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The USS Requin submarine in the water at dusk
The USS Requin submarine in the water at dusk

Two women looking at a map inside a submarine
Escape USS Requin!

Old diving suit and interactive monitor
USS Requin Gateway

Old photographs of sailors on deck of USS Requin

Black & white photo of USS Requin in ocean

USS Requin (SS 481) Submarine

A uniquely immersive experience!

Come aboard to learn how 80 men used their expertise, humor and sheer ingenuity to carve out a rough and adventurous life during USS Requin’s (SS 481) lengthy defense and scientific missions, some of which are still classified to this day! State-of-the-art and battle ready when it set out just days before the end of World War II, Requin holds the distinction of being the Navy’s first Radar Picket submarine.

Requin (SS 481) Hours

Open daily
(weather and river conditions permitting)
10 am–4:20 pm

Self-guided tours are included with General Admission on a first-come, first-served basis and are subject to availability. Tours operate at a 20-minute interval with a limited capacity. Timed tickets are required and can be obtained on the day of your visit at the Requin Gateway located on the Ground Floor. Full mobility is required for this experience.

USS Requin Vital Statistics

Class: Tench
Building Yard: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine
Length: 311’9”
Width: 27’3”
Height: 49’
Weight: 1,516 tons surfaced, 2,426 submerged
Engines: Four – 1,600-horsepower diesels
Generators: Four – 1,100 kilowatt direct current
Batteries: Two – 126 lead acid battery cells in each
Motors: Two – 2,700 horsepower
Fuel Capacity: 113,881 gallons
Cruising Range: 11,000 miles
Maximum Speed: 21 knots surfaced, 10 knots submerged
Maximum Depth: 412’
Crew: 10 officers, 71–95 enlisted men
Tour Length: 75–90 days
Maximum Time Submerged: 48 hours at a time

USS Requin Compartments

Cross section of a submarine

  1. Conning Tower
    Contains periscopes, steering, and torpedo launching equipment.

    The Radio Room, which is still operational, is to the right on the way to the next compartment.

  2. Mess Decks
    24 men at a time could eat meals, spend free time, and watch movies from four tables.

  3. Berthing
    36 bunks for crew were housed between the mess decks and crew’s shower and toilet facilities.

  4. Forward and After Engine Rooms
    Four diesel engines, four generators, and two desalination tanks take up two compartments.

  5. Maneuvering Room
    All electricity, as well as the submarine’s speed, was controlled from a split console center.

  6. Stern Room
    Four torpedo tubes faced out the back of the submarine until 1946, when it was converted to a radar control center. Twenty-one bunks for crew hung from
    hooks on the walls.

  7. After Battery
    126 lead acid battery cells were stored beneath Berthing.

  8. Cold Storage/Pantry
    4.5 tons of food were stored beneath the Mess Decks and throughout the submarine.

  9. Control Room
    Diving and surfacing controls line the walls around the submarine’s main gyrocompass.

  10. Forward Battery
    126 lead acid battery cells were stored beneath Officers Country.

  11. Forward Torpedo Room
    Six torpedo tubes face out the front of the submarine. The compartment could hold up to 18 torpedoes and had bunks for 14 crew.

  12. Officers Country
    Quarters for 10 officers and five senior enlisted men include staterooms, pantry, wardroom, and office.

How a Submarine Dives

Cross section of submarine - water and air in ballast tank

Submarines have ballast tanks between their inner and outer hulls. When the submarine is on the surface, the ballast tanks are filled with air and the submarine floats.

Cross section of submarine - water entering ballast tank, air being expelled

To dive, vents are opened on the bottom of the submarine to allow seawater into the ballast tanks. As the water rushes in, the air is forced out through vents in the upper hull. The change in weight causes the submarine to submerge.

Cross section of submarine - water being expelled

To surface, air is pumped back into the ballast tanks, which forces the seawater out through the bottom vents. The submarine rises as it becomes lighter. Movable fins on the submarine sides in the front and back allow the crew to control the depth and stability of the submarine.



  • August 24
    – Keel laid Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine


  • January 1
    – Launched
  • April 28
    – Officially commissioned
  • August 15
    – In Pearl Harbor when WWII ended, completed sole war patrol
  • August 18
    – Went back to port


  • – Conversion to the US Navy’s first Radar Picket Submarine


  • – Patrolled the East Coast and Northern Atlantic during the Cold War


  • June
    – Converted to Fleet Snorkel submarine and large fiberglass sail installed


  • June
    – Reclassified with non-combat duties
  • December 3, 10:20 am
    – Decommissioned


  • – Became a Naval Reserve trainer in St. Petersburg, FL


  • December 20
    – Struck from the Navy list


  • July
    Became a tourist attraction in Tampa, FL


  • April 9
    – Congress passed a bill to allow Requin’s transfer to Carnegie Science Center
  • August 10
    – Began trip up Mississippi River under tow to Ohio River
  • September 4
    – Arrived in Pittsburgh

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Old diving suit and interactive monitor
USS Requin Gateway

Old photographs of sailors on deck of USS Requin

Black & white photo of USS Requin in ocean