Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Man Overboard!

A comment by XCOB in the previous post got me thinking about people falling off submarines while tied to the pier. While there's no doubt that going overboard is very dangerous when the boat's underway, and can be dangerous when moored, I was thinking more of the humorous inadvertent dunkings. Here's my favorite:

On the morning of the first deployment of the good ship USS Topeka (SSN 754) in August 1992, we had a new guy reporting to the boat straight from "A" School. He basically checked into Squadron that morning, and sent him right over to the boat to go on the deployment. (This had all been worked out in advance.) He comes down the gangplank carrying his seabag with everything he'll have for the deployment -- after all, this is his first time on board the boat. For some reason, he couldn't get around the sail on the starboard side (where the towed array housing gives you a place to put your right foot so you're walking basically level) and, being a NUB, he went around the port side of the sail, lost his footing, and fell into the water -- along with his seabag packed with all his belongings for the next 6 months. We fished him and his seabag out of the water, and for the first night of our underway, all of his clothes were draped over steam piping in the Engine Room. (The dryer broke down as it started on first load of the run, as is normal on LA-class submarines.)

Can anyone top that?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Onboard SSBN 619B during loadout of A2 Polaris missiles at POMFLant NWS Charleston S.C. around late April 1964. As the sun came up the 4-8 aft topside watch spotted a water moccasin on the turtle back about a foot out of the water. He walked back aft to get a closer look and for some reason decided to kick the snake into the water. Turtleback was wet from morning dew, no non skid back in those days. when he kicked the snake he slipped and went right into the water on top of the snake along with his M1 Carbine, belt and ammo pouches. Big splash, lot of hollering and yelling as he tried to get away from the snake. He paddled around the aft end of the turtleback and crawled out of the water and back aboard. TM1(SS) in torpedoroom was PISSED OFF!! about his soaked carbine and magazines. We sure laughed about "Snake" (his new nickname) and his dance with the water moccasin.


7/02/2008 12:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the early 80s on Skate (SSN578). Before we got the WLR-9 (the sharkfin fwd topside). Now, you have to look at a picture of the bow of these old S-girls. Imagine a 5 year olds rendition of streamlining a WW2 boat and you get the idea.
So it's a loooong duty day and now, being the nubs in the duty section, get the midwatch. Bored, tired, and POed. You can just see the POOD trying to stay awake by pacing the length of topside between the sail and the bow. Back and forth he goes while you see his head do the big "oh cr@p, i'm still awake" type of nod.
Until one time his head doesn't pop back up. And the poor schmuck walks right off the bow and strait into Pearl Harbor.
He's cold and p1ssed, and i'm laughing my butt off. Kept us awake until 0345 (because our slacker reliefs stayed below until the very last second before coming up to take the watch).

damn i miss them old S-girls. Especially watching the horrified expressions on them 688 sailors who came on for the first time.

7/02/2008 3:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

USS Chicago (SSN 721) in the late 80’s, we lost a shipmate to drowning in Roosevelt Rhodes, Puerto Rico. It was certainly a sad stay there. The next week, we were in St. Croix with another 688 tied up across the pier. Our newly frocked Sonar Senior Chief and his counterpart from the other boat came back from town, well lubricated, and decided to see who could swim to their boat fastest, around 2230. They jumped from the pier, into the water and disappeared. The topside watch, not sure what to do, called away “Man Overboard” which got everybody’s attention. There was quite a commotion when we pulled the Senior Chief onboard. The XO was spitting nails. I had never seen him so mad. I don’t recall exactly what happened but I do remember the Senior Chief was bounced back to Chief until he officially made the rank.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

7/02/2008 4:17 PM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

Pearl, late 80's. We got a new XO and a new COB who somehow thought we'd had it "too easy" until they arrived. One of their many boot-campian policies was to have a uniform inspection every time we had quarters on the pier. One day it was raining, and in a blatant display of their power over us, they parked themselves under the starboard fairwater plane, whilst we stood in ranks on the pier getting pissed on (and pissed off). They had us file by, one by one, so they could inspect us without getting wet.

This came to an abrupt end when one of the new deck div'ers tried to march up to them smartly, and instead tripped (or slipped - topside was drenched) and fell over the side, bashing an arm on one of the camel platforms.

But at least the XO and COB didn't get wet. Go Navy!

7/02/2008 5:37 PM

Blogger rick said...

Late 90s on the MTS-635:

I was the ACRS when I heard an announcement over the SITE MC "Man Overboard on the 635". I ran topside to see what had happened. One of our ET students had been coming down for some OW/AW discussions and was busy reviewing his notes as headed for the aft brow. So intent was he that he literally walked off the end of the pier. The EOOW quickly got the water brake stopped (BZ!) and the kid swam back around towards the support barge and a ladder there. The best part was that he was swimming with one hand. The other was being used to keep his qual standard out of the river. He spent the rest of the night drying each page.

