Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS)
Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS) is the U.S. Navy's submarine training school for enlisted sailors. Located on Naval Submarine Base New London (NAVSUBASE NLON) in Groton, New London County, Connecticut. BESS is an 8-week introduction to the basic theory, construction and operation of nuclear-powered submarines.
Although relatively short in duration, BESS teaches an enormous amount of information. The curriculum includes 3 quizzes and 3 tests, all designed to test your knowledge from the classroom and various high risk trainers. Students will first attend indoctrination for 1 week followed by 6 weeks of learning. A more specific schedule can be found below.
Week 1 - Indoctrination
Week 2 - Basic Submarining, Basic Damage Control, Submarine Ratings, Submarines - Past, Present and Future (Quiz 1)
Week 3 - Petty Officer of the Deck, Lookout, Interior Communications, Operational Risk Management (Test 1)
Week 4 - Ship Security, Air Systems, Normal and Emergency Surfacing, Hull Structures and Closures, Line Handling (Quiz 2)
Week 5 - Hydraulic Systems, Trim and Drain System, Engineering Systems (Test 2)
Week 6 - Ship Safety, Atmosphere Control and Monitoring, First Aid, Ventilation System (Quiz 3)
Week 7 - Ship Control (Test 3)
Week 8 - Graduation
*All tests cover material from the current week as well as all the material that is on the previous quiz. Test 3 covers every topic in BESS.
High Risk Trainers
The Navy operates four high risk trainers that your BESS class will attend in random order. They are as follows:
Fire Fighting - Students are instructed in the differences between submarine and surface ship fire fighting and the special equipment used in sub-surface fire fighting.
Damage Control - “Wet Trainer” Sailors are required to patch leaks and seal ruptured pipes before their compartment completely floods.
Submarine Escape - Personnel learn how to successfully escape from a disabled submarine.
Ship Control - "Dive and Drive" Students learn how to steer and dive/rise the submarine.
When will I attend BESS?
When you will attend submarine school depends on what rating you have chosen. Generally speaking, the non-technical ratings will attend there “A” school training first and then attend BESS before heading to their submarine. Non Technical ratings are as follows:
Culinary Specialist - CS(SS)
Logistics Specialist - LS(SS)
Yeoman - YN(SS)
Sailors who have chosen a rating with a technical “A” school will attend BESS immediately after boot camp. These ratings are:
Electronic Technician/Communications - ET COM
Electronic Technician/Navigation - ET NAV
Fire Control Technician - FT
Information Systems Technician, Submarines - ITS
Machinist’s Mate, Submarines - MM(SS)
Missile Technician - MT
Sonar Technician, Submarines - STS
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