13 tips for dating on a US Navy ship

Aside from the doom and gloom, sometimes the hormones act up, your sailor goggles come on, and the natural thing happens when you’re cooped up for months at a time with members of the opposite sex.  It just happens. Yes, it’s stupid, and yes, you should know better. But, if you know better, and you’re still doing it, the following tips will help you and your “boat boo” from visiting the goat locker:

1. Forget about dating on a small ship.

Photos: US Navy

Photos: US Navy

It’s easier to conceal your well deck escapades on larger ships, such as carriers and amphibious vessels.

2. Keep your distance

catapult corrosion control aircraft carrier

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josh Cassatt/US Navy

Keep it professional, don’t make it obvious. No flirting in your shop.  Avoid eye contact altogether.

3. Never date in your division.

grape and plane captain

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Timothy Schumaker/US Navy

Keep it secret from your division buddies. One thing is for sure, as soon the wrong person catches wind, prepare to be teased or worse.

4. If the person you’re seeing is in the same division, volunteer for TAD (Temporary Additional Duty).

navy sailor tad with marines

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bradley J. Gee/US Navy

Yes, everyone hates it, but volunteering to crank in the galley might save you from getting caught. Once you’re called back to your division, it’s your partner’s turn to reciprocate.

5. Share no more than one meal per day.

uss carl vinson galley

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Giovanni Squadrito/US Navy

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6. Pass notes like you’re freakin’ teenagers.

note passing in class

You’ve been there before, so take a page from your high school days. Also, if you have a network of trusted friends to pass along your letters, seal your notes with candle wax for an extra layer of protection. It sounds medieval, but it’s effective.

NOTE: Don’t be stupid; don’t save your notes. The goats – Navy speak for chiefs – will use them as evidence if you get caught.

7. Visit common spaces together.

Photo: YouTube

Photo: YouTube

The library is a great common space to meet and pass notes.

8. Have a buddy in supply or any division with access to storage spaces.

weapons room

Photo: Wikimedia

This one is extra risky, but if you feel the urge to take it to the “next level,” your best friend is your buddy in supply. Supply personnel have access to storage spaces, which could be used to lock you in for an hour or two. Beware, you risk not showing up for emergency musters, such as GQ or man overboard. You’re at the mercy of your supply buddy since storage spaces are locked from the outside.

9. Wait for “darken ship” to meet at the bottom of ladder wells and corners.

darken ship uss abraham lincoln cvn 72

Photo: Capt. Lee Apsley/US Navy

10. Volunteer for roving watch and rendezvous on the fantail.

studying at the fantail

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda S. Kitchner/US Navy

… or a dark catwalk.

bridge catwalk us navy carrier

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dylan McCord/US Navy

11. Find another couple to provide you with a shore-buddy alibi.

double date alibi

12. Go out in groups.

hong kong navy

13. Have an open relationship. (And good luck with keeping that from getting messy.)

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Acronym cheat sheet: 

  • HM1: Hospital Corpsman, E6 pay grade
  • HM3: Hospital Corpsman, E4 pay grade
  • DRB: Disciplinary Review Board
  • CMC: Command Master Chief

WATM editor’s note: Let’s be clear, you should never date on a Navy ship. There’s too much to risk, such as being demoted, or even worse: getting the boot. For clarification, read the Navy’s Fraternization Policy.

Thanks to all the members of the Royal Order Of The Shellbacks and Shipmates Who Served Aboard The U.S.S. The Kitty Hawk CV 63 Facebook groups for helping us put together this post.