bodyguard skills weren’t enough for the reality star, Fergie seemed pleased to have the towering bodyguard around. Duvier has been spotted alongside the star as she travels the world.
Celebrity bodyguards are usually the background characters in their celebrity clients’ lives. That said, some bodyguards often get more attention than the stars they work for. Katy Perry’s bodyguard gained attention when fans began noticing his similarity to actor Hugh Jackman.
With his toned physique and brown eyes, it’s hard not to see a resemblance to the Australian actor. The still-unnamed bodyguard has attracted a following on social media and has appeared on several lists of most attractive bodyguards.
It might seem strange that someone with Jason Momoa’s build would need a bodyguard, but sometimes Hollywood can be a strange place. The Game of Thrones star was spotted with several bodyguards prompting fans to ask, “what’s the point?”
The picture of the Aquaman star, and his considerably smaller bodyguards, inspired countless memes and hilarious comments. While there must have been a reason why these bodyguards were hired, it’s still quite a funny sight to see.
Though he has passed away, Chanel’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld was often spotted with his longtime confidant and bodyguard Sébastien Jondeau. Jondeau met the designer when he was still a teenager, but quickly began working for Lagerfeld and even appearing in his fashion campaigns.
Jondeau has said that his relationship with Lagerfeld was more like a father-son bond despite being employed by him. In early 2021, the former bodyguard and personal assistant released a tell-all book about his close relationship with the late fashion designer.
Few people know that pop star Taylor Swift has had several dangerously close encounters with stalkers in the past. The singer has admitted that she even keeps an emergency kit in her house in the event that something happens to her, including military-grade bandages.
Following several events involving stalkers, the singer has often been seen with her security entourage which includes a former police officer. The singer’s bodyguards are apparently in such demand that they accompanied Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their recent trip to New York City.
Walking the red carpet can be a great way for celebrities to meet and greet their fans. Unfortunately, getting so close to the public can also become a dangerous situation if a fan decides to get a bit too aggressive or pushy.
For this reason, stars can often be seen next to a throng of security guards in order to protect them from any overzealous fans. This picture of Amy Adams’ security guard had the internet commenting on how attractive the bodyguard was, with the unnamed guard making Yahoo’s list of “Celebrities With Super Hot Bodyguards”.
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds
She might be married to The Hitman’s Bodyguard star Ryan Reynolds, but actress Blake Lively still occasionally needs the help of professional bodyguards.
Filming the teen drama, Gossip Girl, often meant spending hours on the streets of New York City where the show takes place. Lively was often seen next to her bodyguards in between takes. Despite the professional help, Reynolds still jokes that his wife would make a better bodyguard than him!
Being an in-demand model can sometimes mean needing extra protection. Model and actress Cara Delevingne must have been happy to have her security around when, in 2013, she and best friend Rihanna were attacked by a man in a London nightclub.
While the bodyguard and singer were slightly injured, things could have been far worse. These days, the model can be frequently seen shopping and clubbing, all under the close supervision of her bodyguards.
While Halle Berry wasn’t always known for having a large security entourage, having a child changed everything. Following the birth of her daughter, Nahla, Berry began receiving disturbing threats. She immediately hired bodyguards to watch over her daughter.
Those guards also came in handy when her ex and Nahla’s father, Gabriel Aubry, got into a physical altercation with her boyfriend at the time, Olivier Martinez. We’re sure the Oscar-winning actress isn’t taking chances and still keeps her bodyguards around, just in case.
Actress Scarlett Johansson might play a superhero on the big screen, but that doesn’t mean she’s above hiring professional bodyguards on occasion. The Black Widow star has often been seen hitting the red carpet with her security team in tow.
When she’s not on the red carpet, however, the actress prefers to keep a lower profile. Considering how much training she did for her role as the superhero, we think she’ll stick to protecting herself in the future.
Being one of the most well-known pop icons, the need for professional bodyguards would be obvious. Yet, to Cher, the need only arose after a particularly violent episode early in her career when a man physically assaulted her.
While her manager was finally able to pull the man off, she realized she needed bodyguards. For many years, she employed Michael Francis as her personal bodyguard. Though he was hired after the star received death threats, their relationship turned into a friendship with Francis calling her “a sister.”
He may play a super-strong and immortal vampire in the Twilight series, but even Robert Pattinson sometimes needs to hire professional bodyguards. The actor is frequently spotted next to an entourage of security guards following his meteoric rise to fame as the teen vampire, Edward Cullen.
It seemed that for many years, the actor couldn’t leave his home without being swarmed by crowds of screaming fans. While “Twilight-Mania” may have faded, the actor will probably be back in the spotlight with his upcoming role in the new Batman movie.
Popstar Billie Eilish may not seem like the type to be surrounded by an entire entourage of minders, but the singer decided to hire professional help after a particularly scary incident.
In 2019, the singer hired a bodyguard to sleep in her living room after her address was made public and several fans entered her home. Eilish has also had to have security protect her from overzealous fans at her concerts after several got a bit too rough with her.
Following her role in the Transformers films, actress Megan Fox became one of the most popular women in Hollywood. With her fame, came the need to hire professional bodyguards.
These security experts came in handy when, in 2021, a violent altercation broke out between the actress’ boyfriend Machine Gun Kelly, and UFC star Conor McGregor. For a short period of time, the actress was caught in between the two men, only to be saved when security intervened.
Having been in the spotlight since she was a child, fame is nothing new for actress-turned-singer Miley Cyrus. That said, Cyrus began beefing up her security after an overly aggressive fan tried to kiss her in 2019.
