How to Simulate Submarine Life at Home

The following list was compiled by me and my shipmates aboard USS Flasher (SSN-613) in the late '80s.  This will explain some of the outdated references.

NOTE: Since this is a simulation...SCREEN DOORS ARE OPTIONAL.  Had to get this reference in before a friend points out the lack of mention.

For a MS Word document copy, download here.

How to Simulate Submarine Life at Home

1.  Surround yourself with a lot of people you don't like.

2.  Close all windows and doors tightly and close all curtains.

3.  Seal any openings to the outside world with a suitable vault door.

4.  Unplug all radios and TV's to cut yourself off completely from news, football games, Saturday Night Live, Married with Children, etc.

5.  Hourly, monitor all home appliances operation.  If not in use - log as "secured".

6.  If using the bathroom, don't not flush the toilet for the first 2 days to recreate the smell of blowing sanitary tanks and venting them inboard.

7.  Wear only approved coveralls or a proper Navy uniform.  No hats or special T-shirts, etc.

8.  Cut your own hair once a week, ensuring you make it look like hell.

9.  Work in 18 hour day intervals to really confuse your body's circadian rhythms.

10. Listen to the same cassette (or CD) over and over again until you can't stand it anymore.  Then put in one you can't listen to without nausea setting in.

11. Set your alarm to go off just as you fall asleep - with the alarm set LOUD.  Better yet, buy an alarm with special settings (e.g. battle stations, fire, flooding in the basement).

12. Prepare food with a blindfold on to simulate what real submarine cooks do.  Then try to get your dog to eat it.  Afterwards, break out a can of tuna and/or peanut butter.

13. Cut your bed in half and enclose all but one side using the dimensions of a small coffin as a reference.  When not in it, make up the bed properly so no one will see or care.  For an added touch of realism, have 3 people taking turns sleeping in the bed, one of whom is in two section "appliance" watch.

14. Periodically for excitement:

            a. Open the main power breaker and run around yelling "Reactor SCRAM" until you are sweating profusely - then restore power.
            b. Buy yourself a snorkel and mask and put it on and pretend you are in a smoke filled room with no way out.  For variety, hook up a garden hose and pressurize it.

15. To enable yourself to handle anything, constantly study wiring diagrams and operation instructions for various home appliances.  For no reason at all at specific intervals tear one apart just in case it was going to break.

16. Paint everything around you gray.  Navy gray - no substitutions - or else off white.

17. To be sure you are living in a clean and happy environment, every Saturday night set your alarm on LOUD for a short but hated drill sound, then get up.  Manned only with a bucket and sponge, clean one area over and over again even if it was already spotless.  Then make out a discrepancy list.

18. Once a day after normal programming hours, plug in the TV and watch one movie being careful that it is:

            a. At least 5 years old.
            b. Made long enough ago to ensure you've seen it once before.
            c. So bad you have to install a seat belt in your chair to keep you there until it's over.

19. Since no doctor with be available, stockpile band-aids, aspirins, and Actifed since these are proven cure-alls.  Practice on your dog (surgery, dentistry, etc.).  For the ultimate in realism, kill the dog (or allow it to die) and keep the body in the freezer until the end of the "patrol".

20. Sleep under your coffee table so that when the alarm goes off you can hit your head on the table to recreate actual experiences.

21. All trash cans must be thrown away and trash stored in the shower.  Once every two weeks it will be thrown out the window.

22. Mount your house on a platform that can tilt in all directions - at angles up to 40 degrees.  Once a day, set the platform to rock the house from side to side and turn on air conditioning full blast to simulate ventilating the "boat" at periscope depth.

23. When commencing this simulation, lock your family, friends, and everything else that means anything to you outside.  The test will run for at least two months with no specific end in sight.  The completion will be delayed at least twice for no less than two weeks.

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