There is an Abandoned Submarine Museum in New Jersey, and It is Amazing


New Jersey has a rich and diverse history, and its waterways contain hidden riches that are virtually unknown to many. Among these treasures is the USS Ling, a World War II-era submarine that was originally housed in a naval museum but is now abandoned and covered in muck.

USS Ling, A Historical Submarine

The USS Ling, a Balao-class submarine launched in 1943 and commissioned in 1945, was one of 120 submarines built during World War II to fight Japan’s fleet. With an 80-man crew, it could dive up to 400 feet and was equipped with 10 torpedo tubes and a 5-inch deck gun. It hit 20 knots on the surface and 8.75 knots underwater.

Despite its capabilities, the Ling was never used in battle, since the war ended soon after its commissioning. It served as a training vessel at the Brooklyn Navy Yard until 1960, when it was decommissioned and placed in reserve. The Ling was donated to the Submarine Memorial Association in 1972, and it was refurbished into a museum ship.

New Jersey Naval Museum: A Tribute to the Silent Service

The Submarine Memorial Association obtained a lease on land near the Court Street Bridge on the Hackensack River from the Borg family, who owned a newspaper firm. The New Jersey Naval Museum, with the Ling as its main exhibit, showed numerous naval items and provided guided tours to teach tourists about submariner history and life.

For 35 years, the museum served as a source of pride for veterans and the community. However, in 2007, the Borg family sold the site to a developer who planned a residential and commercial complex, triggering the museum’s eviction. The Ling faced a unique obstacle because of its vast size and being trapped in the river’s shallow, silted waters.

Ling’s Situation: Trapped in the Mud

The Ling weighed 2,500 tons and was 312 feet long, making removal a tough job. The shallow and silted river, along with the tiny Court Street Bridge, rendered traditional towing impractical. Lifting the Ling with a crane onto a boat appeared as the only practical solution, but at a high cost in the millions.

Despite efforts to find a new home for the Ling, no buyers arose. The United States Navy, who nominally owned it, denied responsibility, and the museum lacked funding and staff for maintenance. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 further damaged the submarine, prompting the museum’s closure.

Ling’s Future is Uncertain and Grim

Today, the Ling lies in the Hackensack River, eroding and creating an environmental risk. While the land developer promises to remove it, exact plans and timetables remain unclear. The museum, undeterred, continues its hunt for a solution. However, time is running short, and hope fades.

The Ling, a moving piece of history, represents the bravery of silent military personnel and New Jersey’s naval tradition. Despite its potential as a tourist attraction, its future remains unknown. Unless a magical solution emerges, the Ling may vanish from the river, creating a hole felt not only by the state but by the entire nation and globe.


In summary, the USS Ling, an important piece of World War II history, now faces an unclear and bleak destiny in the Hackensack River, abandoned and stuck in muck. Despite its potential as a tourist attraction, the submarine’s disposal proves difficult and costly, leaving its fate uncertain. The Ling’s uncertain future underscores the effort to preserve a significant element of naval history, as time passes and optimism fades.

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