The singer continues to rely on her security personnel to protect her from crowds of unpredictable fans. One video, which recently made headlines, showed the singer and her bodyguards fighting off a crowd of fans outside of her New York City hotel.
While some celebrities have regular bodyguards, boxing champion Floyd Mayweather has his own “Money Team”. Mayweather gave his entourage the name due to the fact that they handle the large sums of cash that Mayweather frequently has on him.
Sporting “TMT” shirts, the security team is so loyal to the boxer that one even took a bullet for Mayweather in 2018. Mayweather is usually seen with anywhere from four to eight members of his TMT security detail.
Being part of one of the biggest boy bands in history can sometimes mean dealing with large crowds of adoring fans. While these fans are usually harmless, things can take a dangerous turn at any moment.
In February of 2020, the former One Direction band member was robbed at knifepoint in London. The incident left the singer shaken up, and prompted him to increase his security team with the addition of a particularly tall bodyguard – much to the internet’s delight! Countless memes and comments were made about how small Styles looked next to the bodyguard.
Fame can have many downsides including having to deal with aggressive paparazzi. These camera-wielding men and women will often provoke or harass celebrities in order to get the best shot. For actress Nicole Kidman, handling overly aggressive photographers has been part of her life since becoming famous.
After several close encounters, the Australian actress has decided to entrust her safety and the safety of her family to professional bodyguards. Kidman is often photographed close to her security team and even travels worldwide with them.
Celebrity bodyguards are trained to be able to handle some of the most extreme situations that may arise. This training was put to use when Demi Lovato’s bodyguard, Max Lea, found the singer unconscious after a bad reaction to an illicit substance.
Lea jumped into action and helped lift the singer in order to help her breathe. His heroic action is believed to have saved the pop star while they waited for paramedics to arrive.
For some celebrities, bodyguards are more than just people that provide protection, they’re practically family! When Gwen Stefani was just starting her career as a member of the band No Doubt, she became close with the band’s security guard, Curtis Garrett.
Unfortunately for Stefani and the other members of No Doubt, Garrett passed away in 2021. Fans of the band took to social media to express their sadness and send their condolences as many remember Garrett being a fixture at the band’s concerts.
Selena Gomez understands the importance of having a bodyguard nearby. After several frightening experiences including a home invasion and dealing with a stalker, the singer prefers to be safe than sorry.
The petite pop star is usually seen near her significantly larger bodyguards. Whether they’re by her side at the airport, or on the red carpet, her security team is always ready to leap into action to protect the star.
As the daughter of Stephen Baldwin, the world of celebrities and bodyguards is nothing new to Hailey Bieber. Despite being accustomed to fame, the model couldn’t imagine how much more exposure she would get when she married pop star Justin Bieber.
Since her marriage, the model has had to amp up her security after being targeted by some aggressive paparazzi. While her superstar husband is rarely seen without bodyguards, his wife has also had to follow suit.
Megan Thee Stallion
It’s rare that a celebrity’s bodyguard will become more famous than the celebrity themselves. For rapper Megan Thee Stallion, the media focus shifted to her bodyguard after it was revealed that the rapper was shot.
Fans of the artist immediately took to social media, demanding to know why bodyguard Justin Edison didn’t help Megan. Edison eventually calmed fans by reassuring them that he would always be there in the future. At 6’4, the former college football player is someone you would want by your side.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar and his bodyguard also went viral, but not for the same reasons as some others on this list. When a picture circulated of the pint sized rapper walking behind his extremely tall bodyguard, many memes were made. In particular, people compared the pair to Game of Thrones characters Bran Stark and Hodor (hilarious).
The “King Kunta” rapper is very low key and avoids being seen in public. Like The Carters, the star rarely gives interviews or appears on magazine covers.
Remember Lady Gaga’s former bodybuilder bodyguard that opened this list? Well here he is again! Dutch bodyguard Peter Van der Veen has also worked for English singer Adele. Specifically, he guarded her during the press tour for her third studio album 25, released in 2015.
As they had done before, internet fans swooned for Peter Van der Veen, complimenting his striking eyes and smart casual ensembles. It must be strange for these otherwise private men to suddenly find themselves the center of attention!
There’s something about a tiny celebrity and a large bodyguard—it just makes for a good photo. Here we have Australian popstar Kylie Minogue with one of her bodyguards. Like some other security teams on this list, Kylie’s team have been involved in some physical altercations.
Back in 2009, Kylie Minogue arrived at Los Angeles international airport to a group of paparazzi and fans. While trying to get into their vehicle, one of Kylie’s guards ended up pushing a female paparazzi. The incident ended up on TMZ.
If you’re the richest African American of the 20th century, it’s probably best you don’t go anywhere without some protection. Oprah Winfrey is always seen with security, because no one is getting close to the Queen of Media’s billions.
Like several others on this list, one of Oprah Winfrey’s bodyguards ended up having a successful acting career. Michael Jai White is a martial artist in eight different styles, and went on to become the first African American to portray a major comic book superhero in a major movie.
Finally, we close with this rather amusing picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot and her security team. When this picture—and a similar one with Gadot’s DC co-star Jason Momoa circulated, fans commented that the stars looked like they were the bodyguards.
Really, this makes total sense, considering Jason Momoa plays Aquaman and Gal Gadot plays Wonder Woman. While these bodyguards mightn’t be larger than their celebrity client, we bet they can hold their own in a scuffle.
