Free to good home: A diesel boat

Posted by lex, on February 4, 2007

You know, when I was a kid, I always wanted to buy one of those submarines that were advertised in the comic books. You know the ones:

I didn’t buy one of course. It wasn’t like $6.98 grew on trees back in the day, and deep inside myself, in a demonstration that The World had already impinged upon my youthful innocence, leaving me just that teensiest bit cynical, I knew it was too good to be true. There just wasn’t any way that an actual submarine – seating two kids! – could be had for under $10. It had to be some sort of ruse, like the “X-Ray glasses” that’d let you see through, you know: Stuff.

Turns out I was wrong. Turns out you can too have a submarine for less than $10. Turns out you can have one * for free!

Free to a good home: vintage submarine, recently restored. One previous owner.

That’s not quite how the notice is worded, but that’s the message from the Navy, which is looking for someone to take over the USS Dolphin, one of the oldest submarines in its fleet. The Dolphin, a one-of-a-kind research vessel, was commissioned in 1968. In a notice published in this week’s Federal Register, the Navy said it will accept offers from government agencies, nonprofit groups or other institutions willing to make the submarine into a museum.

The Navy hopes to keep the vessel in its home port of San Diego. Any new owner will also be required to keep the 165-foot sub in good condition.

Navy spokeswoman Pat Dolan said the Navy started its vessel donation program in 1945, when it gave the battleship Texas, a dreadnought that fought in both world wars, to a state historic site near Houston.

At least 47 other boats have been donated through the program, Dolan said. Aspiring submarine owners have until March to submit offers.

Unfortunately, I am not qualified to operate a diesel submarine, and boats can be very expensive to maintain – not to mention the rats. I patiently await the offer of a free FA-18C, should that ever come ’round however.

For a Hornet, I could maybe do the maintenance myself. For a while.

** 09-25-20 Link gone; no replacement found – Ed.

09-25-20 – Note: The Dolphin did find a home – at the Maritime Museum in Sandy Eggo. I visited her at the last Lex get-together – Ed.

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