Why no seat belts on Star Trek?

I haven’t watched that many Star Trek episodes/movies lately, but I’ve always wondered about the seat belt thing. Seems like every episode The Enterprise is fired upon, and people are thrown from their seats. Seems like somebody would think to belt people in. Any thoughts?

Same reason they rarely have belts on lots of shows. It doesn’t look good on camera.

If you remember Knight Rider, they had to use something called “laser passive restraint” to quiet the critics who complained that he didn’t use a seat belt.

They actually made a joke about it in the last Star Trek movie. In one of the last scenes, the repair crews are fixing the bridge of the Enterprise after it’s ass kicking by the bad guy.

One of the technicians shows Picard the new feature to the Captain’s chair. Automatic seat belts.

Picard’s reply…

“It’s about time”

(Actually, this may have been in a deleted scene from the DVD, I’m not sure)

They’ve had restraints in a couple of the movies. I remember some sort of leg manacle type thing that Kirk had on his chair in one of the TOS movie and Picard was supposed to get one in *Nemesis *but didn’t. It’s really not that big a deal… a number of officers don’t even have seats to sit in.

Another factor to consider is that in the heat of battle, people need to be able to move around freely. If someone at a critical post is injured and can’t perform his duties, it’d be pretty bad for someone to have to fight with a seatbelt and lose precious seconds or even minutes depending on how badly the belt’s jammed or how nervous they are.

By the way, that scene was never shown despite being filmed, Odin. At least, I don’t remember it and I watched all the extras on the DVD.

Generally it’s explained that they don’t have seatbelts because they have “inertial dampeners” instead. That explains why the entire crew isn’t smashed into the wall at whatever multiple of c they’re moving at. However, they seem to fail for a second whenever the ship is shot, so they’re obviously not very good, or the writers wanted things to be more dramatic, or the writers were idiots, whatever.

Inertial dampners are for FTL travel only and I’ve never seen them rationalized as making seat belts unnecessary.

It’s just a matter of aesthetics.

thanks guys!

Inertial dampeners are also used at Impulse.

One of the novels had a major plot point about inertial dampeners developement. Not canon, of course, but interesting.

A detailed description of Inertial Dampeners and their use from Star Trek dot com.


Good point. I should have just said sudden velocity changes.

…sudden (and massive) velocity changes, that is.

Because they are rugged explorers and manly men (and babe-a-licious women), and they don’t need no stinkin’ seat belts.

But on that note… perhaps there should be forward viewscreen mounted airbags?

I want to see a starship with turn signals.
(And it already has phasers for when the jerk in the next ship cuts you off…)

Sir, those lights are blinking out of sequence.
Make them blink in sequence!

What do you think those red lights on the end of the nacelles are?

On the old STAR TREK, after a Klingon torpedo hit, there would always be sparks and smoke from under the control panels on the bridge. Spock would leap out of his seat, and pick up a screwdriver, then would proceed to poke around …eventually the sparking would stop, and the smoke diminish. Why didn’t they have circuit breakers and fire extinguishers on the ENTERPRISE? And, why wasn’t Spock ever electrocuted?

They’re Bussard Ramscoops and they collect interstellar hydrogen molecules for use in the M/AM reactors in case they lose their complement of magnetic bottles. </pedant>

Wow. I am in awe. I also noticed there was never an inspection sticker on the lower left hand corner of the viewscreen…


Have you ever seen a ship (I mean a sea-going ship) with seatbelts - for either the passengers or the crew?

They don’t have seatbelts, because they’re based on sea-ships, which don’t have seatbelts. Or even seats, half the time.


If you mean ST:TOS, back when it was originally aired, seat belts for cars were still new, and shoulder harnesses were rare. The people watching never considered that there should be seat belts, since they didn’t use them and often didn’t have them. Same for the people making the show.

Planes had them, but fewer people flew in the mid-60s.