30+ Things We Didn’t Know About Life on a Submarine
A Much-Needed Switch
Prior to 2014, the submarine force had 18-hour days in which sailors stood watch for six hours, and had 12 hours off for other duties as well as sleep. Thanks to a few junior officers, though, it was agreed to change those watches to eight hours, with 16 hours off.
According to the officers, this switch had an immediate positive effect. Not only have people improved in their performances, but this switch also increased morale on the boat.
There’s No “I” in Team
Stealing anywhere should be prohibited, but you’re probably wondering why we’re placing such an emphasis on theft here. Well, it turns out that there are some serious consequences for those who steal whilst on a submarine.
One way or another, the thief will get caught. Once that happens, they’re kicked off the boat at the next port. Not only that, but this kind of incident can (unsurprisingly) cause demotions and rank drops. These consequences make sense considering the fact that these people are supposed to be a team.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Sharing is caring.” Well, that sentiment is slightly different if you’re living aboard a submarine. Submarines don’t have bunks for each of the passengers. In this case, two to three people usually share the same bunk with each other.
How? When one person’s shift ends, they wake up another passenger who’s sleeping in the bunk. This happens so often that submariners have even come up with a term called hot racking, which refers to the warm spot on the bed that someone else leaves behind after sleeping there for six hours.
The Dolphin Pin
Dolphins are the cutest, right? Did you know that dolphins are also extraordinarily honorable? Well, submariners are well aware of that. Officers have to work really hard to earn the highest honor from their commanders while living onboard a submarine.
The only way to get the dolphin pin as a marine is to memorize how the submarine works and learn how to use the boat as a weapon. Then, you’d have to sit down for a test and ace it with flying colors.
They Call Beds “Coffins”
Living aboard a submarine, which is basically an underwater metal tube, can be quite an eery thought if you really think about it. With that said, it’s only fitting that officers call the beds where they bunk “coffins.” Yes — you read that right.
An interesting nickname, we’re not sure how comfortable we’d feel laying down in a graveyard of sorts. Of course, we’re only kidding but nonetheless, it’s an interesting nickname for the bunkers.
The officers and marines that live aboard submarines learn and train themselves to sleep anytime, anywhere — so much so that you can have a full-on conversation next to someone that’s sleeping, and they won’t wake up.
Call their name once in a lower tone, though, and they’ll be up in no time. If only we had that skill. We’d take a nap or catch some shut-eye anywhere and everywhere!
Submerged for Weeks or Months
Considering that submarines operate underwater, or at the bottom of the ocean, it’s very rare to see daylight and nightfall. So, it’s incredibly easy to lose track of the time once you’re inside an operating submarine — especially considering the fact that these boats can stay submerged for weeks or even months at a time.
Still, if you’re ever aboard a submarine, don’t fret — you will have access to a clock! The point is, you’ll probably find it incredibly challenging to figure out what time it is without looking at the clock.
Lower Levels of Oxygen
Submarines keep oxygen levels extremely low, and although this is for safety reasons, this can have some serious side effects. For instance, lower oxygen makes it more of a challenge for your body to heal if it’s been injured.
While that’s typically not a problem, if you end up cutting yourself while working aboard a submarine, you probably won’t be the happiest of campers. Aside from the fact that your wound would constantly ooze because it can’t heal properly, lower oxygen can also cause your energy levels to drop and contribute to mood swings.
Sleeping With Nukes
Cramped living conditions may not sound so bad at first. In fact, some may find these small spaces to be cozy — that is, until they realize they have to share the same space with massively destructive weapons.
Although an off-putting thought, you better get used to being around ballistic missiles, torpedoes, and even nuclear warheads for months at a time.
Free Time in the Mess
As we’ve already mentioned, submarines lack space, and this limits what the crew can get up to during their designated free time. In most cases, crew members like to hang out in the mess hall.
This communal area typically includes a few big television sets and a DVD library. This way, the passengers can get some sort of entertainment whilst deep down under.
Electronics Will Guide You Home
Suppose you’re going somewhere that you’re not totally familiar with, so you stop and ask someone for directions. Well, aboard submarines, you can’t really do this.
As we all know, submarines glide through the water, relying solely on electronics and sophisticated machines in order to navigate. In other words, your life is dependent on electronic machines.
Months on End
You might be in love with submarine life and perhaps you’re planning on becoming a top-tier expert submariner, but beware — a huge commitment awaits you. We’re saying this because you won’t be staying underwater in a submarine for just a few days.
Rather, you’ll be living in the submarine for at least 90 days. While this is the minimum for normal tours, oftentimes, it gets extended to the point that you can end up on the submarine for almost six months!
No News Is Good News
Despite what some of you may believe, living aboard a submarine is not always high-tense action and sick battles. On the contrary (for the most part), life on a boat is rather mundane. The crew members follow the same schedule every day and while this can get quite boring at times, it’s actually a very good thing!
Why, you ask? Well, if there’s commotion aboard a submarine, that could mean that the world is in danger.
If you’re currently complaining about the size of the bathroom in your new apartment, then get this. Being that submarines have huge equipment and machines inside them, space is extremely limited.
As you can tell from this photo, the size of the bathrooms aboard submarines is quite small and can make anyone feel congested while they’re doing their business. Now, imagine that and add a bunch of crew members, and you’re left with absolute chaos. Sharing the same bathroom with a huge crew for a couple of months really doesn’t sound like a walk in the park.
At this point in the list, you’ve probably already realized what limited space there is inside a submarine. Now, you have to share that space with a crew that can range up to over 100 people. That’s nuts!
