Visual acuity for submariners


I'm hoping to join the RN and train for the Submarine Service - I've tried to find out as much info as I can re aspects of life, training etc.

I'm waiting for an appointment with my local careers office, but one thing I thought I could ask here (on which I've found lots of conflicting/complex info elsewhere) is about the VA requirements for joing up and then for the Submarine Service.

My eye-sight isn't brilliant, and I need to wear contact lenses to correct it - however, I'm also aware that there are differences between requirements for different specialisms.

I apologise if this has been answered elsewhere - but hoped somebody could throw a little more light on it for me.

Thanks in advance
but hoped somebody could throw a little more light on it for me.

FFS how much light do you need?

I need reading glasses for dark light, if this helps.
I wore contact lenses at sea for quite a while....on patrol and work up. If you're going to wear them on work ups you may need the type that can be worn continually because you'll be tumbling in and out of your rack at all hours. Putting them in rapidly is a bind and gets fact wear your specs for work up...better all round!

Daily disposable are your best bet for lenses...wear them twice then ditch them. Take three months worth or more though. Cos boats got a nasty habit of being extended.

I suspect though that like most Blind Pughs, in the end, you'll plump for specs. Sooo much more convenient all round. Don't leave 'em in the mess though...they'll only end up in the freezer compartment of the a block of ice usually!


War Hero
In addition to Supermarios comments above, it's probably worth mentioning that the VA2 standard has been revised (July 08) and to that end any posts on here before July 08 may not necessarily reflect the newer, lower acceptable standard.

To reiterate, the new VA2 standard is as follows:

Standard 2 (VA2)

Visual acuity to be achieved without correcting lenses Right 6/60, Left 6/60 or worse.

Visual acuity to be achieved with correcting lenses Right 6/6N5, Left 6/9N5

Refraction limit
Spectacle correction (in any meridian)
+/-6.00 sphere or cyl both.

An interesting thing is that periscopes are, in effect telescopes (I think), so even with greatly magnified vision, the same minimum eyesight standard applies for Warfare submariners to comply with Board of Trade eyesight standards for navigation on the surface transits - there you answer before it's even asked!

Best of luck.

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