Get an inside look at military life Life as a Sailor

Members of America’s Navy face everyday challenges, perform specific duties and, invariably, they become better for it. And no matter what you think you know about the U.S. Navy, one thing is true: No two people experience the Navy in the same way.

See what it’s like to live and work in America’s Navy all over the world, from the people who serve every day. From how you’ll dress and care for yourself, to how you’ll spend your free time.

Living Quarters

Whether on base or at sea, America’s Navy takes pride in providing outstanding living areas and conditions for its Sailors.

While on base, you could live in a barracks, an apartment or a house. And based on your personal situation, the Navy will help accommodate children, spouses and even visiting grandparents. Usually, Navy housing is unfurnished so that you can personalize where you live and be comfortable while serving your country.

While at sea, living quarters can be a little cozier, but the berthing area is a sufficient living space that allows you an area for storage and an assigned rack for sleeping. Mess decks provide a place for recreation and meals, and Sailors can kick back and watch TV or play games.


Video: Navy for Moms - Racks - USS Sampson

This is one of three racks videos showcasing life in the Navy. BM1 Jesse Crider from Detroit, Michigan takes you on a tour of the USS Sampson. Request permission to come aboard, meet Command Master Chief Fortson. See where Sailors sleep, shower, and eat. The onboard cash machine, the …

File Size:
66.3 MB
U.S. Navy

Free Time

Sailors play softball in a Morale, Welfare and Recreation-hosted tournament.
Sailors play softball in a Morale, Welfare and Recreation-hosted tournament.

Serving in the Navy is a serious venture, and the dedicated men and women work as hard as anyone on the planet, so free time is an important part of serving your country.

From sports and fitness, to travel and entertainment, your time away from work can be as exciting or relaxing as you make it.

Sports and Fitness

It goes without saying that it’s important to stay fit while serving, so the Navy provides the most state-of-the-art fitness centers imaginable. You’ll be encouraged to take advantage of programs that promote lifelong fitness habits and support your well-being. 

If you want to see how you stack up, download the Physical Fitness Assessment Checklist.

You’ll find yourself with plenty of opportunities to stay active and get in some friendly competition in your free time. So grab a basketball and a few buddies and play a pickup game, or join a bowling league or a Navy hockey team.

Check out how Paul Tharp has combined his competitive spirit with the training that he received from the Navy in this video.

Activities and Entertainment

Sailors ride Asian elephants off-duty in Pattaya, Thailand
Sailors ride Asian elephants off-duty in Pattaya, Thailand

If outdoor activities are your thing, the Navy offers instruction, lessons, and equipment for hiking, fishing, white-water rafting, rock climbing, scuba diving, windsurfing and more.

Take your family or spend some time alone at a museum or sporting event, a comedy show, concert or theme park. The Navy’s Information, Tickets & Tours (ITT) Program offers discounts, information and arranged trips for almost any interest.

And be sure to check out the Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation Program.

Personal Care

A Sailor has his hair cut by a Ship's Serviceman
A Sailor has his hair cut by a Ship's Serviceman

Personal care in the Navy doesn’t have to be a mystery. There are plenty of frequently asked questions that you can find answers to, but generally speaking, cleanliness and a professional appearance are requirements of the men and women who serve in the U.S. Navy.

The Female Grooming Standards video will provide some answers to questions that women might have regarding grooming standards.

If you have any questions, contact a recruiter for answers regarding grooming, body art, and off-duty expectations.

Get helpful information from this video when deciding what to bring with you to boot camp.