So, when it comes to storing your belongings, make sure not to overpack because you will be sharing that space with tons of other people.
Training for the Submarine Life
Just because it’s your dream to become a submariner doesn’t mean it’ll happen overnight. In fact, there’s a lot of training that goes into becoming a submarine crew member, and it’s a rigorous process.
According to a former Navy crew member, for the first few months, you spend 10 hours a day studying non-stop before marching back and forth. They essentially “cram four to six years of college-level information into a six-month period.”
No Communication With the Outer World
When you board a submarine, you should prepare yourself and understand that communicating with your loved ones won’t be like it was before. No mailman is going to swim deep into the ocean to pick up mail from you to deliver to your loved ones, and vice versa (obviously). The only time you can deliver or receive mail is when the submarine surfaces.
Even then, the submarine emits a signal that shows the location of the submarine, which the crew does not want. So, with that, just know that communicating with the outside world whilst you’re aboard a submarine won’t necessarily be a piece of a cake.
Laid Back Grooming Options
While the strongest military branches are usually made up of clean-cut soldiers with little to no facial hair and buzz cuts, those living aboard submarines have a different set of rules. These guidelines are a bit more laidback, and that makes sense considering that these men are trapped in a metal tube for months on end.
With that being said, it’s understandable that they don’t want to shave every single day!
Do you know what the crew members do after their boat, or submarine, is fully submerged under the water? They look for leaks, of course! Why? Well, if the boat does have any leaks in it, then their lives will be at great risk.
Even if they’re dealing with a huge leak or hole, they need to cover or mend it in a short amount of time — and they need to do it quickly. Their lives literally depend on it…
We have shared this information several times to make you understand just how little space submarines have. But, here’s another example of that! Due to the smaller space capacity, most of the areas inside these boats are entirely cramped. This impacts the hallways as well.
In fact, the hallways are so narrow that only one person can walk through them at a time. In other words, two members can’t even walk through a hallway side-by-side.
Do you remember how we discussed the size of bathrooms aboard submarines? Well, this time, we’re discussing the whole shower situation. As we all know by now, many types of machinery and equipment consume most of the space.
So when it comes to fitting in a shower, they need to be creative. Because of this, showers aboard submarines are usually — you guessed it — pretty cramped.
The kitchen aboard a submarine, also known as a galley, is where all the food is prepared. Now, considering we’ve mentioned time and time again that submarines are very limited when it comes to space, you may find it surprising to learn that these galleys are relatively large.
Don’t get too excited — these kitchens aren’t that big but in comparison to the other areas on board, it’s like a breath of fresh air.
Three Meals a Day
We can’t talk about submarine kitchens without discussing the food onboard! Modern American submarines feed their crew members three meals a day for the length of the submarine patrol — which could last weeks or even months without resupply! And from the looks of it, the food doesn’t look half bad!
In the top photo, you can see that the cook is seasoning a tray of fish fillets aboard the ballistic missile submarine USS Lousiana. In the bottom photo, another cook is preparing pizza on the same submarine.
Watch duties aren’t random assigned amongst the crew members. Instead, they prepare the schedule for the incoming months based on a hierarchy of sorts.
Everyone has to attend watch duty but the time and place will vary depending on the personnel’s rank. It also depends on the kind of specialized training each of these individuals go through. So, with higher rank comes greater responsibility.
Since we’ve already discussed watch duties and how responsibilities are distributed to the crew members, we’d like to now get a little more specific — who does what during the watch duties?
For instance, the deck officer is required and in charge of the conning tower, a raised platform on the submarine from which the officer can conn the vessel. In other words, the officer can control the movements of the ship by giving orders to those responsible for the ship’s engine, rudder, lines, and ground tackle.
The Command Launch
You must be wondering how the crew members manage to make space for tons of weapons when everything is so cramped, and space is so limited. Well, that’s what the command launch is essentially for — to store all those types of weapons.
Just like any other area on board a Navy or Marine vessel, the control room has particular requirements. Just because there’s space for weaponry doesn’t mean that they aren’t limited. This limited space actually demands certain design features including specific lighting solutions.
Now that we’ve covered where the weaponry sits aboard these submarines, it’s time to learn a little more about these said weapons. Some submarines have Trident missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles equipped with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles.
In other words, be extra careful if your submarine is carrying one. On the other hand, though, you can feel at peace knowing that you have something this powerful to protect you!
Moving away from war and gore, let’s talk about something light and fun. Did you know that there are multiple recreational options for the sailors and crew members? Come on, they need to have a little fun as well, especially because they’re underwater for weeks or months at a time!
Anyway, members keep busy in their spare time by playing cards and board games. Sounds a lot like summer camp, huh?
Toilets Get Clogged
Just like at home, toilets get clogged on board a submarine. The way it works is that water from the toilets is supposed to be pumped into three sanitary tanks on board the vessel.
However, if someone has mistakenly messed up the valve-line, water would flow somewhere else, like the kitchen sinks. Also, if you’ve ever wondered where all this wastewater normally goes, we can tell you that it’s actually being dumped into the ocean.
Sailors are known for their superstitions and weird ceremonies. One of them is called the “Line-Crossing Ceremony”. Unlike what you may think, crossing the line doesn’t mean punishing someone for, well, crossing the line.
What it actually stands for is crossing the Equator. All the people who have already crossed the Equator are called “shellbacks,” and they initiate the wogs (short for pollywogs), those who haven’t crossed the line yet.
