Friday, September 30, 2011


Here is another True Story told to me by my friend Charlie Nixon, a submariner I worked with at Wang Labs.  You can find a number of similar stories on the Internet if this whets your appetite for humor on submarines.

When sailors on a sub need to use the toilet, flushing is a little different than us land lubbers.  Their poop and ick has to be kept in a tank called a "sanitary", and there are several on the sub.  Since they don't use much water to flush, they have one handle that releases small amount of sea water to flush the poo down the toilet.  Now to be able to force the poop and ick out into the ocean depths, they must put the sanitary tank under high high air pressure or it can't overcome the pressure of the water down deep.  If they pump it up real high pressure, they can shoot it out into the deep water.

Obviously, there must be strong ball valves at the urinals and toilets to withstand this powerful air pressurization process.  So the second handle on each crapper is the ball valve. During normal operations, you do your thing then open the ball valve, open the water valve, then shut them both tight.

From time to time when the tanks are getting full, personnel declare they are going to Blow the Sanitary Tank #4 for instance, or all tanks.  To warn the users NOT to open any ball valve while the tank is pressurized and blown out to sea, they go around and hang signs on all bathrooms and crappers etc. saying BLOWING SANITARIES.  If you have an emergency you can still poo in the toilet, just DON'T PULL THE BALL VALVE! until after the tanks are cleaned and depressurized.  This is announced, and there is even a smell of bad farts permeates the ship while the tank is pressurized, so everyone knows.

But every cruise, there is at least ONE dufus who has to go, ignores the signs, zones out, whatever, and they use the toilet and not-thinking they automatically pull down the big lever to open the ball valve.  WHOOOOOOSHHHH!  The sound is unmistakable throughout the sub, a giant pressure whooshing booming splatting sound.

The person who pulled the lever usually has the presence of mind to shut the valve back quickly, but once Charlie heard a SECOND WHOOSH WHUMP sound after the first.  He ran to see what newbie idiot did this, and the poor guy came out of the head with toilet paper draped around his ears, hair plastered straight back with chunks of poop and liquid shoot, eyes to white holes in a brown poop covered face, between his teeth, dripping off every part of him, and it was all over ceiling, walls, every crevice, and this guy was going to have to clean it all up plus be tortured the rest of the cruise.

Apparently, he'd been in such shock the first time he pulled the handle, he could not process what had just happened to him, and he pulled it a second time to be sure.  :-)  This is hilarious of course to everyone else, except they have to deal with the smell etc. for a very long time.  So, if you are ever on a submarine, and you see the sign Blowing Sanitaries, do NOT pull the ball valve handle to flush!  He even had corn stuck in his teeth.  The pressure is very strong.

Copyright 2011 VROUK

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