National Submarine Day, on April 11th, honors the day the United States Navy acquired its first modern commissioned submarine. On April 11, 1900, the Holland VI became the Navy’s first modern submarine.

Designed by Irish-American inventor John Phillip Holland in 1896, he launched the Holland VI on May 17, 1897, at Navy Lt. Lewis Nixon’s Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  The United States Navy later purchased the Holland VI on April 11, 1900. As the Navy’s first commissioned submarine, it was renamed USS Holland (SS-1). 

The U.S. Navy’s first submarine was the Alligator, 1862.

Submarine history runs deep in the United States. During the Revolutionary War era, David Bushnell built America’s first submarine, the Turtle. The submersible made several attempts to sink British ships but never succeeded. At the time, the U.S. Navy did not exist so, the Turtle is not the Navy’s first submarine. The first known U.S. Navy submarine was the USS Alligator. It’s also the fourth United States Navy ship of that name. The Alligator was active during the American Civil War. 

Elsewhere in the world, Submarine Day is celebrated on March 17th.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalSubmarineDay

Learn more about the U.S. Navy’s use of submarines. Take a tour of a U.S. submarine. Download and print the submarine coloring sheet.

Use #NationalSubmarineDay to post on social media.


In 1969, Senator Thomas J. Dodd (D-Conn.) introduced a bill (S. 2690) to the U.S. Senate to designate April 11th as National Submarine Day. While the bill may have passed the Senate, and introduced to the House in 1970 (H.R. 7998), no record of a proclamation from President Richard Nixon is found. Despite that, beginning in 1970, veteran organizations, U.S. Navy service members and many other organizations recognized the day, commemorating the Navy’s first modern commissioned submarine. 

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