What do you go through in order to earn your Dolphins?


Hi all, apologise if this is the wrong place to post this, I'm new to the forum. I've searched through a few old threads and haven't really been able to find an answer to my question.

I'm planning to apply to join the Navy in January (I'd like some time to get super fit between now and starting the actual application) And I understand there is a lot of time between then and even starting intial training so of course this is all subject to change depending on how my application goes.

But as it stands I'm wanting to join up as Warfare Officer on Submarines. I've done a fair bit of research into the Submarine Service, life on a boat and the different roles on board. However I haven't really been able to find much on how the process of earning ones Dolphins goes. How long does it take, and what kind of things do you have to do? I imagine it's challenging both physically and mentally, but what specifically is the training?

Thanks for reading, again I apologise if I've broken any posting rules or such, I'm still as green as summer grass


War Hero
Open the bonnet of your car and look at the engine. Learn what every pipe, wire, electrical bit and motorised component does. Multiply that by a very large number.
Figure out what to do if it caught fire or started filling up with cold salty water. Go back out to it in the middle of the night and chase down all the systems that make it go, using a torch with a red filter, having had no sleep for 24 hours. Multiply that by another large number and expand the area you need to learn about into something the size of a railway carriage.... or two come to think of it.
Then having got all the relevant signatures in a task book the size of War and Peace - receive your dolphins in the bottom of an alcoholic beverage.
It's a very short comparison, but there will be Sundodgers out there who will be saying, "Yeah, that just about covers it"

And don't forget man overboard drills.


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Thanks-sounds like a very intense process, but of course there's a reason for that.

Hopefully in a couple of years I'll be able to say I've done it all, but best to actually get myself in the Navy first lol


War Hero
Of course it may have all changed since I left it all behind. Good luck. I'm delighted to know that there are still people who wake up one morning thinking,
"I know what I'll do. I will be a SUBMARINER!"

These days I wake up wondering if I can make it to the toilet in time.


Go without showering for a month, share your bed with another man. Learn to gloat and be boring/repetitive about all that extra cash you get.


War Hero
Not forgetting that as a junior officer you'll hold the post of shitty jobs officer

There was an expression 'back in the day' that a Part 3 Orifice was lower in the pecking order 'than a N*gg**'s dog'. Can't see that it will have changed.

Except the terminology.

Now it is probably a snake's tummy!


In the 1950's when I joined, "A", "T" and "S"boats were all we had, and, as has been said, we first had a theory training session, a couple of months I seem to remember, when we were introduced to all the "systems" within a typical submarine. These included all electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and high and low pressure air systems. At the end of that time you were tested on them, had to draw them from memory and identify all the parts. We then did "the tank", loved doing that, starting at 25feet, then 50, then 75 and finally a "real escape" from the 100 chamber under the tower using the BIBS. Once qualified in escape we would go to sea for one to two weeks on a sub and put everything we'd learnt into practice. We'd run the motors and engines, dive and surface the boat, take battery readings, load torpedos etc etc.
There was always a rumour around that your Dolphins were placed in a tot of rum which you had to drink and catch the badge in your teeth. This was just that as Dolphins weren't issued until the 1970's and the Tot died in 1968!
In those days, unlike today I suspect, with a crew of only around 50 everyone on board had to be able to do anybody else job. I was an electronics engineer but going into harbour I'd usually be operating one of the main motors unless it was foggy in which case I'd be on the radar. At sea, 2 hours on, 2 hours off on the helm or hydroplanes unless there was a problem with any of the electronics. Life was never dull that's for sure!
Sorry to bore you but at 81 gave me a chance to reminisce :rolleyes::rolleyes:
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War Hero
Super Moderator
Dolphins didn't get issued until 1970, and the tank was 30' and 60' free ascent, 100' tower ascent.

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