Controlling Damage on RCN Ships

By Dr. Ann Griffiths, 29 December 2021

The Naval Association of Canada has produced another useful and interesting addition to its Briefing Notes. BN#42 is about damage control. What does that mean? Well, good thing you asked. According to the BN, “[d]amage control pertains to the category of unfortunate events that cannot be avoided but can be managed in order to minimize the loss of life and the loss of the ship, while still accomplishing the mission in which the ship is involved.” This could include damage caused by fire, rough seas, faulty equipment or an accident (eg., collision or grounding), as well as battle damage resulting from an enemy attack. Sailors can’t call the fire department while at sea, so they train to control the damage themselves. Fire is considered the most likely event, and this is why the response to a fire emergency is practiced most frequently, and why warships have multiple fire suppression systems. If you want to know more, read the NAC Briefing Note, available at BN42-damagecontrol.pdf (


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