Not long after I left in 99, he returned as a staff member. Rickover wept.

7/02/2008 5:52 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I came back; there is just no other way to say it, drunker than hell from Naples. I walked across the gang plant and decided to do some sightseeing back aft...before going down the hatch. I think I tripped over something and then rolled overboard. I am a good swimmer. They called out man overboard. I was swishing water out of my mouth like a they were pulling me out of the drink. The XO was so mad at me in the morning you can’t believe it...but I didn’t get into any trouble. He told me as I swishing water out of my mouth, you know Naples bay is so disgusting..."he was really mad", he said there was a dead and stinking animal that was floating near by...a goat or dead dog. He lectured me with how dirty the harbor was....after he was done "screaming and threatening me". The top deck hands and half the crew verify what the XO say.

I was told to go see the corpsman. He gave me about three hypodermic shots immediately...four or five more in the next two weeks. He told me they had to cover every disease known to Europe and North Africa because of the fear of what was dumped in that harbor.


7/02/2008 7:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

During a westpac on the LA, we pulled into Yokosuka. The first night we were in port, we were under Cinderella Liberty. Nobody wanted to go belowdecks so we had about 50 or 60 drunk sailors wandering around on the pier shortly after midnight.

Suddenly, there was a commotion at the edge of the pier and people started shouting "Dave fell in!!!" I meandered over and sure enough, there was Dave between the pier and the boat.

The topside watch called away Man Overboard and a few duty section people came up to pull him in, with the assistance of 50 or 60 drunk sailors. Quite a mess, but in the end he just crawled up the Jacob's Ladder, soaked, but no worse for wear.

Don't recall any jellyfish stings on him, which is surprising considering the number of them that were always floating around by the pier.

7/02/2008 9:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was this thing in Thailand on the Honolulu that involved somebody!

7/02/2008 9:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a first class ET fall over. XO and COB yelled at him for about an hour. After he left to go work on the anwsn, you could hear them laughing their asses off about it. I chuckled a bit but got told to get qualified...I miss those days

7/02/2008 10:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

SSN 751 was at the Clyde Sub base in Scotland in 1993. The Scots provide us with a very narrow brow. I don't think it was even 24 inches wide.

Being so narrow, it was not a good idea to lean on it and shoot the bull. On of our junior ROs did just that and ended up in the drink as the brow tipped over.

7/03/2008 3:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once we had just pulled into port and the topside crew was rigging the topside for in port. One of the guys (for what escapes me at the moment) fell into the water after walking to fast, and losing their footing (pure accident though).

As soon as he hit the water, everyone jumped to get the poor guy out of the water which was great reaction on the part of the 15-20 people topside at the time. (okay about 10 helped and the rest where laughing their a$$ off. I though for sure they were going to poke the guy with the boat hook.)

Later, and completely stranger, was the XO and COB had a freaking critique on how the guy feel into the water, the root causes, corrective actions, followed by, you guested (documented of course).

Everything was picked apart from How did he fall? Why wasn't the scopes never manned (in port mind you..)? Why the POOD didn't make the proper 1MC? (He made the 'man overboard port/starboard side' but didn't sound the alarm and a follow up 1MC even though there was enough people topside to cause a bottleneck to get to the guy) and a host of other stupid things. I never seen something so picked apart in all my life.

7/03/2008 7:04 AM

Blogger J120 Bowman said...

The good ship Atlanta pulled into the Royal Navy base across the river from Edinburgh Scotland (can't remember the name of the base) in the mid 90's. The A-Gang Chief was topside back aft checking on MBT covers. As he tried to go forward the EM's were hooking up shore power at the AET. He tried to slide around them on the port side, lost his balance and went into the drink! Did I mention it was early spring and the water temp was only slightly above freezing?
Moral of the story....don't get in the way of Nukes and liberty!

7/03/2008 7:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

San Diego, mid-80's on a warm summer night on a 594 class SSN:

I, as a QM3, go up to relieve topside (just one watch back then). As I get up there, I

notice that the ET3 on watch is wet and shivering. The in-depth turnover goes like this:


"checking drafts aft and walked off the boat"

"get back on with the jacobs ladder?"


"log it?"


"good. anything else"


"give me the belt and i'll count em' later"

"here you go, i had it, you got it"

"later...and hey, don't forget to do the dishes!"

" sucks being the off-going mid-watch, they want help with water also"

About 20 minutes later the BDW comes up..."anything happening?


"good...i will be loading water with, it's hot up here, no wonder he's sweating"


As far as I know, no one ever knew what happened. The pistol was the duty pistol and already

rusty. Those were the days!

