Submarine Watchkeeping

#1
What exactly does watchkeeping look like for an ET(WESM)?

How does watchkeeping change between an ET, a LHET, a POET and a CPOET?

You're doing it for 12 hours a day, but is it actual work, or mostly just sitting observing stuff?

Surely an 84 hour week of physical labour would be incredibly hard.

Do you have any other duties apart from watchkeeping while you are on patrol? And what sort of things are these?
 
#2
I was a fwd watch keeper on 3 boats although I was an ME but you don't stay at your watch keeping position for the whole 6hour watch during normal running, the rest of the time stood down you'll be doing maintenance, defect work, scrubbing out and catching an on-watch movie ;)

What ever rate you are you still do 6 on 6 off, SR's watch keep on the SCC (Submarine Control Console) or panel, as it's normally called. JR's are Fwd Staff and change vent line ups, change over fresh water tanks etc.
 
#3
I was a fwd watch keeper on 3 boats although I was an ME but you don't stay at your watch keeping position for the whole 6hour watch during normal running, the rest of the time stood down you'll be doing maintenance, defect work, scrubbing out and catching an on-watch movie ;)

What ever rate you are you still do 6 on 6 off, SR's watch keep on the SCC (Submarine Control Console) or panel, as it's normally called. JR's are Fwd Staff and change vent line ups, change over fresh water tanks etc.
Thanks a lot for clarifying.

Yeah I thought a 84 hour work week of doing nothing but staring at instruments would be a bit much. What you've said sounds a lot better.

How hard would you say the work is on boats for an ME/WE?

I'm sure if people can generally keep up, I will be able to as well, but it does seem like a lot.

Are you usually knackered when you get back off patrol?

Do you get a bit of an easier time when you're alongside because of the greater watchkeeping demands on a boat vs a ship?

EDIT: Also, what are fwd and aft? I see them mentioned on here a lot. I mean I know it means back and front, but what are the differences between them?
 
#4
Aft is from the fwd end of the reactor compartment to the after end of the boat and is the domain of the ME department, back aft work a 1 in 3 watchbill and also watch keep in harbour due to the reactor, so keep more duties than fwd.

For the ME's the hard work starts when back alongside, being steam driven they are maintenance intensive. To give you an idea, 60% of a boats ships company are ME dept.

For dit value, I spent 18 years as a back aftie (or bin bag :) ), and12 years as a fwd ME watchkeeper, and yes, you are knackered when you come back from a patrol.
 
#5
Aft is from the fwd end of the reactor compartment to the after end of the boat and is the domain of the ME department, back aft work a 1 in 3 watchbill and also watch keep in harbour due to the reactor, so keep more duties than fwd.

For the ME's the hard work starts when back alongside, being steam driven they are maintenance intensive. To give you an idea, 60% of a boats ships company are ME dept.

For dit value, I spent 18 years as a back aftie (or bin bag :) ), and12 years as a fwd ME watchkeeper, and yes, you are knackered when you come back from a patrol.
So if I'm a ET(WE) I'll never be back aft, I'll always be fwd?

But some MEs work aft, and some work fwd?

What would I mostly be doing when alongside as an ET(WE)?
 
#6
You'll only go back aft to trace systems to qualify for your Dolphins and various small jobs relating to your branch work.
Most ME's work and watchkeep aft but a team of ME's watchkeep fwd (the Wrecking crew) and maintain ships systems not involved in propulsion such as steering and hydroplanes, air purification, trim and ballast systems, hydraulic systems etc.

The 3 CPO's fwd are known as Wreckers and addressed as such , 2 mechanical and 1 electrical. Can you guess which one I was ;)

In harbour you'll be maintaining your WE gear.
 
#7
Wow so almost every ME works on propulsion with only a few working on the other systems?

Well I guess managing a nuclear reactor takes some work.

Thanks for your help.

There's a fair bit of info on the Navy website, but it seems there's very little on what you'll actually be doing day to day, and what the job involves.
 
#8
The 'Panel' - learn what the impact on every system is when you flick one of these switches. Sit here for no less than an hour at a time, sometimes more, much more! All the balls are balls and all the bars are bars, I'm off! *

Note - this is an old panel, new ones may be differentish!

upload_2017-9-22_23-7-1.jpeg


* This brief handover used to drive our Wrecker mental!
 
#9
The 'Panel' - learn what the impact on every system is when you flick one of these switches. Sit here for no less than an hour at a time, sometimes more, much more! All the balls are balls and all the bars are bars, I'm off! *

Note - this is an old panel, new ones may be differentish!

View attachment 25052


* This brief handover used to drive our Wrecker mental!
That's the handover I used to give :)
 

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