Morale: The Great Submarine Sailor Shortage

Archives

August 28, 2012: The British Royal Navy is the latest to admit that it is unable to recruit and retain a sufficient number of qualified sailors to man its submarines. Some smaller nations, like Australia and South Africa have one or more subs idle because there are literally no qualified sailors available to operate them. Even the United States, currently the nation with the largest submarine fleet, all of them nuclear, has been battling the manning problem for decades. The shortages keep getting worse.

During the Cold War Russia had the largest sub fleet, most of them diesel-electric boats. These required crews with less extensive training and could be manned with lots of conscripts (especially if these boats did not go to sea a lot). But since the end of the Cold War in 1991, no one puts conscripts on submarine crews anymore. Volunteers work much better, if only because it takes so much training to acquire the needed skills. But there is tremendous demand in the civilian economy for those skilled submarine crewmen, especially those with experience in running a nuclear power plant. Then there's the discipline factor. Submarine sailors not only have excellent technical skills but a proven track record of disciplined performance. All this, and the resulting shortages, is a major reason more and more navies are willing to allow women to join submarine crews.

 

 


Article Archive

Morale: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close