Jim C.

7/03/2008 10:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never fallen overboard, but there was this time when I was on Deck Gang...

7/03/2008 10:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous Skater,

Did you make any of the Skate's three WestPac deployments in the early 80s?

7/03/2008 12:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

San Francisco, Guam, 1996! We were getting ready to get underway adn snorkeling. So there was snorkel juice everywhere.

In comes said RO, "Ralph the reactor troll" (He was cool) and we were "skylarking" topside, and my buddy says "Hey, wouldn't that be funny if Ralph fell in" as he was not moving too well from getting bery intoxicated the night before.

Well, Ralph came acrass the brow, slauted the flag, saluted the watch and kept going right into the drink!

7/03/2008 3:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rick,
Get a bigger box of Kleenex for the admiral. That guy went on to make Chief before getting tossed.

7/03/2008 7:06 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

In 1961 one of our JGs (Jack Feeney) had just gotten qualified. Two of his wardroom mates, both LTs, tricked him to come topside in Groton when Jack was the duty officer, intent on introducing Jack to the tradition at that time of throwing a newly qualified officer over the side.

They had Jack in their grasp, one at shoulders, one both feet, and were starting to swing him over the side when Jack - quick of mind - said "Hey, I'm the duty officer - I can't leave the ship." Hesitation was momentary, then they threw him overboard and - mid-air - the senior of the two said to him: I relieve you sir."

Man overboard.

7/05/2008 2:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mid 80s PH we had a couple of nubs who were removing a sail plate and in the process of tying it off with rope. Whatever kind of knot or hitch they were using came undone and the sail plate made its escape. The nubs, having been briefed on what would happen to them if they dropped it overboard, both held on for dear life and rode the sail plate to the bottom of the harbor.


7/05/2008 8:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

SSN 720, 1988 Med Run (Inport LaMad). TMSN (nub) D.R. arrives by way of the tender, telling al who can hear, that's MY BOAT. Everyone on liberty in Palau doing the usual the night before underway. TMSN (nub) D.R. proceeds towards the liberty launch (gray troop carrier) and slips and falls into the drink between the launch and the pier. High winds, misty rain and a few incompentent skimmers - this starts to turn ugly. About 40 sailors on the pier (half Frank Cable (ladies too)) - Everybody is still talking about what to do, I just push forward reach in and pull him out with the surge. Wallet did not get wet. Funny as hell. Kid turned out OK too.

7/06/2008 8:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two of my buddies, both relatively senior JO's on the good ship San Francisco in Bremerton during 2006...we'll call them "rotor" and "stator" for simplicity. Well rotor is SDO and stator is EDO. Rotor goes up for his 1800 tour, walks all the way aft topside, and is "inspecting" the MBT 4 & 5 vent covers when he slips on the substantial grass skirt at our waterline. As the topside described it "he fell in in slow motion sir." Man overboard called away, stator comes topside only to see rotor crawling his way back aboard, soaked in 40 degree Puget Sound water...Immediate actions complete, they call the CO for the 2000 report...Stator, on the phone no kidding "sir, one last thing, the SDO fell overboard but he's OK. Request to single the duty and have rotor relieve stator..." And the skipper gave permission. Good times.

7/11/2008 1:07 AM

Blogger ironmal said...

OKRA Overboard. Once during a loading party on the Stonewall Jackson SSBN-634 Gold there was an infamous incident. This was in 1982 in Kings Bay.

The CO "required" Okra to be served every day for lunch on our deterrent patrols in the early 80's. That drove half of the crew insane... patrol after patrol to see Okra on the POD and in the crews mess.

On the final day of our 3 day loading party in Kings Bay, a giant splash was seen between the hull and the pier. At first we thought it was a sailor, but to our surprise, it was a case of Okra. About 60 of us working topside looked up and we saw the outline of a sailor on the top deck of the Tender holding another case of the stuff over his head. It was almost dark and in the evening so none of us could see who it was...

As 60 of us cheered wildly and the Chop laughed his butt off, the perp heaved 5 cases of the dreaded material overboard. Unfortunately for the Old Man, it happened to be the last 5 cases on the base and we had to deploy in a few hours. He called his wife to buy some in town to deliver it and some of the hideous vegetables still made the menu occasionally on that 72 day patrol. A major security violation was called away on the Tender but the perp was never caught.

The Old Man ordered us to hold a secret trim party during the Chops Diving Qualification as paybacks for laughing when the Okra bandit struck.

Of course none of us would ever condone the destruction of Government Property for any reason... and if the bandit had ever been caught he would have been punished. That Captain was known for taking stripes.

7/16/2008 9:16 AM


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