Angles and Danglers
As you may have guessed from the title, you are about to read about many head-swirling moments. Angles and dangles mean that the crew takes the submarine on a couple of extreme turns.
Usually, it’s done to test the crew’s ability to deal with extreme scenarios. This mainly involves groping whatever you can and ensuring that all the equipment is secured in place. Then, all that is left to do is to enjoy the rough ride.
No Slamming Doors
Since sailors get very little sleep, and anyway, it’s pretty hard to get a good sleep on a submarine, there is a very strict rule about slamming doors. Since every little noise may cause people to wake up, slamming doors is strictly prohibited.
Also, there is another aspect to it. Sometimes it is absolutely necessary to maintain complete silence to avoid sonar detection by enemy vessels. So, slamming doors or making any other loud noises is not allowed.
Limited Shower Time
Despite the fact that a submarine is virtually surrounded by water, clean water is extremely precious onboard the vessel. Since a submarine wishes to stay undetected, it needs to limit the number of times it expels its used (grey) water.
For this reason, shower time is limited to three or five minutes max. It depends on water run time, which is the time it takes to cycle used water out of the ship’s systems.
Usually, there is only one washer and one dryer aboard a submarine. This means that it can handle only a small amount of clothes every time it is used. And despite what you may think, these washers and dryers are not that different from the ones you have at home.
Sure, they may be a little smaller in size because they have to fit in a cramped environment, but that’s pretty much the only difference.
Unlike the rest of the navy, submariners get a special kind of uniform. Sure, they still bear all the markings and colors of the US Navy, but with a unique twist to it. While sailors on board a submarine wear deep blue overalls (like other sailors), these are made of lint-free polyester.
And the reason? Lint may clog the air filtration system onboard the submarine. Also, this garment earned a funny nickname — poopie suit.
Ever wondered how the servicemen (and recently, servicewomen) onboard submarines don’t suffocate? Submarines are equipped with a simple yet quite impressive technology that allows them to produce oxygen from the water.
Seawater is put through a process called electrolysis, which basically allows the extraction of oxygen from saltwater. Additionally, submarines have a couple of oxygen tanks just in case these systems fail and there is an acute need to release oxygen into the submarine’s interior.
Sometimes, especially in Hollywood movies, submarines are depicted laying at the bottom of the ocean. Have you ever wondered if it’s even possible? The answer is simple: it depends on the type of submarine.
Apparently, electric-diesel submarines are lighter and more maneuverable and they can actually do that, assuming that the depth is within their limit. However, their bigger sisters, the nuclear submarines, are less likely to perform something like that since they may get stuck at the bottom.
An average submarine has some 100 people serving on it, sometimes even more. This means that they produce a lot of trash, starting from candy wrappers to eggshells, and even Q-tips. Where is all this waste going?
Following both environmental safety concerns, and ensuring the success of the mission, some of the trash is sorted until it can be unloaded and recycled onshore, whereas what can’t be recycled gets sealed in special steel cans and dumped into the ocean.
Submarines need to stay as quiet as possible to avoid detection. For this reason, their hull is coated with a special material called anechoic coating. It consists of complexly engineered rubber tiles that are attached to the hull of the submarine with glue.
These rubber tiles absorb the sound of breaking waves against the hull, thus reducing the acoustic signature of the vessel. They also reduce the sounds that are coming out of the submarine, ensuring that the submarine remains as stealthy as possible.
This is perhaps a fact that is little known by many, given its distinctive and covert nature. United States submarines have a special compartment called the lockout trunk, which is used by the Navy SEALs.
This is basically a room that is accessible via a hatch and it allows SEAL teams to get on board the submarine in their scuba gear while the ship is submerged. This basically gives them the ability to deploy special forces anywhere in the world.
One of the many advantages of using a nuclear-powered submarine is the fact that it will remain operational for decades without the need to refuel. The Astute class nuclear submarines that are operated by the Royal Navy, for example, require refueling only once in 25 years.
Naturally, even with such capabilities, a submarine needs to resurface simply because it needs to be resupplied with food and clean water. However, this is still an impressive fact.
We’ve already mentioned the fact that there aren’t enough sleeping bunks on board a submarine and sailors often have to share their beds with each other. Sometimes, when that doesn’t seem to be enough, temporary bunks are sometimes placed in the torpedo room.
This means that sailors have to share their beds with hunky torpedoes. We’re kidding of course, but we guess that sleeping around metal tubes filled with explosives is something they get used to.
Most modern submarines have a dedicated area onboard the vessel that is reserved for the ship’s doctor. The word “doctor,” however, can be misleading. On some submarines, a senior corpsman serves as the medical authority on board the vessel, but only after completing a very rigorous training process.
Their job is to ensure that the crew stays healthy. They can treat minor injuries as well as more serious and complex ones, even those that may require surgery.
Given the fact that submarines have to remain submerged for long periods of time, food is an issue. Fresh food only lasts a couple of weeks, and then the chefs have to improvise. Some dried foods are used to cook great meals, including complex dishes such as lasagna.
Additional tricks include storing fresh food in various nooks and crannies, to prolong their shelf life. Since it gets really cold underwater, fresh products can last a little longer than on the surface.
Lack of Motion
This may be quite surprising for those who have never actually been on a submarine, but things remain very still even if there is a storm raging above. But, why is that? This is because submarines usually travel dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of meters below the surface.
In fact, the submarine moves in almost complete stillness, except for a few minor jolts here and there. The only noises on board the vessel come from the people and the whirring equipment.
