At USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park there are many different exhibits the whole family can enjoy. In addition to the submarine itself, we have many fantastic outdoor displays.
The Waterfront Memorial is dedicated to the 52 submarines and more than 3,500 officers and crewmen lost during World War II. This memorial honors their enduring memory by telling the story of each lost submarine and listing those submariners lost in this epic struggle.
The Regulus I was a nuclear armed turbo jet powered cruise missile used by the U.S. Navy during the Cold War. It was launched from submarines and surface ships, and had a range of about 500 nautical miles. On 8 June 1959 a Regulus I missile was loaded with 3,000 letters and launched from the submarine USS Barbero (SS-317). The missile traveled over 100 miles for approximately 22 minutes over the Atlantic Ocean. It made a successful landing at Mayport Naval Air Station in Mayport, Florida to deliver 3,000 letters that the U.S. Postmaster General, Arthur E. Summerfield, had written to key political figures such as President Eisenhower. Each envelope had a picture of the Regulus I and said “First Official Missile Mail.”
USS PARCHE (SS-384) CONNING TOWER
Unfortunately while touring Bowfin visitors are unable to go into the conning tower, but we have the conning tower from USS Parche (SS-384). Visitors are welcome to walk in and explore what it would have been like for the crew to fit and operate in such a confined space.
The design of the Japanese Kaiten was originally based on the highly successful surfaced-launched Type 93 “Long Lance” torpedo. Nearly 400 Type 1’s were built, and were the only type used operationally. The Type 4 oxygen-kerosene engine produced 1,500 horsepower on one shaft, and the warhead contained 3,960 pounds of TNT. Approximately 45-50 Type 4’s were built in 1945, but were never used operationally. An escape hatch was not provided for the Kaitens built late in the war, and in any case, no pilot is known to have attempted to escape from his speeding torpedo as it approached its target. A Kaiten was carried piggyback aboard mother submarines, and possibly aboard a few surface ships adapted for that purpose. At least three could be carried at a time on one mother sub; some I-boats carried as many as six Kaiten. Maximum depth was 264 feet, which placed that limit on the mother boat. In the Japanese human torpedo program, eight mother submarines and almost 900 lives were lost.
McCANN RESCUE CHAMBER
The only successful rescue of men from a sunken American submarine occurred in 1939, when USS Squalus (SS-192) sank to the bottom on a test dive. Working against time and extreme depth, divers from the submarine rescue vessel USS Falcon (ASR-2) were able to attach a downhaul cable from the McCann submarine rescue chamber to make several trips between the submarine and the surface until the 33 survivors were brought to safety.
In an effort to expand our reach and impact, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park is currently undergoing a major expansion and renovation project, which involves the temporary closure of certain exhibits and parts of the park. The USS Bowfin itself remains open during our improvement project. The gift shop, food service, all concessions and lanai will remain open as well. Please visit our social media channels for the latest updates on progress in our museum and park!