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How low… can you go? How low… can you go? When it comes to National Submarine Day, it’s easy to believe that it’s pretty low.

History of National Submarine Day

Some people may find it hard to believe that the first recorded submersible was built by Cornelius Drebbel in 1620! This underwater ship was apparently built for James I of England for use in London, although why anyone would want to plunge beneath the surface of a 17th century Thames is difficult to understand!

The original versions of submarines were built to hold only one or two passengers, but modern versions are made to hold up to 100 passengers. Typically, since this is a very dangerous job, militaries will use as few people on their crew as possible.

April 11, 1900 is the date when the United States government purchased its first commissioned submarine, named the USS Holland. The USS Holland was the United States Navy’s first commissioned submarine, named for her Irish-American inventor, John Philip Holland. (It is important to note that this was not actually the first submarine of the US Navy, which was the 1862 Alligator.) But this boat was originally laid down as Holland VI, and launched on 17 May 1897.

Having played major parts in military operations for over a century, today’s submarines are, of course, far more sophisticated than that particular oar-powered contraption. The amount of expertise that goes into their design, construction, maintenance and operation is quite staggering, especially when you take into account the inclusion of navigation and communication networks, sensors, armaments and weaponry, and powerful propulsion systems. This is all in addition to the most important part of a submarine: a large number of rigorously trained and highly skilled men and women who are often putting their lives on the line for their countries!

In honor of that first commissioning of the USS Holland in 1900, National Submarine Day was established to be celebrated each year on the anniversary of this date!

How to Celebrate National Submarine Day

Today’s observance of National Submarine Day can take on many forms. Here are some ideas for making plans, but feel free to go far beyond and get creative with some of your own ideas too!

Visit a Submarine

Those who are serious about observing National Submarine Day might want to consider taking a road trip to a museum or other exhibit where a submarine is accessible to the public. Smaller retired subs often find themselves put on display for adults and children to see and experience what it is really like, in places like children’s museums and science exhibits.

Various submarine tours can be found in port cities in the United States and other countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and many other European countries.

Learn Fun Facts About Submarines

In celebration of National Submarine Day, raise awareness for the day by learning about and sharing some of these interesting bits of trivia:

  • Submarines were used in the American Civil War. The South built small steam-powered subs called “Davids” to fire torpedoes at the ships from the North.

  • The furthest dive completed by a submarine was 35,858 feet.

  • The world’s first submarine for the military was designed in the US and built in 1776, the same year the US gained its independence.

  • The periscope, which is a vital tool for submarines, was invented in 1854 by a Frenchman.

Check Out the Submarine Force Library & Museum

In the US, the only submarine museum in the country that is run by the US Navy is located in the New England state of Connecticut. At the Submarine Force Library & Museum, the first nuclear powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, resides right outside the back doors of the building. Free tours of the sub are given for individuals, families, school trips and more. Scavenger hunts are also a fun way for folks to participate, especially in celebration of National Submarine Day!

Take a Moment to Consider Submarines

In celebration of National Submarine Day, perhaps it would be important to simply take some time to think about and consider this special feat of engineering. Take a moment to think about the ingenuity and majesty of the mighty submarine itself. Celebrate its place in the modern world. Or imagine what these submarines might be like in a hundred years’ time!

But perhaps most importantly, this would be an important time to take a moment to think about those whose lives have been lost at sea over the years and pay tribute to the courage of those who made a sacrifice, whether in the name of their countries or for increased knowledge and science.

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