Boats tend to have a pretty fixed operating cycle x weeks operational and y weeks maintenance. x & y will vary according to the class od boat. Bombers will be dived and hiding someshere for the whole of their operational time so limited one way comms, shore to boat. Fighter command on the other hand does all sorts of thing so time out od contact will vary depending o what you are doing, smetims you may be out of touch as long as a bomber, other times you will be in port almost every weekend and have no trouble keeping in touch.
On bombers? Very unlikely - my Dad was on Polaris and on patrol when we had a chip pan fire; our Married Quarter kitchen was gutted as a result and the resulting clean up took several weeks (new kitchen cabinets, removal of mess from where dog crapped himself, etc). He never heard of this incident until his boat tied up alongside at the end of the patrol - by this time however, the rumour mill had blown the fire out of all proportion and included total house loss plus fatalities!
Remeber you are responsible for the national deterant, potentially the lives of everyone depend on you There is limited one way communication, which is censored. Critical information may be passed to the CO who will decide whether you ard told. There is no repeat no ship to shore comms. On a couple of occasions in the past 30 odd years bombers have transfered sick crew members to helicopters but this is very rare. On the otherhand no one has died from ilness on patrol either, so it is not that risky.
If you can't live without you mobile phone permanently glued to your ear then certainly the submarine service is not for you.
You can get a 40-word message from your family every week, but can't send anything.
You will most likely not be informed of bereavements while submerged, apparantely someone was told his father had died and in his grief he tried to get out of the boat (unsuccessfully)(yes while it was submerged) - so the policy I think is generally that you are not told. (I was told that story by someone on Vengeance so I think it's reasonably plausible.)
Yep, it's 40 words a week. And they are all counted. I once got one with 38 and went out of my mind until the full 40 arrived the following week. The messages are vetted by the off-crew OOd before transmission. Our garden shed had been broken into and the mrs put it in the grumbly. The stupid OOD deleted the offending words but didn't call her to ask for replacements.. Stupid bastard.
Anyway, good news (like babies being born) is sent free and gratis and doesn't count against your 40 word limit.
True about the familygram,and the bad news bit as my Gran died while I was on patrol and didnt get the news til I got back 4 weeks later.Then the following Patrol on of her lodgers died and they thought he was a relation of mine,again no familygram for that week.
On the next patrol whenever I didnt get a familygram for the week I kept thinking the worse !!
I remeber when we first got familygrams in SSNs, once a month. My wife had quite a bit of bother getting the post office to accept them as they had never seen them before. I remeber also getting quite miffed when the skipper didn't have me called when they read the routine that contained the news of my first son being born, because he thought i needed the sleep.