General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Do submarines go through the Panama Canal?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10241points) May 7th, 2010

Maybe you could sneak it across next to a big ship?

What about other warships?

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6 Answers

Ltryptophan's avatar

ay… lookie here

friday july 10, 2009

jerv's avatar

Sadly, Carriers are generally forced to go “around the horn”. Just about any other form of ship including those that are long, hard, and full of seamencan go through, but a CV or CVN has to go the long way around.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

As long as it will fit in the Gatun Lock, it can go through the Canal. As @jerv said, some ships, like fleet carriers and supertankers just won’t fit. A submarine has to go through surfaced, for safety reasons, but it’s been done many times. NF

jerv's avatar

Look at it this way; a surfaced sub is basically just an oddly-shaped boat.

However, a “Boomer” has a draft comparable to carrier (in the neighborhood of 36 feet or so), which means that most subs you’ll see in the Panama Canal will be Fast Attack subs. That will likely change in a couple of years as they expand the locks to allow larger ships through.

frienemies0113's avatar

I don’t think submarines would be safe to go through the panama canal. They are made to go deep down, like five thousand feet.Submarines can’t do that in a canal, theyd have to float higher. If a boat doesnt see to submarine, which is designed to blend in with murky water, they might wreck. also, since the canal is shallow to the submarine, and only so wide any wrong turn can crash it.

jerv's avatar

@frienemies0113 But when cruising the surface, it’s a different story. Also, any boat going through the canal is tracked by the people operating the locks, and often has the assistance of line-tenders ashore and/or tug boats.

Also bear in mind that Navy ships of all sizes regularly do underway replenishments which require them to travel absolutely parallel with great precision lest they snap the lines running between the ships. Even if something happens to the machinery that swings the rudder, it’s all redundant and will switch over to the backup before anybody even realizes that there is a problem. I’ve spent enough time in Aft Steering on a carrier to know that all too well.

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