Drills Drills Drills
Part of the mundane routine onboard a submarine includes countless drills. Three of the most important drills are fire, flooding, and reactor drills. An additional type of drill addresses various battle scenarios.
Even when the submarine is docking at port, the crews are required to carry out drills. This is necessary to maintain readiness for all scenarios. Another type of drill is called a torpedo “hot run”. It implies a scenario in which a torpedo unintentionally goes off onboard the submarine.
Like any other complex machine, a submarine requires a high degree of maintenance to ensure that it continues to operate smoothly while on operational deployment at sea. Therefore, sailors devote many hours of their day (and night) to fixing, repairing, and taking care of every valve and hatch.
This, of course, also includes the maintenance of the electronic equipment and the launch tubes. This maintenance actually bites into the sailors’ time off. There is a little rest for the sailors, even when they are off duty, so it seems.
This may just be unique to American submariners, but since boys will be boys, this makes sense. Sometimes, when the conditions permit it, sailors will “slide” down the submarine’s corridors when it performs steep depth changes.
This doesn’t happen every day of course, but when it does, it looks like a small holiday for the mariners. They would need, however, to secure their commanders’ approval before doing anything silly such as this.
Another weird ritual on board a submarine is the halfway moment of the patrol or the deployment. This is usually celebrated with a great, sumptuous, meal. Just to give you an idea, the meal may include lobsters, prime rib, or even a NY strip steak.
It also includes just a generally festive atmosphere. Another part of these celebrations includes throwing pies at your favorite crew member, excluding the captain, because you know, it’s the captain.
If you thought that training and qualification stop the moment you leave the shore, you’ve got it wrong. When sailors are not on duty, doing drills, or standing watch, they use their time to improve their professional skills and qualifications.
The learning process continues while they are already at sea. Ultimately, the goal is to make sure they know everything that there is to know about their sector. This is a lot to take in, given the fact that modern submarines have thousands of valves, pumps, pipes, and other sorts of sophisticated equipment.
This is considered to be pretty rare but does happen from time to time nonetheless. Whenever a submarine gets a chance to cross the Arctic Circle, its members get to paint their noses blue.
US Navy submarines visit the North Pole pretty rarely, maybe once every two to three years, so the number of people in the force who actually earned their blue noses is pretty low. Usually, if a submarine is passing through that area it is because it is doing a fleet transfer.
Steel Beach Picnic
It’s not all dark and gloomy onboard a submarine. Sometimes, when the weather conditions are nice, and the captain is in a good mood, the vessel will resurface and the sailors can climb on top and do a quick BBQ.
The cooks will send burgers and hotdogs from the kitchen and everyone will get a chance to chill a little and enjoy the fresh air. However, some members of the crew will of course have to stay and maintain a watch at the bridge.
Sometimes the submarine will resurface to allow some recreation time for the fatigued sailors. Whenever the conditions permit it, the captain can authorize the submarine to resurface so the sailor can enjoy a little swim — in the middle of the ocean.
To ensure their safety, someone is required to keep watch, in case of sharks. Some sailors use this opportunity to get some necessary vitamin D, while others just enjoy the fresh air.
The Mail Buoy
Like in any other branch of the armed forces, pranks are an important part of the military tradition. Submarines are no different in this respect. One funny prank that the newbies have to endure is the request to retrieve the mail buoy.
A mail sack is supposedly attached to a buoy and one of the new sailors on board the submarine has to get dressed in foul weather gear, approach the captain, and request permission to climb on top to retrieve the mail. The request is denied — of course — because there is no such a thing as a mail buoy.
Another aspect of life onboard a US Navy submarine includes this funny prank, which is again done on newly enlisted sailors who recently joined the submarine force. This prank usually happens during maintenance time. The “chief” would ask one of the new sailors to go to the supply deck and ask for “relative bearing grease.”
When the sailor would get there, the supply officer would reply that they gave the last canister to some other maintenance crew. This would require the sailor to run and chase after various crews around the submarine in a vain attempt to fulfill the order.
Away from Home
Since submariners have virtually very limited contact with the outside world, this means they do not get much news from home. Sometimes this also means they would have to miss college graduations, births, and other happy occasions.
As part of their routine, and before going on another voyage, they write letters to their wives or kids, leaving something of them for the time they are away. Some even pre-order gifts for their loved ones in case they have to miss out on the holidays.
Shooting Water Slugs
When you are stuck in a tin can, underwater, for long periods of time, no wonder you have time to come up with stupid and funny pranks. Submarines exercise torpedo launching procedures every week.
They fill the torpedo tube with air and “shoot” it into the ocean. This is called shooting water slugs. The new sailors who are unaware of this funny name are often requested to head to the engine room to get a pail of water slugs.
It’s not always the newbies who get to be pranked. Sometimes the entire crew will pull a prank on one of the more senior officers on the submarine, which may include the Executive Office. The electrician will tap into the lighting system in the officer’s stateroom (living quarters), and start playing around with them whenever the officer is there.
The officer would, of course, send for the electrician who would confirm that there is nothing wrong with the lights. This is a great way to mess around with your Executive Officer, at your own risk.
Surprisingly, unlike their counterparts in the US Navy, sailors on board British submarines actually get to “talk” to their families once a week. By talking we mean that they are allowed to send (and receive) a single message of no more than 60 characters.
Sometimes, both sides would do away with the punctuation and use contracted forms of communication to cram as much information as possible into those extremely short messages. This is sure to keep the sailors going when they have to spend some 150 days at sea.
