Living inside a naval vessel involves an extremely high amount of risk tolerance. “Ships have killed, and will kill again” is a very common saying among U.S Navy sailors. After all, we deal with many threats out in the sea, which include the risk of exposing ourselves to other countries whose intentions might not be so noble. But, also sailors run the risk of having a fire inside (or on) the galley, aircrafts, munitions bay, fuel lines, work spaces, perhaps even falling overboard and drowning in the ocean. What people aren’t aware of however, is the true enemy inside a naval vessel exists in locations so common, that you might even be walking on one every day.
Ladder wells, two of the scariest words which could be used in conjunction for any sailor that has been aboard a ship. The ship has an extreme amount of these, and they all have varying degrees of danger to them, which range from: regular stairs to Mt. Everest in levels of steepness, yet they are all equally deadly. But, what makes this so dangerous Dash (you might be asking yourself)? To which I’ll answer: allow me to explain. When you are walking up regular stairs, there is always the risk of losing your balance and hitting a sharp corner, but it’s very unlikely (due to how simple it is) now imagine walking up those same stairs during an earthquake (suddenly, it’s not as easy). Ships are in constant motion; the constant rocking of the ship can throw any sailor’s sense of balance out the window in a heartbeat. You couple this with having to walk up the riskier stairs and you got a recipe for broken hands, feet, knees, and in some cases death. There are also, very few manners in which you can mitigate the risks involved, you might walk slower, but then you’ll inconvenience others who are trying to pass, perhaps even hold on to the railing, but I’ve tried this one and still fell down knee first (earned me a nasty scar with that event). I am convinced that these stairs are cursed, and or sentient.
At the very least I am convinced that the former is true. They have to be cursed to explain some of the events that have happened to me while traversing through them on the way to my office. I have fallen, lost my balance, tripped on them, and generally feel like they will eventually cause me PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I have probably gotten hurt on those ladder wells more than I have throughout my entire life. These ladders, probably account for more injuries on the ship than any other high-risk activity/object, and I think the reason is clear. It’s obvious that ladder wells are apex soul stealing predators which run rampant throughout the ship. They run no risk of ever being eliminated because they are necessary for travel; as such, they have claimed the lives of many sailors, each one adding an extra soul which assists in taking even more lives.
Now you might be thinking to yourself that perhaps the insanity of life in the boat has taken a hold of me, but how else can we explain the almost preternatural ability for these ladder wells to hurt sailors. I have heard some of the most horrific tales from other sailors, which include the one female who lost her balance and landed with her legs between the handrails, another sailor fell down and landed head first in those same handrails (he had a concussion). Most of these reports never go outside of the need to know basis, so civilians aren’t aware of them, but we are! We live our lives in constant fear that the spirits which live inside the ladder wells don’t choose us as their next victim. The reason for this fear is not unwarranted either; we have to live inside this boat for 6 months out of the year at minimum. We walk upon these cursed objects approximately 50 (or more) times a day depending on which location of the boat your work station is located. Every single day we wake up with the knowledge that if we take one single wrong step, the ladder wells will claim our lives. Read this carefully, every single step we take upon those ladder wells could be our last. This dear readers, is the definition of living life on the edge of a knife.
For reference, every single time I see a ladder well, the music in this scene plays out in my head: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks7Pjl8kM10
This article was a blast to write, I wish I could convey the emotions that are felt every single time that I have to walk through one of these. It’s terrifying.
I am not the owner of the images utilized for this article, but I am the owner of the blog and article.