25 February 2013
Submarine Escape Procedures
There are many catastrophes that can affect the operation of a submarine; fire and flooding can crimple a submarine completely if either is not resolved quickly. Submariners are trained to combat all forms of fire and flooding in different scenarios that are closely monitored in Submarine School. As a last resort, sailors are also trained in submarine escape in the very rare occasion that they must escape from the ship. Submarine escape is only effective at depths less than 600 feet; escape any greater depth would be impossible. Michael Menor deployed with two nuclear fast-attack submarines; the USS Santa Fe and the USS Albuquerque; during his four and a half year enlistment in the United States Navy. He is well versed in submarine escape and hopes that this will give you an understanding on how to escape from the depths of the sea.
Every ship is equipped with two escape trunks, or hatches as some may call it; one forward and aft, both of which have similar dimensions and operation procedures. Each trunk is able to hold two escape personnel. The Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment; also known as a SEIE Suit; is a last resort option if a Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle, or DSRV is unable to save personnel from a disabled submarine. The suit is a single piece construction capable of controlling pressure to prevent decompression sickness, or “the bends”, which is a side effect of rapidly ascending from ocean depths. Each suit is also equipped with a life boat that is contained within a pouch attached to the left hip. Familiarity with the escape hatch valves is not required; all operations are handled by personnel from within the ship. For the purposes of this procedure we will call these personnel “Supervisors,” since they are usually experienced supervisory personnel with the knowledge of operating the escape hatch. Depending on where the casualty, is you will...