Being a submariner is the ultimate test of nerve and the readiness to make any sacrifice thousands of miles away from the country’s shores.
The Dolphin badge — the pride of a submariner — comes at a price. “Small things you are so used to on land become a luxury in a submarine,” said a former skipper of a German-built HDW Type 209 submarine.
Here’s a look at the conditions they have to endure in the monstrous depths of the ocean:
*A submariner’s world is a steel capsule crammed with unwashed bodies and mostly stale air to breathe.
*It’s common for crews to go without a bath for more than 45 days.
* They could often be operating in temperatures touching nearly 55 degrees Celsius.
* A submariner may often have to dig into a loaf of bread refrigerated for over several weeks.
* Submariners don’t mind sharing the toilet with 40 men.
* It is not rare for them to wear the same soiled vest and lowers for as many as four days.
* The navy assigns more than one crewmember to a bed to reduce berthing space (called hot bunking in naval parlance).
* Only the skipper has the ultimate privilege of having a separate cabin.
* But even for the skipper, a mug of water for morning ablutions is considered luxury.
* The ones who are unlikely to endure the rigours of submarine service get weeded out during probation.