Again, the phrase "actually diving the ship" does NOT apply to the COOW. "Actually diving the ship" involves many steps beyond what the COOW does. The COOW is merely opening valves because the DOOW can't reach all the way over there to do that. If you just opened those valves and did nothing else, the submarine would go down at an odd angle, because of hydrodynamic forces. This would cause a safety and navigation issue. What you want is for the submarine to go down at a certain angle and a certain speed, so when the evolution is complete, you're running level at the desired depth. That's "actually diving the ship", ok. I don't know how much more clear I can be on that.
So the DOOW is "actually diving the ship". He instructs the COOW to open valves and then close them at a later time. That's just one part of the evolution of diving the ship.
Here, I found some more pics that will help.
Here's my old boat, USS Florida SSBN-728, hopefully these pics will work:
USS Florida SSBN-728 Control
ok, so, Senior Chief Harris is the one who would reach and maintain ordered depth, right. To do that, he has to get the angle of attack right, he has to get the speed right, and he has to open valves. Petty Officer Cole, seated to our right of Senior Chief Harris, is Chief of the Watch. Clearly, Senior Chief Harris can't just reach over and hit that switch and still pay attention to the angle of the boat, speed and course. So he tells Petty Officer Cole to open the valves and make the announcements. Petty Officer Cole has many other things he controls from that panel (just a few off the top of my head: air pressure, O2 level, CO2 level, water pressure in various systems), but when diving the submarine, his role is to open the appropriate valves and monitor water flow. Senior Chief Harris tells Petty Officer Dominguez to set the correct bubble (angle of attack), and he tells Petty Officer Valles to set the correct speed and rudder.
Ok, so that's on the Florida. Here's the Virginia class. This is probably more like your ship:
USS Virginia submarine Pilot and Co-Pilot
Now, this is very different. Chief Bolte and Chief McIntire are Co-Pilot and Pilot. Each of these touch screens integrates the roles of DOOW, COOW, Helm and Planes. So now, all the Pilot has to do is press the appropriate button on the touch screen to set speed, bubble, rudder and air valves in order to dive the boat.
In both cases, only one guy was "actually diving the ship". In the case of the older boat, that one guy had to instruct a few other people to do things, because they were out of reach. In the new one, that one guy just has to press a button to do the same thing.
Really the procedure is basically the same, but in the newer boat, you have more automation. Hopefully this clears things up.
Well, here's why the Navy doesn't do it that way, sir. The OOD is a navigator. He concentrates on navigation. He can't be everywhere on the ship and, quite frankly, some of the technical details are best done by specialists. For example, the man who is navigating the ship (according to Navy submarine culture) shouldn't be concerned with acquiring sonar contacts. He has sonar technicians to do that. They do that for him so he can determine where the boat should go and where we should target our weapons. In other words, don't shoot at ship X because those are civilians; instead shoot at ship Y...don't go to course XXX because the current course is where we need to be to follow the bad guy.
Civilian ships, from what I understand, do this in a different way. You have a guy controlling navigation and a different guy controlling the engine. Weapons are not applicable on your ship, so you don't need separate people to operate those systems. If you did have weapons, the guy who is navigating probably wouldn't aim the weapons. The Navy has more people because we are performing a different mission.