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New Jersey Scuba Diving

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New Jersey Scuba Diving

Submarines

Shipwreck USS Bass
There is something unique about diving a submarine - the Bass

The protected waters of Connecticut and Rhode Island were the site of much of the US Navy's early submarine development efforts, and continue to be even to this day. Many of the Navy's early submarine designs were less than successful, and a number of these boats, some of which were obsolete before they were completed, were used as subjects in weapons tests. If you would like to see a sub closer to home, you may tour the USS Ling in Hackensack.

There are also several German U-boats in the region, most notably the U-853. In the early years of World War II, the u-boats had tremendous success off the East Coast, mainly because practically no effort was made to combat them. These were typically the small Type VIIC and Type IXB submarines, and none of them are sunk off New Jersey or Long Island. The Germans called this 'The Happy Time.'

In the later years, anti-submarine warfare improved tremendously. Although the boats were the larger and more capable Type IXC, they seldom got away without being attacked, and three of them lie in diveable waters, if you call 200-300 feet diveable. And who knows - there may be others.

None of the u-boats that are known to have had action off the New Jersey / New York coastline survived World War II, although the U-123 was raised after the war and put back in service by France. The U-151 of World War I did survive that war, and was sunk as a target in 1921. Also in WWI, the U-156 is assumed to have laid the mine that sank the USS San Diego, and was lost shortly after.


USS L-8 ( SS-48 )

LI East Chart

Shipwreck USS L-8

Type:
shipwreck, submarine, U.S. Navy
Built:
1917, Portsmouth Navy Yard, NH USA
Specs:
( 167 x 15 ft ) no crew
Sunk:
Wednesday May 26, 1926
deliberate - torpedo test
Depth:
110 ft

The L-8 is intact and semi-upright, although badly "decomposed", off Newport, Rhode Island.

Shipwreck USS L-8


USS G-1 ( SS-19 )

LI East Chart

Shipwreck USS L-8

Type:
shipwreck, submarine, U.S. Navy
Built:
1911, Newport News, VA USA
Specs:
( 161 x 13 ft ) 400 tons, no crew
Sunk:
Tuesday June 21, 1921
deliberate - weapons test

Sunk in Narragansett Bay RI, and may or may not still be down there.


USS G-2 ( SS-27 )

LI East Chart

Shipwreck USS G-2

Type:
shipwreck, submarine, U.S. Navy
Built:
1912, Bridgeport, CT USA
Specs:
( 161 x 13 ft ) 400 tons, no crew
Sunk:
Wednesday July 30, 1919
foundered after weapons tests - 3 casualties ( inspection crew )
Depth:
81 ft

Sunk near Niantic Bay Connecticut; partially salvaged in 1962. Photo courtesy Ric Hedman


USS Salmon ( SSR-573 )

Shipwreck USS Salmon
Model of the Salmon in the 1970s.

Type:
shipwreck, Sailfish class submarine, U.S. Navy
Built:
1956, Portsmouth NH, USA
Specs:
( 350 x 25 ft ) 2530 tons, no crew
Sunk:
Saturday June 5, 1993
"artificial reef"
GPS:
39°42.2' -72°18.2' (US Navy 2004)
Depth:
360 ft

Shipwreck USS Salmon
The Salmon was originally constructed as a radar picket submarine.

A radar picket was a vessel that stayed out in front of the fleet, to warn of incoming air attacks. You might imagine this is a very dangerous job - eliminating these early-warning ships was a high priority for the other side. During World War II, the task of radar picket fell to destroyers, and more than a few were lost to Kamikaze attacks by the Japanese. The Navy reasoned that a submarine would be able to dive away from danger, and so a number of submarines were converted to the task, and a few, like the Salmon, were purpose-built. How well they would work out was never really determined, as rapid improvements in electronics and carrier aircraft resulted in aerial radar platforms that were completely superior. The picket subs "SSR"s were stripped of their radars and converted to attack boats "SS"s. Salmon served in this role for may years.

Salmon was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 October 1977. In 1992 Salmon was converted to a shallow water sonar target and moored off the bottom adjacent to the Hudson Canyon, on June 5 1993. From the Navy's 2004 report: "The Ex-USS Salmon was air filled when sunk in the early 1990s, but recent surveys indicate that it may now be partially filled." In other words, it probably sank to the bottom.

Hudson Canyon
Salmon's location is not a military secret.

Hudson Canyon
You can see the Salmon at the upper-left corner of this side-scan.

The Navy was working on side-scan sonar technology for detecting underwater mines. Look at the range on that plot - 5000 meters - about 3 miles ! They got ranges out to 8000 meters, almost 5 miles. That's incredible, with 1990's technology. You can read the whole report here ( pdf, pretty dry stuff. )



USS Spikefish ( SS-404 )

Deep Sea Chart

Shipwreck USS Spikefish

Type:
shipwreck, Balao ( modified Gato ) class submarine, U.S. Navy
Built:
1944, Portsmouth, NH USA
Specs:
( 312 x 27 ft ) 1810 tons, no crew
Sunk:
Tuesday August 4, 1964
weapons test
Depth:
280 ft

Sunk SSE of Montauk point, the Spikefish has been found, but not much dived.

Shipwreck USS Spikefish


USS Blenny ( SS-324 )

Shipwreck USS Blenny
The Blenny as she appeared during World War II.

Type:
shipwreck, Balao ( modified Gato ) class submarine, U.S. Navy
Built:
1944, Groton, CT USA
Specs:
( 312 x 27 ft ) 1810 tons, no crew
Sunk:
Wednesday June 7, 1989
artificial reef
Depth:
70 ft

Shipwreck USS Blenny
The Blenny after post-war GUPPY conversion.

The Blenny doesn't really belong here, since she is actually sunk off Ocean City Maryland, several hours drive south ( occasionally wrongly reported as Ocean City NJ. ) She lies on her starboard side, completely intact, with several large holes cut in her deck. Unlike some old submarine wrecks, which honestly resemble sewer pipes more than ships, the Blenny retains her shape and character, and makes an interesting dive if you are ever down that way.

Shipwreck USS Blenny



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Disclaimer:

I make no claim as to the accuracy, validity, or appropriateness of any information found in this website. I will not be responsible for the consequences of any action that is based upon information found here. Scuba diving is an adventure sport, and as always, you alone are responsible for your own safety and well being.

Copyright © 1996-2016 Rich Galiano
unless otherwise noted

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