SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Submarine, northbound

Thanks to Duncan for the photo. That U.S. Navy submarine passed West Seattle as it headed northbound in Puget Sound a short time ago –, which identifies it only as “U.S. submarine,” shows it already well north of here.

27 Replies to "SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Submarine, northbound"

  • HS June 3, 2020 (2:10 pm)

    My 10 year old nephew has informed me that the sub is South Dakota class and “one of the most advanced subs in the world”!! He was very excited to see the photo.

    • WSB June 3, 2020 (2:27 pm)

      Can we put him on retainer for sub ID (something I still haven’t learned)? Thanks!

      • HS June 3, 2020 (2:50 pm)

        He’d be so thrilled 😂 He’s in the “soldier phase” and insists on wearing a military helmet every time he leaves the house.

    • JD42 June 3, 2020 (5:22 pm)

      South Dakota Class? No such thing..  The information from your 10yr old nephew is incorrect.. Cute… but not correct. Buy him a copy of Janes Fighting Ships..  

      • TG June 3, 2020 (5:31 pm)

        Thanks for that, Capt. Buzzkill.

      • HS June 3, 2020 (9:45 pm)

        I’ll tell my nephew to look into the USS Jimmy Carter / JC. He likes to research so I’m sure he’ll enjoy comparing. And I believe he already has a copy of James Fighting Ships.

        • Steve June 4, 2020 (3:48 pm)

          The South Dakota is a Virginia class nuclear attack submarine.

  • LG June 3, 2020 (2:21 pm)

    I need to adjust my desk to stare outside the window more to not miss these types of things. So cool!

    • Morgana June 4, 2020 (10:17 am)

      Have you seen which flags were flying? There was a jolly roger flag?

  • Ex-Submariner June 3, 2020 (3:34 pm)

    This is almost certainly the USS Jimmy Carter, one of three Seawolf classes built and the only one that still operates really. Its the US Navy’s spook boat, meaning it does “other operations” (the type of stuff you can’t talk about not talking about). It’s homeported here. the South Dakota is a Virginia class and there are no boats of that class berthed here but the sails look very similar except for the Jimmy Carter having a more stretched sail than the Virginia’s. 

  • JD42 June 3, 2020 (5:11 pm)

    Former 688/637 sub vet and special projects sailor. The JC can be identified by the additional 100’ section added to the hull.. The other 2 Seawolf platforms are sea going but are mainly used as part donors for the JC. 

    • Kurt June 3, 2020 (10:32 pm)

      I am also a former submariner. Lived with a friend in Bremerton who was on the Seawolf and can confirm everything said here. Without seeing the full picture, it’s difficult to tell whether this is actually the Jimmy Carter. Though the Jimmy Carter pulls into PSNS for repairs, it is actually home ported in Bangor, WA in the Hood Canal. 

  • Duncan June 3, 2020 (5:24 pm)

    Here’s a video for any sub-spotters that might be interested:

  • William May June 4, 2020 (6:33 am)

    This looks like one of the Seawolf class submarine. 

  • Brian L. June 4, 2020 (7:47 am)

    The fact that HS’s 10yr old nephew is so interested in submarines that he is aware of USS South Dakota is far more important than anything else being posted here….The question is: is this a Seawolf-class submarine (Jimmy Carter) or a Virginia-class submarine (South Dakota). Unless you’re intimately familiar with submarines, it’s actually hard to tell based on this photo alone because the bow and sail position for those classes are similar. If this submarine was out of the water, we’d be able to tell in a second. Most likely it’s a Seawolf-class (Jimmy Carter) only because I don’t think any Virginia-class submarines are based here. I “think” that the USS South Dakota is based in New London CT. Hope the 10yr old nephew has a wonderful life and becomes an engineer.

    • HS June 4, 2020 (4:29 pm)

      What a great reply Brian L. I will let him know that someone noticed his curiosity and encouraged him to continue learning.

  • Morgana June 4, 2020 (8:47 am)

    Do some of you guys notice if the Jolly Roger flag was flying?

  • Tyler June 4, 2020 (10:03 am)

    we were on the ferry going from kingston to edmonds. I was trying to convince my self it was something else but was pretty sure I saw a submarine. Now I know it was!!!

    • Barb June 4, 2020 (12:37 pm)

      I see no flags at all. I’m thinking they would be atop the black bump. Do they deploy whenever the sub surfaces?  Or do they remain visible under water?  Does the Jolly Roger mean we’re the good guys, just cruising around out here…….

  • Phillip Hunt June 4, 2020 (10:42 am)

    Definitely SEAWOLF- class sub, as the 3 (all) of this class are at SUBDEVRON 5 ( previously COMSUBDEVGRU ONE) at SUBASE BANGOR, in the Hood Canal.  All these boats are assigned to ‘special operations’, with diverse and highly classified missions.  You can read a (somewhat redacted) history of this particular command and its mission history in ‘Blind Man’s Bluff’, written in the early 90’s.  I was an undersea medical officer at COMSUBDEVGRU ONE in the 90’s and participated in these missions.  As far as I know, no VIRGINIA-class boats are currently based at Bangor.  

  • Rich Fahey June 4, 2020 (2:15 pm)   

    Why a U.S. Navy Spy Submarine Is Flying the Jolly Roger

    The skull and crossbones flag is traditionally flown to celebrate successful missions—but just what has the USS Jimmy Carter been up to?

    • Morgana June 4, 2020 (4:19 pm)

      Thank you. I know, it is because of this that I ask about the jolly Roger flag 

  • Bob June 4, 2020 (4:18 pm)

    Very nice and informative discussion for an East Coast Navy wannabe. Nice to see a civil group nowadays.

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