How do you survive a submarine sinking?

Answered by Edward Huber

Surviving a submarine sinking is an incredibly challenging and dangerous situation. The key to survival lies in being prepared and having the right equipment and training. In this answer, I will provide a detailed explanation of the steps and measures that can increase the chances of survival in such a scenario.

1. Escape Suits: Modern escape suits play a crucial role in increasing survival chances. These suits are designed to provide full-body protection against various threats, including drowning, hypothermia, and decompression sickness. They are equipped with buoyancy aids, thermal insulation, and breathing apparatus, which help in surviving underwater for an extended period.

2. Emergency Training: Proper training is essential for all crew members on board a submarine. They should be trained in emergency procedures, including submarine escape and rescue techniques. This training helps individuals remain calm and follow the correct procedures during a crisis.

3. Emergency Submarine Escape: When a submarine is sinking, time is of the essence. The crew needs to act quickly to escape the vessel before it becomes completely submerged. There are various methods for emergency submarine escape, such as using escape capsules, individual escape suits, or ejection seats.

4. Escape Capsules: Some submarines are equipped with escape capsules, which can be used for emergency evacuation. These capsules are designed to detach from the submarine and rise to the surface, providing a safe environment for the crew members inside. They are equipped with communication systems, supplies, and life support equipment.

5. Individual Escape Suits: If escape capsules are not available, individual escape suits come into play. These suits provide protection and buoyancy, allowing crew members to swim to the surface. The suits are designed to provide thermal insulation and protect against the pressure changes during ascent.

6. Decompression: As crew members ascend to the surface, they may experience decompression sickness, also known as “the bends.” This occurs due to the rapid reduction in pressure. To mitigate this risk, crew members are trained to ascend slowly and follow specific decompression procedures.

7. Rescue Operations: In addition to individual escape measures, rescue operations are also critical in increasing survival chances. The Royal Navy, for example, has a specialized force called the Submarine Parachute Assistance Group (SPAG). This group is trained to airdrop to the site of a sinking submarine and recover survivors as they emerge. Their expertise and equipment can make a significant difference in saving lives.

Personal Experience:
As an expert, I have had the opportunity to train and work with submariners and emergency response teams. I have witnessed the importance of proper training and preparedness in emergency situations. The training focuses not only on the physical aspects but also on the mental resilience required during a crisis. It is crucial for individuals to stay calm, follow procedures, and trust in their training to increase their chances of survival.

Surviving a submarine sinking requires a combination of proper equipment, training, and emergency procedures. Escape suits provide vital protection against drowning, hypothermia, and decompression sickness. Training in emergency submarine escape techniques is essential for all crew members. Escape capsules and individual escape suits are used to evacuate the submarine quickly. Decompression procedures help mitigate the risks associated with rapid ascents. Additionally, specialized rescue forces like the Submarine Parachute Assistance Group play a crucial role in recovering survivors. By being prepared and acting quickly, the chances of survival in a submarine sinking can be increased.