The United States Naval Undersea Museum is located in Keyport, Washington near the very popular boating destination of Poulsbo. In fact, when you boat to Poulsbo, you pass directly in front of the Port of Keyport Marina that provides a convenient access point to the museum. Keyport Marina is on the south shore at the entrance to Liberty Bay. As noted in the Waggoner Cruising Guide, this marina offers five 50-foot slips on a first-come, first-served basis. Moorage up to three hours is free, or stay for the day with a nominal fee. That is plenty of time to see the museum and grab a sandwich and some hand-dipped ice cream at the Keyport Mercantile & Diner.
The museum is a short walk from the marina docks along Washington Avenue. Admission to the museum is free and it is staffed with helpful volunteers. There are both indoor and outdoor exhibits to view. Outside you will see and learn about retired undersea research and rescue vehicles. The “sail” of the USS Sturgeon, a fast attack submarine used during the Cold War, is also on display outside.
Inside this modern museum, with 18,000 square feet of exhibition space, are collections and artifacts from the Navy’s undersea history and operations. Submarine technology, torpedo and mine warfare, research, and historic rescue missions await your discovery. The recreated control room of the USS Greenling submarine features the actual periscopes, ship and fire control panels, and ballast control. If you have ever wondered how submariners escape or are rescued in an accident, the newest exhibit has that covered. Seeing the rescue equipment and techniques may actually leave you short of breath as you consider the risks involved.
The entire museum is a fascinating look into the wide range of the Navy’s undersea activities and is well worth the time to see. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Monday. Whether you dock at the marina, dinghy over from Liberty Bay, or even drive, you will not be disappointed.
By Dale and Cathleen Blackburn
Waggoner Field Correspondents