While it is known that the Navy is less strict about its submariners growing beards and long hair, sometimes even these guys need to get a haircut. Officially, however, there is no barber onboard a submarine.
Usually, one or two members of the crew who know something about trimming beards and doing decent haircuts will be called to the task. By usually, we mean that sometimes sailors settle for someone who simply knows how to hold a pair of scissors.
As part of the routine aboard a submarine, a special day is dedicated from time to time for cleaning the submarine. This day is ironically called “field day”. When hearing the order “sweepers, sweepers man your brooms!” over the PA, sailors would pick up cleaning supplies and start scrubbing and cleaning the floors — quietly.
On other submarines, sailors will use sponges or foxtails (hand brooms) to clean the floors because there isn’t enough space to swing brooms.
A Unique Smell
Since the people aboard a submarine operate in a closed environment, this means that the air they breathe is constantly being recycled. This means that once the hatch is sealed, all you would smell is a combination of oil, amine, and body odors.
Amine, in case you didn’t know, is a special chemical substance that is used to remove carbon dioxide from the air. While it is very useful and essentially enables these submarines to move underwater for long periods of time, it’s pretty stinky.
Spending weeks and sometimes even months without any communication with the outside world is not for everyone. Although the sailors serving aboard a submarine go through a rigorous selection process and training until they are admitted to the ranks of the submarine corps, in rare cases, some crack under the pressure.
When this happens, the submarine’s medical officer is authorized to issue medications (mostly sedatives) and confine the sailor. By confine, we mean that they are put under watch in the living quarters.
Jack of All Trades
Submariners spend hours upon hours mastering their primary occupation. This means, for example, that a sonar operator will spend a lot of time mastering the skills and knowledge needed to work the sonar systems.
However, this doesn’t end there. Every submariner also has to learn about systems and equipment that are outside their area of expertise. This way, for example, a sonar operator would study the work of the engineers who are in charge of maintaining the ship’s nuclear reactor and vice versa.
A funny prank that submariners like to play on their Executive Officer is stealing their stateroom door. Since these officers are usually good-natured and friendly, albeit having perhaps a difficult job, they usually go along with it.
The XO is responsible for all the administrative aspects involved in running the submarine, including drills. Usually, the XO knows who are the sailors that stole the door and takes measures to convince them to return it.
The Art of Flat
There is no need to reiterate the fact that submarines have to economize on space. This means that the passageways between submarine compartments are quite narrow. They are in fact designed for relatively thin people.
This means that whenever sailors need to pass simultaneously they have to make themselves as “flat” as possible. This gets worse when someone has to rush through. Usually, the rushing party would just shout “make way, coming through” to make sure everyone makes an effort to squeeze themselves out of the way.
A Friendship that Lasts
People who serve together and fight together usually form an unbreakable bond. This is especially true for people who served onboard a submarine. When you spend months upon months (and sometimes years upon years) stuck in a submerged tin can you are likely to form strong bonds with your comrades.
Sailors often report that years after being discharged they still hold reunions and feel like they’ve never parted — this is true comradeship@
While this may sound obvious, there is more to it. When the submarine is at port, non-governmental electronic devices are not allowed near it, for information security reasons.
There is a special box (outside the submarine) where the sailors can leave their cellphones. At sea, however, certain electronic devices are allowed but are strictly forbidden in certain areas of the vessel. Cellphones, as stated, cannot be brought aboard a submarine given the fact that they can be easily hacked by foreign entities.
This may come as a surprise, but submarines are not (yet) technically equipped with air defense capabilities. While on the one hand, this would make perfect sense, since this is a sea platform designed to carry underwater operations, on the other hand, it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have to defend itself against, say, anti-submarine helicopters.
Interestingly enough, the German Navy is developing an interactive defense and attack system for submarines, which is designed to tackle these kinds of threats.
Women Are Allowed
The military has always been an institution that was intended for men. It seems that men have been fighting men since the dawn of time, while women stood by and watched.
In the latter half of the 20th century, with the changing nature of warfare and the public’s general attitude towards military service, many positions that were only open to men have started being offered to women as well. Women were allowed to join the US Navy’s submarine force starting from 2010.
Following the fact that submarines were originally designed with male sailors in mind, the navy had to make some serious changes to its submarines after making the decision of allowing women on board.
These changes included the installation of separate facilities for women. Although these changes were modest in scope, and primarily done to the Ohio-class submarines. The Navy’s future submarines, including those that are currently under construction, like the USS Jersey, and the Colombia-class submarines, will be “gender-neutral.”
How Do You Even Drive This Thing?
Ever wondered how you even pilot a submarine? Every submarine has a section called “conn.” It’s a raised platform in the middle of the control center. The officer of the watch typically sits there and maintains the watch. This is also where the submarine’s periscopes are.
The officer has a double responsibility while maintaining the watch. He or she is responsible for the “deck” which is supervision, control, and responsibility for all aspects of the submarine. Additionally, the “conn” responsibility means that she or she is responsible for piloting the vessel.
Ever wondered what happens when a submarine is spotted by the enemy? Within seconds an alarm will blare, indicating that torpedoes are zeroing in on the submarine. Luckily, not all is lost. US Navy submarines carry specific countermeasures that are designed to trick incoming torpedos.
These countermeasures are called “Mobile Submarine Simulator” or MOSS in short. It’s practically a decoy sonar that imitates the acoustic signature of a real submarine. It first entered service in 1976, and was used by all Navy ballistic submarines until the 1990s.
