I recently attended a bell-tolling ceremony aboard the 42-foot replica of a World War II submarine that presently calls Atascadero Lake its home. Built by Lloyd Reeves, the submarine was lowered by a big crane onto the lake about a month ago in anticipation of a trial run this summer.
You’ll be able to take a ride aboard the boat on Tuesday evenings when the summer barbecue and band concerts get under way today starting at 5:30 p.m.
The somber ceremony was conducted by about a half dozen members of the Central Coast chapter of the submarine veterans association. Reeves’ sub is a replica of the SS 155, which was sunk with all hands aboard during World War II. Then the bell was rung for each of the more than 70 submarines that have been sunk during the past 100 years or so of the submarine service.
The retired Navy men I talked to following the ceremony held on a chilly Friday evening at the boat dock said they appreciated Reeves’ effort to place the sub on the lake. They also said it was a tribute to the thousands of sailors who went to sea aboard submarines and especially the more than 3,000 who lost their lives while serving in the submarine service.
I was able to go aboard the craft and climb below deck to check out the interior. Reeves is a wonderful craftsman. He has paid a lot of attention to detail in building this boat as will become evident to those who go aboard for a brief ride around the lake. The boat doesn’t dive. It is only an above-the-water recreation that establishes the appearance of an American sub “running on the surface.” Reeves recently replaced the gas-powered motor with an electric one, so there won’t even be a noise issue.
Having the sub on the lake complements the Faces of Freedom and Veterans’ Memorial that was built in a corner of the Atascadero Lake Park at the corner of Morro and Portola roads, slightly more than a football field away from the city’s boat docks, where you can rent paddle boats, kayaks and canoes.Reeves said his submarine will remain on the lake through August, and then it will be taken to another venue. He’d like to transport it to Florida.
I hope it comes back to Atascadero. All Navy ships have a home port. I’d like to see Atascadero become the home port to Reeves’ S44.