Why doesn't the bridge crew on the starship Enterprise (you know, from Star Trek) wear seatbelts? I'm not talking about some fancy 4 or 5 point Hooker Harness, just a simple seatbelt. Something to keep them from flying all over the place during a crash landing or encounter with .

Given that Stormtroopers Have Very Poor Aim, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that Starfleet engineers have such amazing disregard for safety.

I'm really not sure why I though of this just now, but it's been bugging me for years (apparently).

Posted by jzawodn at February 14, 2006 04:44 PM

Reader Comments
# hack said:

Once you've got the technology for artificial gravity, you can do without seatbelts.

That's assuming the Star Trek universe obeys Einstein's equivalence principle. Which I guess there's no reason to assume it does.

on February 14, 2006 05:04 PM
# jr said:

The best answer I've heard for this was that it was easier cleanup.

When a ship travelling at several thousand miles an hour suddenly has it's course shifted a few degrees, it's easier to sponge Kirk off the ceiling once rather than have to spounge the top half off first...

Mind you, clean up wasn't that much of an issue since the sparking, gigajoule circutry buried just below the thin, plastic instrument housing made clean up more a matter of changing the air filter, but that's another issue entirely.

on February 14, 2006 05:10 PM
# Jeremy said:

Inertial dampeners obsoleted the seat belt. Duh. Ever see what happens when they go offline?

on February 14, 2006 06:36 PM
# Steven E. McDonald said:

Actually, for a while the Enterprise did have seat belts -- you'll see them (actually seat restraints) in use in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Rather goofy looking. Also quite pointless when they do those dramatic standing bits when the story calls for a quick tilt to the left or right or a dive over a console.

I'm more alarmed at them letting Counselor Troi drive in NextGen. Every time that happens she crashes the damn ship into something.

on February 14, 2006 06:39 PM
# Nathan Weinberg said:

Normally, inertial dampaners work so well that you would never need any sort of seat belt or restraint. However, the computers that run them have a slight delay. As long as you are doing something that is programmed into the computer ahead of time, like a predetermined course, even the most complex of turns can be compensated for. However, in battle, you literally have to take the wheel, and moves can't be predetermined, so the ship shakes and people fall over. And, of course, you can't predict getting hit by a photon torpedo.

Now, normally you wouldn't be getting into a firefight every freakin' week, so there's no reason to worry about restraints. But on Star Trek, they aren't very good at staying out of trouble.

on February 14, 2006 06:50 PM
# Kevin Burton said:

Duh. Inertial dampeners!

on February 14, 2006 06:55 PM
# Reed Porter said:

The falling out of chair never seemed to bother me. I guess that's because when they went tumbling, the crewman was safely out of the way of those exploding consoles! How many Starfleet personnel are ingured by those things each year?

on February 14, 2006 07:07 PM
# Michael Parekh said:

I remember reading somewhere a few years ago that they literally didn't have the budget for it. Not sure if it's true.

on February 14, 2006 07:31 PM
# Joe said:

There's deleted scence on the ST:Nemesis DVD where engineers install a new chair for the captain with very fancy retraints. Worf is dismayed, but Picard says "It's about time"

on February 14, 2006 07:48 PM
# Alden Bates said:

In my experience, the control panels in Trek seem to regularly explode during combat. Obviosuly if you're belted into a chair, it's difficult to jump clear in the event of a control panel explosion, thus no seatbelts.

Also, with seat belts, Kirk wouldn't be able to pose dramatically while still seated.

on February 14, 2006 08:49 PM
# BKR said:

My guess is they were all holding on tight to their seats in case Pikard decides to quote again from shakesphere (one more shakesphere ref and i'monna puke all over, best if I hold tight). With Kirk's ego, crew is always on red-alert, you never know whats he's gonna do next (another affair with cat faced alien?)

p.s: they didnt need bathrooms in the future, maybe cause the did'nt have mcdonald's either.

on February 14, 2006 10:48 PM
# Stefan said:

I remember that one of the Star Trek makers once answered this question: With seatbelts they would stop falling from their chairs and thus the whole scenery would look less dangerous.

on February 15, 2006 03:40 AM
# Kevin said:

No seatbelts make it more dramatic. Ever wonder why the transporter room wasn't conveniently placed next to the bridge? It's cuz Roddenberry wanted the "walk to the transporter room" sequence to give Kirk and crew the opportunity to talk (exposition).

on February 15, 2006 02:03 PM
# Charlie said:

Maybe that had the same kind of laser seatbelt that Michael Knight used in KITT.

"Passive laser restraint system."

What the hell? Lasers that keep me in my seat?

on February 16, 2006 09:06 AM
# Back to Reality said:

Clearly the Federation isn't a nanny state. Wasn't there an episode where the Enterprise visits present day Britain and a health and safety officer fails the Enterprise after an inspection, I believe the inspection report read:


- FAIL: Split level bridge, risk of employees falling
- FAIL: Consoles with colored lights - not 508 compliant for color blind users
- FAIL: Bridge seating - not forward facing, no head restraints, no airbags
- FAIL: No booster seats available for smaller alien personnel (E.g. Yoda)
- FAIL: Patients allowed to enter sick bay without signing comprehensive 10 page disclaimer prior to treatment- FAIL: Photon torpedo tubes ('that could take someone's eye out')
- FAIL: Warp drive - way too fast, insufficient braking capabilities
- FAIL: Left brake light, right brake light, headlights, foglight
- FAIL: Absence of Captains' rear view mirror
- FAIL: Insufficient radiation protection for engineering workers
- FAIL: Insufficient restroom facilities (in fact no restroom facilities whatsoever)
- FAIL: Complete lack of fire extinguishers or any trace of sprinklers
- FAIL: Insufficient ship's cleaning staff
- FAIL: No prominently displayed insurance certificate
- FAIL: No designated ship's officer for health and safety

Would have been a great episode - wonder how it would have ended. Speculation welcome.

on February 21, 2006 04:45 AM
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