About the Colony

Replica sub will get chance to ply Atascadero Lake waters

I liked the idea of a replica of a World War II submarine plying the waters of Atascadero Lake when it was first proposed eight years ago.

Lloyd Reeves tried then to get permission to operate the 42-foot submarine at the lake, and the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission didn’t want any part of it. The commission suggested that it wouldn’t send the right message, having a war machine on the lake.

I editorialized in favor of the sub. I thought then, as I do now, that it would be a great attraction to the lake. Reeves brought the submarine to Atascadero for an open house one summer evening in 2002. I got to go below decks and check out the vessel. His workmanship is outstanding. He already has a presence at the lake with his paddleboat and kayak concession located over by the kiddie pool. The sub would provide rides around the lake and be another draw to Atascadero.

Reeves and his then-teenage daughter sailed the sub on the East Coast for several months, stopping at a number of maritime museums where the boat was eagerly accepted.

Last Thursday night, the commission voted 4-2 to recommend approval for the submarine on the lake, at least for a trial run. The commission raised an issue of the Fire Department’s ability to perform a water rescue if needed and about handicapped access to the sub. I doubt a person in a wheelchair would be able to board the boat, and certainly not be able to go below deck. But that shouldn’t hold up approval.

I agree with the sentiment expressed last Thursday night during the meeting that with the location of the new Veterans Memorial’s Faces of Freedom facility that would be within about 500 feet of the submarine’s dock, the two fit quite well together. Remember, I suggested the city try to get one of those U.S. Navy destroyers hauled in here and tied up to the wall in front of the pavilion and turned into a restaurant and motel.

The submarine doesn’t dive. Passengers simply go below decks and get the vicarious experience of being on a sub.Lloyd Reeves’ yellow submarine in Morro Bay was quite a hit. So his 42-foot version of a very early WWII submarine on Atascadero Lake would be fun, attract a few more people to the park and even put some more concessionaire dollars into the city’s piggy bank.