USS Dolphin

Next on our tour of the San Diego Maritime Museum was the research and development submarine USS Dolphin.

The last diesel-electric submarine in US service, the Dolphin was also much smaller than other US subs, but it was still a significant, oceangoing vessel.


Unlike most US subs which have hulls designed to improve hydrodynamic efficiency, the Dolphin focused more on an ability to dive deeply. The hull shape was a pure tube, with hemispherical end caps for and aft.


The number of through hull fittings was kept to an absolute minimum, giving her greater hull strength.


Sonar Room


Berthing compartment on main deck. The majority of the crew berthing was on the lower deck, but that isn’t open to the public.


Radio Room


That’s labelled as a KY-58. I’ll let Craig weigh in on that. But for your general fund of knowledge, devices in the “KY” series are cryptographic devices for scrambling communications.


Ship’s helm. Unlike most US subs, there’s only one position, with the helmsman operating all the ship controls, including the rudder, diving planes, and the lee helm (that is, the device that signals desired throttle settings to the engine room).  The depth gauge has been removed, as the diving depth of the Dolphin (and indeed, all US subs) is not public information.


Diving control panel, immediately aft of the ships helm.


Ship’s galley. For a small ship, with a small crew, it’s quite the galley.


Topside, aft looking forward. Decommissioned in 2007, the catwalks were permanently installed for the safety of tourists.