You might think that those who service onboard a nuclear-powered submarine have a higher chance of being exposed to lethal doses of nuclear radiation. Apparently, all US Navy’s nuclear submarines have four barriers of comprehensive shielding which preclude the risk of nuclear material leakage.
What’s even more surprising, according to government studies, the average submariner is exposed significantly less to radiation than the average US citizen at home during the same time period.
We know what some of you may think. All those who serve on board a submarine need to spend time in a diving chamber after surfacing and returning to base. Despite its misleading name, a diving chamber has nothing to do with submarines.
Well, at least not in this respect. A submarine is a water-tight and non-compressible vessel. It has the same pressure inside as you’d normally have above the surface.
Letter of Last Resort
The Royal Navy operates four nuclear-armed submarines. This means that in the event of a potential nuclear exchange, these submarines will be required to release their nuclear payload. However, the order must come directly from the prime minister.
Given the fact that the prime minister or any other senior member of the cabinet that has the authority to order a nuclear strike is incapacitated, each submarine commander receives a sealed envelope with precise orders as to what to do in such a scenario.
Five-Star Underwater Hotel
During the Cold War, the Soviets did their best to beat the Americans at everything, the submarines were no different in this respect. So, the Soviets came up with what is, to this day, the largest submarine class in the world — the typhoon.
These submarines had a sauna (banya), a cold water pool, a recreational area, a gym, and a cinema. We would expect nothing less for our comrades who serve for up to six months at sea!
Got Your Fish?
After a trainee-submariner completes their training phase, they get their dolphin pin. However, not many know that its not actually called a dolphin but a fish. “Fish” is the nickname for the submarine force formal insignia.
Once they have done with their basic training and earned their fish, the double letter “s” is added to their rank. It indicated: “submarine specialist.” The insignia of the submarine force is a submarine flanked by two dolphins, which honestly look more like fish.
Unfortunately, we don’t refer here to what would happen if you request to be transferred from the submarine while being on duty. We are actually talking about what happens to a sailor who is KIA.
Apparently, their body is put in a cooler until the operational conditions permit it to be transported ashore. It is usually done by helicopter, or by a direct transfer to a surface vessel. Sailors in the US Navy are never buried at sea.
This Is BBC 4
Given the fact that submarines usually operate in complete radio silence, their connection with the outer world is limited. While it’s vital that they remain silent and undetected for the entire duration of their mission, it’s also necessary for them to know whether or not their country is still standing.
One way to do it, at least in the Royal Navy, is to check whether or not BBC 4 is still broadcasting. In case it doesn’t, chances are that the British Government has been wiped off the face of the earth.
Still on Patrol
There is a longstanding tradition in the US Navy that pertains to submarines that never returned from their missions. If a submarine is presumed sunken or lost, its official status changes to “still on patrol.”
It’s a romantic way of saying that one day it will return home, while it’s obvious to everyone that this won’t happen. It doesn’t mean, however, that the navy won’t invest time and effort in finding out what exactly happened to those submarines that are presumed lost.
There is a weird tradition in the British Navy that enables submarine captains to fly the jolly roger (a pirate’s flag) whenever they sail back into port. The roots of this tradition go back to the 1900s.
Sir Arthur Wilson, the First Sea Lord of the British Navy, called submarines “underheard, unfair and so…un-English.” When the first British submarine torpedoed a German U-boat during WWI, its captain ordered the crew to manufacture a jolly roger which was flown from the mast.
Windows for Submarines
Ever wondered what operating system do they use onboard Royal Navy submarines? Perhaps you would opt for something extremely advanced, something that the general public hasn’t even heard of. Well, we hate to disappoint you.
British subs run on an outdated version of Windows XP for subs. Considering the fact that XP was released to the general public on October 25, 2001, and support for the system officially ended in 2019, this doesn’t sound very reassuring to us.
Ability to Sail Anywhere
Most countries throughout the world have their own submarines. Not all of these said countries are permitted to travel anywhere they want, though. From all these countries, the US holds the power to travel the whole world with their submarine without facing any detection.
They have long strike capabilities that make them more powerful than the rest of the world. So, you can see that it’s not easy work, but rather a critical role.
Do you know at what angle the entire ship ascends and descends? Any guesses? If you guessed 180°, we hate to break it to you, but you’re wrong. In reality, when a submarine changes depth, the entire submarine will angle itself upwards/downwards almost 45° — which forces the crew to brace themselves while it moves.
So, with that in mind, you can imagine how it must feel for crew members aboard the submarine to ascend from and descend into the water.
Rocking the Curtains
Life inside the submarine can be pretty challenging, especially because you could be gone for weeks or months at a time. And while there will be times that you miss home and your loved ones, your fellow crew members will become your family — and family is there for you no matter what, through thick and thin.
It’s hard not to become so close considering all the time you’re spending together. So, although you may find yourself getting homesick here and there, the bonds you create with your fellow crew members will be unbreakable.
Turn the Lights Down Low
When your journey aboard a submarine begins, there are a few things to do. First, they check for leaks (as we mentioned previously), then they complete the tasks that have been assigned to them, and then they turn all of the lights off.
No — this isn’t some sort of ritual but rather a chance to get some shut-eye before the chaos and work truly begins.
The Neptune Captain
The people living aboard submarines are constantly looking for ways to have fun and keep themselves enthused despite their usual daily routine.
The crew members arrange a dress-up game in which they make their own clothes and dress up as women. If you think the captain doesn’t participate, well, think again! In fact, the captain usually dresses up as the Neptune.