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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Pacific Northwest & Alaska
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  #11  
Old 02-20-2012
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Old 02-20-2012
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Unless things have changed since I was stationed on a submarine out of Norfolk submarines do not operate submerged until they have cleared the continental shelf. Submerged in the Straight seems unlikely.
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Old 02-20-2012
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"Are military Subs required to"
That would depend on the exact operational orders and regs that they were under at the specific time, for the specific vessel. It is conceivable that you eould NOT want the sub to respond, i.e., suppose the "civilian" was an Elbonian naval crew in disguise, trying to lure up the sub while it was en route to launch a cruise missile attack on Elbonia?
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Old 02-20-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokesailor View Post
Unless things have changed since I was stationed on a submarine out of Norfolk submarines do not operate submerged until they have cleared the continental shelf. Submerged in the Straight seems unlikely.
I would swag that you are correct in that subs would not normally be submerged in the straight.....then again, they might stay submerged a awhile, ie say inside of port angelas before coming up. There is one spot near the bangor base that is deep enough, ie over 400' that has been known to have submerged "war games" if that is the correct wording. I'm thinking there is another area out in the straight where live ammo is sometimes used on an island too. I think the island is used by planes more than subs. I could also be wrong on the uses of these marked naval practice area's marked on charts/maps etc.

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Old 02-20-2012
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Originally Posted by blt2ski View Post
I'm thinking there is another area out in the straight where live ammo is sometimes used on an island too. I think the island is used by planes more than subs. I could also be wrong on the uses of these marked naval practice area's marked on charts/maps etc.

Marty
Whiskey Golf has no islands. They use air, surface and sub-surfaced lanched torpedoes. I also believe that the sub-chasers from Comox practice in this area.

Whiskey Hotel is a gunnery range in Juan de Fuca.

Whiskey Papa is the exercise area off the west coast of Vancouver Island.
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Last edited by jackdale; 02-21-2012 at 11:20 AM.
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Jack,

Do not recognize those names or area's. Until proven otherwise, will assume on the BC side of SJF. The Island I was thinking of was smith on the eastern end of the US side in the straight, and Dabob bay within the Hood Canal area, just south and west of the bangor Trident sub base. I would not be surprised if there was not another US area or two for some exercising of military might along with some on the BC side of the straight. I'm mentioning places I recall and looked up on US charts, do not have any BC charts in front of me. So hopefully somewhat obvious that is not my play ground per say, and would see equal watch out for area's on BC charts as one see's down here on USCG/NOAA charts.

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Old 02-21-2012
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When I looked behind me I thought I saw a port hand buoy overtaking.
That must be disconcerting.
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You might be referring to areas on the Van Island side where American military machine gunned the drift wood on the beach much to the amusement of nearby hikers. Turned out that it was perfectly kosher by the government agreements of our two great nations.
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Old 03-20-2012
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Re: Submarine versus freighter

When I was commercial fishing off of Cape Flattery, We fished out about 65 miles on the "Prairie" and had subs come cruising through the troll fleet with nothing but a periscope up. They came by me a couple of times so close I thought I was going to lose all my gear! Scared the hell out of me! I heard of a dragger getting pulled backward by a sub that got caught in his net and damned near sunk - I don't doubt it a bit.
Nothing more frightening than trolling along catching a few salmon and have a sub come flying by you at 20 knts 20 yds off you beam with nothing but the scope up looking at you!! Good thing I had a strong heart!
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Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Submarine versus freighter

20 knots at 20 yards off your beam with nothing but the scope up...and looking at you? Fascinating. Were they lucky, or did they do that on purpose, showing off their incredible shiphandling skills?

I have been monitoring this thread for a few days without commenting, but feel obliged to comment today.

If fascinates me that folks will mill about an incident like this, an incident they have minimal information about, and draw conclusions that have little basis in fact. Others relate stories that are preposterous. Some describe routine and normal events as if they are incredibly unnerving, simply because the experience was abnormal to them.

The events surrounding Kentucky's close encounter in the SofJdeF are unclear, notwithstanding the story published in Navy Times. We don't know exactly what happened or why, but we do know that the practices that are in place for preventing collisions in the strait worked. What is likely is that Kentucky's navigation, piloting, and contact coordination team lost the picture, and rather than controlling the situation, were obliged to use the assistance of the Seattle Traffic or Tofino Traffic to alert them to a hazard. Unacceptable for a navy ship or submarine.

The article doesn't state that the CO was relieved because of this incident. He was relieved, but any relief would occur after a complete review of the incident, to include all factors that may have contributed such as training and proficiency of the crew, watchstanding practices, standing orders, actions of all leaders on watch and in the watch organization (on and off watch). There may have been other factors that weighed on the decision to relieve him, and the total weight of those factors would drive the decision.

US submarine officers and crew (and the officers and crews of our allies) are remarkable young men. The demands on them, personally and professionally, couldn't be met by the vast majority of folks. The duty requires a facility for math and science in order to learn complex engineering and war fighting concepts. The physical demands are significant with continual drills and practice in every area required to operate, fight, and stay safe. They take their responsibilities very seriously, and work longer hours than most of you can imagine for months at a time, increasing their knowledge, skills, and efficiency in order to minimize risk and optimize operational effectiveness. Though some people may not think submarine operations are important, most of these men do, and they do it because they think it is important, and that is important that it is done right.

Operations are planned in great detail. Operational areas are well coordinated within the US Navy and between our navy and our allies. Submerged operations are necessarily hazardous, but operations at the boundary between deep and surfaced, and moving into and out of that boundary involve even greater hazards because surface obstacles are included. The primary sensor while at periscope depth is the periscope, and it takes a lot of training to use it effectively. (Imagine that you had to sail your ship with one eye closed and the other looking through a paper towel tube.) Submarine commanders know this, and every man on each ship that is prudently operated knows it as well. Submarines operate submerged only when and where they are authorized to operate submerged.

I spent 34 years in the US Navy in submarine operations...15 on permanent assignment to various submarines and as an trainer, evaluator and inspector on at least 50 others. I have served with the submarine officers and men of 13 allied navies. With few exceptions, these people are the best of the best. Thousands of operational decisions are made every day...tens of thousands every week...hundreds of thousands every year. Most are great decisions. Most people never consider that large numbers of US submariners are at sea every day doing their duties with great result and minimal risk to themselves or others. However, very infrequently (but too often, of course) a key decision maker makes a bad decision that results in tragedy (Nisho Maru and Ehime Maru incidents). A bit more frequently, bad decisions are made that don't result in tragedy, but do result in a loss of confidence in submariners' abilities (this incident with Kentucky is one). What you can count on, though, is that this incident and all the attendant lessons have been broadly disseminated to every person who is serving or will soon serve on submarines to make sure that the experience of one ship can serve every ship to avoid similar events.

And the last thing these young men need is someone telling fairy tales about submarines cowboy-ing around fishing boats operating without regard for their own safety or the fishermen and their equipment, and stretching the tales to include operational parameters for the submarine that exceed the engineered capabilities of any submarine in the world.
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