The USS Ling (SS-297) has been permanently based on the Hackensack River in New Jersey since the 1970’s. It is in the New Jersey Naval Museum which is operated by the non-profit Submarine Memorial Association. This submersible vessel is 312 feet long and weighs 2500 tons. She was built by the Cramp Shipbuilding Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and launched on August 15, 1943. Commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard in June, 1945, she was based at New London, Connecticut before sailing for the Panama Canal Zone. She became part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet after being decommissioned on October 26, 1946. Eventually the Ling was converted to a training ship at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and struck from the Naval Register in December, 1971. She had received one battle star for her service in World War II.
Now restored to its1945 appearance, the ship is open to the public for tours with a well-informed guide who explains the difference between a submersible and a submarine. They both fire torpedoes and travel underwater but a submersible is thinner, knifelike, and spends more time on the surface.
Visitors are carefully guided through the narrow confines of the ship with its cacophony of metallic clanging sounds and can hear a recording of the original engine noise. At the end of the tour there is a museum on land that displays old diving suits and a depth charge, along with copies of a book called “Beef Stew For 2500: Feeding Our Navy”.
Over 120 BALAO class vessels like the Ling were built during World War II between 1942 and 1946 and over 50 were sunk, killing almost 3,500 crewmen. Because they had thicker skins, they could dive to at least 400 feet. Eight of these are now open to public viewing, including the USS Ling, which was named for the ling fish or cobia.
U.S.S. Ling address and hours
New Jersey Naval Museum
78 River Street
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Open Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Special Group tours are available year round.
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