37 Awesome Photos Of Life On A US Navy Carrier

An aircraft carrier is like a small city at sea, except this city is armed to the teeth.

Onboard, thousands of sailors work, sleep, and play for months at a time while deployed around the world. But what’s life really like?

We rounded up 37 photos from our own collection and the Navy’s official Flickr page to give you an idea.

A day at sea begins with reveille — military-speak for “wake up” —  announced over the ship’s loudspeaker, known as the 1MC.

us pacific fleet carrier 

Some sailors start their morning in one of the many cardio gyms onboard.

CVN 73 cardio gym

While others hit the free weights.

cvn 68 gym

On any one of the mess decks, culinary specialists start preparing to feed the thousands of sailors that will show up for breakfast.

navy cook

And sailors file through the line and fuel up for the day ahead.

navy mess deck

On the flight deck, sailors need to be extra careful.

beware of jetblasts

The flight deck is the world’s most dangerous place to work.

flight deck steam


A step in the wrong direction could turn propellers into meat grinders.

Navy grayhound on carrier

Jets launch around the clock.

F/A-18E Super Hornet launch

And darkness doesn’t slow them down.

night time hornet

Sailors on the flight deck work in 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. As a former sailor myself, I can say we sometimes forget what day it is.

Diamondbacks hornet

Nights at sea are a stargazer’s dream.

E-2C Hawkeye at night

We fix planes in the hangar.

Hawkeye dome repair

We squeeze them into tight spots.

aircraft handler

Teamwork is essential.

navy teamwork

Together we can move planes.

flight deck sailor teamwork

Even ships.

navy teamwork flight deck

No matter what, a buddy will always have your back.

uss kitty hawk flight deck mechs

Work can be exhausting. Every sailor sleeps in a small space called a rack.

navy ship rack

But sailors quickly learn to sleep anywhere.

sleeping sailor


sleeping on the boat

Sometimes we get to dress like pirates to honor the long-standing tradition of “Crossing the Line.”

crossing the line USS Kitty Hawk

At the “Crossing the Line” ceremony Pollywogs endure physical hardships before being inducted into the mysteries of the deep.

carl vinson pollywogs

Only then can King Neptune and his royal court transform a slimy Pollywog into an honorable Shellback.

wog day king neptune

This tradition is older than anyone can remember.

navy tradition

Sometimes when we have downtime we go for a dip in the ocean.

sailors swimming from the dwight d aircraft carrier

We play basketball in the hangar.

USS Ronald Reagan basketball

Or volleyball.

hangar bay volleyball

We sing on the flight deck.

USS Ronald Reagan kareoke

Or relax in the berthing – Navy speak for living quarters.

uss kitty hawk berthing poker

The best part about being a sailor is traveling.

uss nimitz pearl harbor

We visit foreign ports.

ov and smurf in south korea

We play as hard as we work.

sailors in guam

Sometimes we visit places civilians will never see.

iwo jima

We never forget our sacrifices.

iwo jima memorial

We honor traditions.

sailors in dress whites

And when we sail off into the sunset, we know tomorrow is a new adventure.

USS George HW Bush sunset