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About Crew Endurance

 

An adequately rested crew is critical for optimal performance. Historically, our Naval fleet culture has not fully appreciated the value of crew rest. When applied and managed properly, crew rest acts as a force multiplier—enhancing operations, training, maintenance, and safety.

Use these pages to learn more and find out what you can do to help your crew!

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The improvement in watchstander alertness was noticeable from the first week after this rotation was implemented. Feedback from the crew was very positive, but it required a great deal of commitment to avoid slipping back into the old routine. The results were outstanding – where it counts, in accomplishing the mission.”

-CAPT John Cordle, USN (ret), former commanding officer, USS San Jacinto
2010 BUMED “Epictetus” Award recipient for Innovative Leadership

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Basic rules of healthy work and sleep patterns:

  • Obtain 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per 24-hour period, preferably at the same time each day
  • Compensate for any sleep loss with naps; if possible, allow yourself 30 minutes or 2 hours for napping with less sleep inertia
  • If possible, use bright light to improve alertness at your workplace
  • Avoid light (especially blue light) exposure before bedtime
  • Exercise, but no later than 2-3 hours before your bedtime
  • Avoid large meals and beverages, especially caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, before bedtime
  • To the extent possible, use the 24-hour circadian rhythm to set the foundation for your work and rest periods
  • Build a stable daily work schedule including the watch bill that maximizes rest opportunities
  • Minimize rotating shifts changes to allow your circadian clock to adjust to your work schedule
  • Use caffeine during the first part of your shift to promote alertness; caffeine may prevent sleep so use it wisely
  • Learn and understand the effects of good sleep practices
  • Get supporting analysis before you make a final decision to change the work and rest schedules of your crew

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Important Messages From the Fleet

Warfighting Serial Ten 2 FEB 2016 (doc) Discusses the importance of Exercise, Nutrition, and Sleep for improving and maintaining operational performance and combat readiness.

Force Operational Notes Newsletter (pdf) Discusses the benefits of Crew Rest for the submarine community and describes efforts to move away from the 6/12 watchstanding schedule, which has been used by the submarined community for decades.

Circadian Rhythm Message (doc) This message was sent to the USN Surface Fleet to encourage the use of circadian-based watchbills.

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Some of the ships that have used Circadian-based Watch Schedules:

  • USS TRUXTUN
  • USS ROSS
  • USS ROOSEVELT
  • USS SAN JACINTO
  • USS OSCAR AUSTIN
  • USS BARRY
  • USS MASON
  • USS STOUT
  • USS JASON DUNHAM
  • USS DECATUR
  • USS BENFOLD
  • USS MONTEREY
  • USS HARRY S. TRUMAN
  • USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT
  • USS NIMITZ
  • USS PORTER

(Should the name of your ship or command be included in this list?! Let us know and we will add it!)