Morale: Daring To Be Comfortable


August 24, 2007: The new British warship, the 7,400 ton Daring, is currently undergoing sea trials. All is apparently going well, with the ship exceeding specifications with regard to handling and sea keeping. But what fascinates the crew the most are the living conditions. There is about 40 percent more living space for the crew of 192. On a more personal level, all senior officers have single cabins, while junior officers have two-berth cabins. Senior petty officers have single or two-berth cabins (depending on rank), while the junior sailors have six-berth cabins. There are single bathrooms, with showers. All this is particularly attractive to female sailors. In the past, berthing areas often held two dozen or more bunks. But Daring is also the first British warship to come with a gym. There are also Internet connections and desk space in each cabin. Each of the dining rooms (mess spaces in sailorspeak) has a large flat screen TV, with a DVD player and connection to worldwide satellite TV.

The Darings are Type 45 class destroyers, with a stealthy design and weapons and electronics similar to American destroyers. But the smaller crew on the Daring is largely the result of more automation, something the next class of U.S. destroyers are expected to take advantage of as well. Daring's attention to crew comfort is considered a trend showing up in all new warship construction. Sailors are increasingly volunteers, and to fill the ranks, you have to improve living conditions aboard ships.


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