Living Conditions

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What is it like to live at sea?

How do the Navy's soldiers, sailors and airmen live when not on duty? Over the 20th century new ship designs, technology and profound social changes have transformed the quality of life at sea.

The grandeur of the Captain's cabin has decreased whilst the basic standard for the normal sailor has increased.

The number the Navy requires to crew a ship has also changed. For example, the battleship HMS Dreadnought built in 1906 was 160 metres long and squeezed over 750 people onboard. In contrast the new Type 45 destroyer is only 8 metres shorter but will have a crew of just 190.

Seaman's mess deck, HMS Hood. (RNM)
Seaman's mess deck, HMS Hood. (RNM)

Article highlights

  • What is it like to live at sea?

  • Captain's cabin

  • Sleeping

  • Living at sea