How to Survive the (Forgotten) & Dreaded Month of Refit

close up photo of yearly planner beside a pen

Boomer life. The good life. Family-friendly. Part time sailor life as you only “own” the boat for half the time.

For those unfamiliar with “Boomers”, SSBNs, or ballistic missile submarines have two crews that take turns taking the boat to sea. There is a short period of maintenance, “refit,” between each “patrol” where both crews work to complete maintenance on board and turn over the boat. This refit is now what I think of as a bonus month of patrol as your sailor is incredibly busy on the boat. It is a condensed maintenance period with an enormous amount of work to be done and an ever changing schedule. It can also a shock to the system as you go from “off-crew” (a schedule similar to a 9 to 5 work day) when your sailor can guesstimate with 90% accuracy if he or she will make dinner to 0% chance of knowing if any plans will work. This goes for the entire refit period.

After surviving the first one with two littles I have a couple pieces of advice:

Keep your schedule and routine. Your sailor will come and go as he needs to. Working hard to try to wait for dinner until he or she is home could leave you very hangry. They are doing they’re very best and really don’t want to disappoint. Make it easier by just continuing the routine unless they ask for an exception

Communicate when you DO see them. Share the plans for the week and see if they know when a light day is to have a meal together or an early evening to watch a movie. 

Treat this period like a bonus part of patrol. If you see them it’s wonderful and enjoy those moments before they leave for sea. 

This time will mentally prepare you for them leaving. The ever changing plans and late nights so they are here but not really here allows you to want them to go so they can come home and go back to the off crew life that boomer sailors do get to enjoy. 

Finally, find a buddy going through the same ups and down if you can! Or another sub spouse who can relate to the rollercoaster of predeployment emotions. Get involved in your FRG and lean on others who get it!

How do you survive refit? Do you wait and change or continue on with the same schedule? 

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